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Advancing Biotechnologies for Fuel Generation: Exploiting Bionanotechnology for Solar Energy Conversion


Project Description

Solar energy is our most abundant energy source and has enormous potential as a clean and economical energy supply. In this project, we will tap into this under-utilised source of power by developing a biotechnological approach for the direct conversion of solar energy to a renewable fuel; a major technological challenge of our time.

This PhD project is a collaboration with the Universities of East Anglia (Prof. Julea Butt) and Cambridge (Prof. Erwin Reisner) and will use bionanotechnology to mimic the principles of plant photosynthesis to create artificial photosynthesis or a bionic leaf. You will design and build hybrid systems in which light-harvesting nanoparticles (e.g., carbon quantum dots) are chemically "coupled" to redox-active proteins, enzymes and whole bacteria. In such hybrid systems, the catalytic specificity of enzymes (and whole bacteria) is combined with the photo-stability and light-harvesting capabilities of semi-conducting nanoparticles for light-driven fuel production.

For more information on the type of research performed in the lab of Prof. Lars Jeuken, please see https://jeukengroup.leeds.ac.uk/research/

Funding Notes

White Rose BBSRC Doctoral Training Partnership in Mechanistic Biology
4 year fully-funded programme of integrated research and skills training, starting Oct 2020:
• Research Council Stipend
• UK/EU Tuition Fees
• Conference and research funding

Requirements:
At least a 2:1 honours degree or equivalent. We welcome students with backgrounds in biological, chemical or physical sciences, or mathematical backgrounds with an interest in biological questions.

EU candidates require 3 years of UK residency to receive full studentship

Not all projects will be funded; the DTP will appoint a limited number of candidates via a competitive process.

View Website

References

Stikane, A., Hwang, E.T., Ainsworth, E.V., Piper, S., Critchley, K., Butt, J.N., Reisner, E., Jeuken, L.J.C., (2019) Towards compartmentalized photocatalysis: Multiheme proteins as transmembrane molecular electron conduits, Faraday Discussion, 215, 26-38 DOI:10.1039/C8FD00163D

Rowe, S.F., Le Gall, G., Ainsworth, E.V., Davies, J.A., Lockwood, C.W.J., Shi, L., Elliston, A., Roberts, I.A., Waldron, K., Richardson, D.J., Clarke, T.A., Jeuken, L.J.C., Reisner, E., Butt, J.N. (2017) Light-driven H2 evolution and C=C or C=O bond hydrogenation by Shewanella oneidensis: A versatile strategy for photocatalysis by non-photosynthetic microorganisms, ACS Catalysis, 7, 7558-7566. DOI: 10.1021/acscatal.7b02736

Hwang, E.T., Sheikh, K. Orchard, K.L., Hojo, D, Radu, V., Lee, C.-Y., Ainsworth, E., Lockwood, C., Gross, M.A., Adschiri, T., Reisner, E., Butt, J.N. and Jeuken, L.J.C. (2015) A Decaheme Cytochrome as a Molecular Electron Conduit in Dye-Sensitized Photoanodes, Adv. Funct. Mater. 25, 2308-2315. DOI: 10.1002/adfm.201404541

How good is research at University of Leeds in Biological Sciences?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 60.90

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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