Disruptive photonic devices for highly efficient, sunlight-fueled chemical processes.
February 2021 - January 2024


SPOTLIGHT’s key objective is to develop and validate a photonic device and chemical process concept for the sunlight-powered conversion of CO2 and green H2 to the chemical fuel methane (CH4, Sabatier process), and to carbon monoxide (CO, reverse Water Gas Shift process - rWGS) as starting material for production of the chemical fuel methanol (CH3OH). Both CH4 and CH3OH are compatible with our current infrastructure, and suited for multiple applications such as car fuel, energy storage, and starting material to produce valuable chemicals.

SPOTLIGHT’s photonic device will comprise a transparent flow reactor, optimized for light incoupling in the catalyst bed. Furthermore, it will comprise secondary solar optics to concentrate natural sunlight and project it onto the reactor, and an energy efficient LED light source to ensure continuous 24/7 operation. SPOTLIGHT’s catalysts will be plasmonic catalysts, capable of absorbing the entire solar spectrum. The space time-yield achieved to date with these catalysts in the Sabatier and rWGS process are more than 104 times higher than for conventional semiconductor catalysts. This makes the concept technically feasible for scale up without excessive land use and makes it economically much more attractive because of strongly reduced capital expenditures.


FHa will provide the green hydrogen (in-house produced) needed to validate the photonic device and the process and will perform an upscale and replication feasibility study of the process in FHa facilities. Moreover, FHa has an active role in the communications and disseminations tasks.

Funding entities