Photosynthesis research project wins $14.4m funding from US Department of Energy

Photosynthesis research project wins $14.4m funding from US Department of Energy

Issued: Thu, 26 Jun 2014 10:00:00 BST

A research project aimed at understanding and learning from the natural process of photosynthesis to advance the development of clean energy has received further funding from the US Department of Energy totaling $14.4m.

The Photosynthetic Antenna Research Centre (PARC), involving scientists at the University of Glasgow led by Professor Richard Cogdell, will receive $3.6m a year for four years.

PARC is hosted by Washington University at St Louis and aims to understand the basic scientific principles that govern solar energy collection by photosynthetic organisms.

Scientists want to use this knowledge to create more efficient biohybrid and bio-inspired systems to drive chemical processes or generate photocurrent.

Professor Cogdell said: “I am delighted that the second round of PARC funding has been approved by the US DoE and that the team in Glasgow are one of only two non-US groups funded by this prestigious grant.

“Energy Frontier grants likes this are the major way the US is funding research designed to move the world towards clean renewable sources of energy.”

Natural photosynthetic systems consist of two parts: antennas that collect solar photons and reaction centres that transform the easily dissipated light energy into the more durable form of charge separation that can then be used to do work.

The scientists are broadening their goals for the second funding phase of PARC . The initial goal was to increase the efficiency of light harvesting antennas. Now, the scientists will continue their work on the antennas but will also start looking at energy delivery at the reaction center interface and reaction center design.

The PARC collaboration is hosted and administered by Washington University whose partners include investigators from the Los Alamos National Laboratory, North Carolina State University, Northwestern University, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories, University of California-Riverside, University of Glasgow, University of New Mexico, University of Pennsylvania, University of Sheffield,, Princeton University, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Penn State.


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