About this Research Topic
The global focus on decarbonization is driving demand for low carbon energy solutions and innovation in clean technologies for fuel production, storage and utilization. Solar fuels represent a versatile and attractive method to store sunlight, which is by far the most abundant carbon-neutral energy resource on Earth, although it is intermittent in nature. These fuels (e.g. hydrogen, syngas or liquid fuels) can play different roles in a sustainable, global energy transformation scenario, including fossil fuel upgrade, heat/power generation for industrial and domestic uses, transport, and as a clean feedstock to produce cleaner chemicals. To achieve a rapid deployment and adaptation of these fuels in the energy market, it is necessary to develop technologies that are efficient and that can produce large amounts of chemical fuels directly from sunlight in a robust, clean and cost-effective way, achieving the same economies of scale that have been achieved in established processes. Technological advancements in both fuel storage and utilization are also required to achieve a fully-sustainable and clean supply chain.
In this perspective, this Research Topic aims to report the latest fundamental and technological advancements in the production, storage and utilization of solar fuels to provide both cost-effective CO2 mitigation and low-cost energy generation. The Research Topic aims to define the most promising pathways to solar fuels production by providing a synthesis of the current progress status in technology development (e.g. readiness levels, future potential, fundamental advancements), key techno-economic benefits and challenges (e.g. scalability, costs) as well as barriers, drivers, opportunities and enablers for a rapid deployment of solar fuels. Original Research and Review articles on solar fuels production from electro-chemical, photo-chemical/photo-biological or thermo-chemical routes, and their storage and utilization (e.g. in fuel cells or clean combustion processes) are welcome. The Research Topic particularly welcomes manuscripts on the design, operation, analysis and demonstration of novel technologies and systems realising an efficient transformation of sunlight into fuels and the smart utilization of these fuels.
Keywords: Hydrogen, Solar Fuels, Renewable Energy, Low-Carbon Economy, Clean Energy Processes
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