Solar-based H2 generation in novel photoelectrochemical cells using engineered hydrogenases as biocatalysts (PH2BioCat)

The PH2BioCat project aims at demonstrating use of engineered hydrogense biocatalysts and nanostructured organic photocatalysts applied as electrodes on solid-state proton conducting electrolytes for direct PEC production of hydrogen from water and sunlight based on green chemistry.

About the project

Hydrogen is considered a favorable alternative for transport and for storing peak renewable energy for the grid. This project investigates the feasibility of a bio-hybrid hotoelectrochemical (PEC) cell with modified hydrogenase enzymes as catalysts for local hydrogen production using solar radiation. The hydrogen evolving cathode catalyses the long term stable reduction of protons to hydrogen. Traditionally, platinum has been used for this purpose, however, it is clear that the elimination of platinum based cathodes is imperative for successful introduction of PEC as a mainstream provider of hydrogen. The current project aims to increase the overall efficiency and economy of cathodes for PEC significantly using photosynthesis-inspired hydrogenase enzymes as biocatalysts for the reduction of protons to hydrogen. The hydrogenase-based cathode in the proposed bio-hybrid PEC cell will be combined with an improved nanocomposite photoanode capable of absorbing photons in both the UV- and visible part of the solar spectrum. The electrodes will be applied in novel robust PEC cells for H2 production based on green chemistry. The project is collaboration between Oslo University Hospital, the University of Oslo, and SINTEF. It runs for 3 years and recruits and trains two post-doc researchers.


The project is funded by Research Council of Norway, other support under NANO2021 program, project number 239211


The project lasts 3 years and collaborates with UiO, SINTEF and OUH.                      




Published Jan. 22, 2015 3:04 PM - Last modified Feb. 26, 2015 9:14 AM


Project leader:

Professor Truls Norby

+47 22840654

Administrative Officer:

Xuemei Cui

+47 22 84 06 64

Gaustadalleen 21
NO-0349 Oslo
Phone: +47 22840664