Solar Fuels Facilities and Instrumentation

The Solar Fuels Facility and Instrumentation group facilitates all solar fuels research groups at DIFFER to do their solar fuels research properly. This research is needed for a sustainable society. We ensure the reconstruction of the labs and we develop, operate and maintain the unique devices and diagnostics. These devices are used to answer the questions how to store renewable energy into chemical fuels like hydrogen, methane and hydrocarbons in an efficient way. 

From 2012 DIFFER is setting up fundamental research in the field of solar fuels. Efficiently storing renewable energy, by using carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, into chemical fuels could ensure a future proof sustainable energy consuming society. 

The new laboratory

In 2015 DIFFER moved to a new and sustainable building on the campus of Eindhoven University of Technology. Currently, the Solar Fuels Facility and Instrumentation group is reconstructing the different laboratory spaces in the building to equip each for the very specific and unique devices of every solar fuels research group. We work with highly capable engineers, industrial designers and research technicians to get this job done, using opinions and help from specialized outside companies. And we focus on developing, operating and maintaining the unique devices and diagnostics of all solar fuels labs.

In the new DIFFER building a variety of new research has started within the Solar Fuels department. Each with unique and specialized high-tech equipment to carry out innovative research. These machines have special needs and are not plug and play. It is our job to reconstruct the labs to provide these machines with the necessary high-tech infrastructure. To achieve this, a number of steps have to be taken.

Step 0: What do we have?
Step 1: Make a list of requirements
Step 2: Process the requirements in a model
Step 3: Realization

The images below show the steps 0 and 2. Step 3 is being realized.

Empty lab space
Step 0: Empty lab space

Model of lab space with high-tech infrastructure
Step 2: Model of lab space with high-tech infrastructure

The first labs are realized and used to study the conversion of renewable energy in carbon-based fuels. Electric energy is used to make carbon monoxide of carbon dioxide. More info at Plasma Solar Fuels Devices and Nonequilibrium Fuel Conversion.