Research Topic

Recent Advances in Solar Fuels

About this Research Topic

The conversion of solar energy into electricity or heat, takes place thanks to several mature technologies with large scale implementation across the globe. In contrast, direct/indirect conversion of solar energy into fuel such as hydrogen, hydrocarbons or alcohols are relatively immature technologies, not much commercialized nor explored. The reason is that to date, conversion efficiencies are low, and costs are still high when compared to fossil-fuel-based energy production. To further develop and integrate solar energies into major transport infrastructures, e.g., hydrogen vehicles, new and advanced methods and technologies that can better facilitate harvesting, storage and fuel production from solar energy are therefore highly needed. In this context, solar fuel technologies are one of the most viable options to meet the future transportation energy requirements and support the 100% green energy transition and fight against climate change.

Solar fuels can be produced via thermochemical or photochemical conversion of sunlight. Thermochemical reactions make use of solar heat to drive chemical reactions to produce a solar fuel, while photochemical conversion, often referred as artificial photosynthesis, captures directly the energy from sunlight and stores it in the chemical bonds of a solar fuel. In this case,  complex mechanisms involving light capture, electronic and ionic transport and electrocatalysis concur to the fuel generation, and new research to identify the most efficient artificial photosynthetic systems is needed. The collection of intermediate and final products is also very complex, and pose challenges. 

The aim of this Research Topic is to present the state-of-the-art technology and evaluate the current state of scientific progress in the field of solar fuel production. Manuscripts dealing with innovation, R&D strategies, technical, socio-economic and environmental impact assessment are welcome, as we also aim to help policy makers with facilitating the integration of solar fuel technology in their roadmaps and promoting investments in solar fuels. The targeted audience includes both academic researchers and industrial practitioners.

This Research Topic is exclusively devoted to Advancements in Solar Fuels. Within this special collection, we will include contributions covering the latest emerging research and technology in the field, in the form of original research, communications, case studies and review papers. The scope includes, but is not limited to, the following topics:


·      Solar plants for fuel production

·      Energy, Exergy and optimization of Solar Fuel production

·      Solar Hybrid vehicles

·      Novel technologies for maximizing solar fuel output

·      Nanostructured-solar materials for fuel production

·      Solar-to-fuel efficiencies

·      Thermo-chemical energy and exergy efficiencies

·      Artificial Photosynthesis

·      Hybrid solar-to-fuel conversion reactors

·      Solar Hydrogen


Keywords: Photo-catalysis, Solar Hydrogen, Hybrid Solar Reactors, Thermo-chemical, Opportunities and challenges


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

The conversion of solar energy into electricity or heat, takes place thanks to several mature technologies with large scale implementation across the globe. In contrast, direct/indirect conversion of solar energy into fuel such as hydrogen, hydrocarbons or alcohols are relatively immature technologies, not much commercialized nor explored. The reason is that to date, conversion efficiencies are low, and costs are still high when compared to fossil-fuel-based energy production. To further develop and integrate solar energies into major transport infrastructures, e.g., hydrogen vehicles, new and advanced methods and technologies that can better facilitate harvesting, storage and fuel production from solar energy are therefore highly needed. In this context, solar fuel technologies are one of the most viable options to meet the future transportation energy requirements and support the 100% green energy transition and fight against climate change.

Solar fuels can be produced via thermochemical or photochemical conversion of sunlight. Thermochemical reactions make use of solar heat to drive chemical reactions to produce a solar fuel, while photochemical conversion, often referred as artificial photosynthesis, captures directly the energy from sunlight and stores it in the chemical bonds of a solar fuel. In this case,  complex mechanisms involving light capture, electronic and ionic transport and electrocatalysis concur to the fuel generation, and new research to identify the most efficient artificial photosynthetic systems is needed. The collection of intermediate and final products is also very complex, and pose challenges. 

The aim of this Research Topic is to present the state-of-the-art technology and evaluate the current state of scientific progress in the field of solar fuel production. Manuscripts dealing with innovation, R&D strategies, technical, socio-economic and environmental impact assessment are welcome, as we also aim to help policy makers with facilitating the integration of solar fuel technology in their roadmaps and promoting investments in solar fuels. The targeted audience includes both academic researchers and industrial practitioners.

This Research Topic is exclusively devoted to Advancements in Solar Fuels. Within this special collection, we will include contributions covering the latest emerging research and technology in the field, in the form of original research, communications, case studies and review papers. The scope includes, but is not limited to, the following topics:


·      Solar plants for fuel production

·      Energy, Exergy and optimization of Solar Fuel production

·      Solar Hybrid vehicles

·      Novel technologies for maximizing solar fuel output

·      Nanostructured-solar materials for fuel production

·      Solar-to-fuel efficiencies

·      Thermo-chemical energy and exergy efficiencies

·      Artificial Photosynthesis

·      Hybrid solar-to-fuel conversion reactors

·      Solar Hydrogen


Keywords: Photo-catalysis, Solar Hydrogen, Hybrid Solar Reactors, Thermo-chemical, Opportunities and challenges


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

25 August 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

25 August 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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