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TOPIC : EIC Horizon Prize for 'Fuel from the Sun: Artificial Photosynthesis'

Topic identifier: Sunfuel-EICPrize-2021
Publication date: 27 October 2017
Focus area: Building a low-carbon, climate resilient future (LC)

Types of action: IPr Inducement Prize
DeadlineModel:
Planned opening date:
single-stage
06 December 2017
Deadline: 03 February 2021 17:00:00

Time Zone : (Brussels time)
  Horizon 2020
Topic Description
Specific Challenge:

The challenge is to build a fully functional, bench-scale prototype of an artificial photosynthesis based system which is able to produce a useable synthetic fuel.

Artificial photosynthesis is widely considered to be among the most promising new technologies to deliver sustainable alternatives to current fuel supplies. Due to its ability to use a combination of sunlight, water and carbon from the air to produce energy, artificial photosynthesis is regarded as a potential breakthrough energy technology. It can be used to produce hydrogen or carbon-based fuels – collectively referred to as “solar fuels” – which offer an efficient and transportable means of storage of solar energy. Solar energy, in turn, can be used as an alternative to fossil fuels and as a feedstock for a wide range of industrial processes.

The device to be built needs to integrate the whole process from light capture to fuel production and be capable of powering a small engine. The production of fuel in the form of hydrogen and the use of conventional photovoltaic cells for the light harvesting process or to collect light and electrolysers are not permitted.

For the purpose of this prize, artificial photosynthesis (AP) is understood to be a process that aims at mimicking the physical chemistry of natural photosynthesis by absorbing solar energy in the form of photons. The solution is required to use this energy to generate fuel molecules through a synthetic system to be delivered as a single integrated device that utilises either biomimetic, nanotechnology, synthetic biology or a combination of these systems.

Meeting the challenge will stimulate innovation and focus research and development towards energy applications in a new energy technology through increased public and commercial interest. Moreover, it will accelerate the development of new innovative energy conversion systems using solar light and natural elements to produce renewable fuels to be used in industry, housing and transport.

The challenge will also create a stimulus for industrial participation and creation of start-ups, pushing the artificial photosynthesis technology for fuel production to the next level of development.

Considering the innovative approach and the novelty of using artificial photosynthesis for fuel production, the prize will generate interest in the subject and foster interdisciplinary collaboration among potential applicants, such as students, young researchers and engineers. The competition is expected to highlight the diversity of potential solutions.

The specific rules of the contest will be published in the fourth quarter of 2017 by the European Commission, which will directly launch and manage the contest and award the prize based on the judgement of independent experts.

Expected Impact:

A number of innovative devices and systems demonstrating the use of sunlight to produce a fuel ready to be used.

Cross-cutting Priorities:

International cooperation

Topic conditions and documents

1. Eligible countries: described in part 8 of the Rules for Contest. 

The Rules for Contest will be available at the time of the launch of the prize.
 

2. Eligibility and exclusion criteria: described in part 8 of the Rules for Contest.
The Rules for Contest will be available at the time of the launch of the prize.

The contest is open to all legal entities (i.e. natural or legal persons, including international organisations) or groups of legal entities.

Proposal page limits and layout: Please refer to the application template below.
 

3. Evaluation and award criteria and procedure: described in part 3 of the Rules for Contest.

The Rules for Contest will be available at the time of the launch of the prizes.

The prize will be awarded to the contestant(s) who will, in the opinion of the jury, demonstrate a solution that best meets the following cumulative criteria:

  • Degree of system integration from light capture to fuel production;
  • Device/system performance;
  • Production of fuel that will be used in an engine;
  • Widest market potential;
  • Commercial potential of the device.

4. Indicative time for evaluation and award of prizes:
The evaluation and award for the prize will be done in the first half of 2021.
 

5. Application template:

This application template serves as an example. The template to be filled in is available after entering the submission tool below.
The application template will be available at the time of the launch of the prize.

Members of consortium are not required to conclude a consortium agreement as for an inducement prize no grant is awarded.

6. Additional documents:

1. Introduction WP 2018-20
2. Future and Emerging Technologies (FETs) WP 2018-20
5. Introduction to Leadership in enabling and industrial technologies (LEITs) WP 2018-20
5i. Information and communication technologies (ICT) WP 2018-20
5ii. Nanotechnologies, advanced materials, advanced manufacturing and processing, biotechnology WP 2018-20
5iii. Space WP 2018-20
6. Access to risk finance WP 2018-20
7. Innovation in SMEs WP 2018-20
8. Health, demographic change and well-being WP 2018-20
9. Food security, sustainable agriculture and forestry, marine and maritime and inland water research and the bioeconomy WP 2018-20
10. Secure, clean and efficient energy WP 2018-20
11. Smart, green and integrated transport WP 2018-20
12. Climate action, environment, resource efficiency and raw materials WP 2018-20
13. Europe in a changing world - inclusive, innovative and reflective societies WP 2018-20
14. Secure societies – protecting freedom and security of Europe and its citizens WP 2018-20
15. Spreading excellence and widening participation WP 2018-20
16. Science with and for society WP 2018-20
17. European Innovation Council (EIC) WP 2018-20
18. Dissemination, Exploitation and Evaluation WP 2018-20

General annexes to the Work Programme 2018-2020

Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Regulation of Establishment
Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Rules for Participation
Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Specific Programme

Euratom Work Programme 2018-20
Legal basis: Euratom Horizon 2020 Regulation of Establishment

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