Solar Fuels and Functional Materials for Smart Energy Systems

Specific mission

SAMSES gathers highly qualified scientists from different disciplines (biochemistry, chemistry, chemical engineering, physics, materials science) to face the challenges of the new emerging research fields of solar energy conversion into solar fuels and chemicals (e.g. CO2 reduction, photolysis of water, photosynthesis in plants, microalgae, cyanobacteria) via biochemical techniques as well as the development of advanced functional materials for intensified heat exchange and fire-resistance (e.g. polymers nano-composites based on graphene or nano-tubes). The related experimental activities are complemented by the development of computational tools for multiscale modelling of property transfer and fluctuations in the diverse materials and systems considered, as well as the adoption of process modeling and life-cycle assessment software.

BIOSOLAR LAB

Specific mission

Study of aspects of the photosynthesis in plants, microalgae and cyanobacteria regarding the structural and functional organization of Photosystem II and its dynamics in different light conditions.

Main Research topics

  • Study of the structural organization of plant photosynthetic protein complexes and thylakoid membranes and their dynamics in response to light variations
  • Study of photoinhibition in the cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. PCC6803 grown in photobioreactors

Main Partnerships

  • Prof. Giuseppe Zanotti, University of Padova (protein structure analysis)
  • Prof. Tomas Morosinotto, University of Padova (photosynthetic functional analysis)
  • Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia-Center for Sustainable Future Technologies Torino (transmission electron microscopy)
  • ISALIT, spin-off of University of Piemonte Orientale (mass spectrometry analysis)
  • Dr. Jon Nield, Queen Mary University of London (Photosystem II structural analysis)
  • Prof. James Barber, Imperial College London (Photosystem II structural analysis)
  • Prof. Jose-Maria Carazo, Centro Nacional de Biotecnología–CSIC, Madrid (3D electron microscopy)
  • Prof. Klaas Hellingwerf and e Prof. Filipe Branco dos Santos, Universiteit van Amsterdam (photobioreactors and cyanobacteria)

FUNCTIONAL POLYMER NANOCOMPOSITES

Specific mission

Research and development of thermally conductive polymer nanocomposites and flame retarded polymer formulations.
Research and development Thermal storage materials and devices
Research and development of Layer by layer coatings on differnt polymeric substartes, mainly for flame retardancy and gas barrier.
Exploitation of nanocellulose in functional materials

Main Research topics

Chemical functionalization of graphene for the manufacturing of conductive polyerm nanocomposites
Multiscale modelling (DFT, MD, FEM) of heat transfer in nanocomposites
Preparation techniques for polymer nanocomposites: solvent processing, melt mixing, polymerization in extrusion
Layer by Layer deposition techniques
Study of reaction to flames for nanostructured materials in bulk and nanostructured coatings on polymer films and foams
Study of gas barrier for graphene-based nanostructured coatings

Main Partnerships

  • Prof Paolo Samorì, Institut de Science et d'Ingénierie Supramoléculaires (ISIS) of the Université de Strasbourg (F)
  • Dr. Bohayra Mortazavi, Bauhaus-Universität Weimar (D)
  • Dr. Alessandro Pecchia, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, ISMN Monterotondo, (I)
  • Prof Rafael Gutierrez, Technische Universität Dresden (D)
  • Prof. Ian Kinlock, School of Materials, The University of Manchester (UK)
  • Prof. Andrea Ferrari, Cambridge Graphene Centre, The University of Cambridge (UK)
  • Prof. Orietta Monticelli, Università di Genova (I)
  • Dr. Marco Monti, Consorzio Proplast (I)
  • Dr. Julio Gomez, Avanzare (E)
  • Prof. Gaetano Guerra, Università di Salerno (I)
  • Prof Rongjie Yang, National Engineering research Centre of Flame Retardant Materials, Beijing Institute of technology (China)
  • Prof Jamie Grunlan, Texas A&M University (US)
  • Prof Lars Berglund, KTH - School of Chemistry (SE)
  • Prof.ssa Giada Lo Re, Division of Engineering Materials, Department of Industrial and Materials Science, Chalmers University of Technology

Projects and publications

Reference laboratories