Photocatalytic synthesis for a carbon-neutral production of fuels and chemicals

 Webinar conference about photo(electro)catalysis for a sustainable energy conversion and storage into chemical bonds.

The webinar has comprised a session for better understanding of photo-electrochemical transformations driven by stable and efficient catalytic structures and how to combine photoelectrochemical measurements for their application in artificial photosynthesis. After a keynote session, SunCoChem, FlowPhotoChem and DECADE Horizon 2020 projects’ concept and methodology have been presented.

April 28th – 15.00 – 17.00 CEST


Targeted to:

  • Undergraduate, graduate or PhD students willing to learn about photo(electro)catalytic synthesis
  • Researchers in chemical technologies from Universities and research centers
  • Professionals in the chemical industry (technicians, R&D managers), etc.


15.00 – Welcome and Introduction

Maria Navarro, SunCoChem project coordinator, Eurecat

Ricard Garcia-VallsDirector of the Chemical Technology Unit, Eurecat

15.10 – Understanding the mechanism of (photo)electrochemical transformations in functional architectures for artificial photosynthesis

Francesca Toma, CSD staff scientist, Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis (JCAP), Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Stable and efficient catalytic architectures are a prerequisite for artificial photosynthesis. In order to achieve sustainable energy conversion and storage into chemical bonds, it is instrumental to understand the chemical transformation of these catalytic architectures under operating conditions. Understand how the performance of a (photo)electrode is impacted by chemical transformations during operation. This session will look at how functional, chemical, and structural heterogeneity over different length scales influences macroscopic performance and stability and show how we combine photoelectrochemical measurements with atomic force microscopy based techniques, and scanning transmission X-ray microscopy to gain a complete understanding of different material systems.

15.40 – Questions & answers 

15.50 – SunCoChem: photoelectrocatalysis for CO2 conversion for in-situ carbonylation through renewable energies

Míriam Díaz de los Bernardos, SunCoChem Scientific Coordinator, Head of the Synthesis and Catalysis Line at Chemical Technologies Unit, Eurecat

Simelys Hernandez, SunCoChem Technical Coordinator, Associate Professor, Politecnico di Torino


16.05 – FlowPhotoChem: heterogenous photo(electro)catalysis in flow using concentrated light

Pau Farràs, Director of the ChemLight group, Lecturer in Inorganic Chemistry at the School of Chemistry, National University of Ireland – Galway (NUIG)


16.20 – DECADE: photoelectrocatalysis for the conversion of CO2 avoiding water oxidation

Gabriele Centi, Full Professor in Industrial Chemistry, University of Messina, President, European Research Institute of Catalysis (ERIC)


16.35 – Q&A and discussion


16.55 – Closure, end of the session


María Navarro

SunCoChem project coordinator, Eurecat

She holds a PhD in Chemical Engineering by the University of Barcelona on the degradation of antibiotics by photocatalysis and ozonation. During her stages in research organizations, María gained experience in the preparation of proposals and the coordination of technical projects. María has also long-time record in the private sector, where she has worked as project coordinator, supporting the strategical position of the companies. She has more than 10 years’ experience in project management and has participated in several national and European projects. Currently she is European Program Coordinator at Eurecat, the main research and technology centre in Catalonia and the second largest private non-profit research organization in southern Europe. She supports Eurecat’s research and innovation roadmaps in different fields of knowledge such as Digital, Sustainability or Industrial areas.

Ricard Garcia-Valls

Director of Chemical Technologies Unit, Eurecat

He has a PhD in Chemistry from the Autonomous University of Barcelona (1995) and was a Chemical Engineering researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1996-1998). A lecturer at Rovira i Virgili University (URV) since 1998 and a researcher for two decades in membrane technology and encapsulation, he has led many public and industrial projects in his field of research and in chemical technology more generally, both at the URV and also at the Chemistry Technology Centre of Catalonia (CTQC) until the merger with Eurecat.

Francesca Toma

CSD staff scientist, Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis (JCAP), University of Berkeley

Francesca got her Master of Science in Pharmaceutical Chemistry at the University of Padua, and her PhD in Biophysics at the International School of Advanced Studies in Trieste (Italy) in 2009. She joined UC Santa Barbara as a Marie Curie Researcher in 2011, and was a Postdoctoral Scholar for a brief time in the Chemistry Department at UC Berkeley, before joining the Berkeley Lab in 2013. Francesca focuses on the synthesis, characterization, integration, and understanding of catalysts, and light absorbers for an energy-efficient future. Francesca has more than 80 papers and has received numerous recognitions including the 2021 WCC Rising Star Award for ACS.

Miriam Diaz de los Bernardos

SunCoChem Scientific Coordinator, Head of the Synhtesis and Catalysis Line at Chemical Technologies Unit,  Eurecat

Miriam holds a degree in Chemistry (2008), a master’s degree in synthesis and catalysis (2009) and a PhD in organic synthesis (2012) from Universitat Rovira I Virgili of Tarragona. During 2012 she gained experience in R&D projects at the Max-Planck-Institut für Kohlenforschung (Mülheim, Germany) as pre-doctoral scientist working in asymmetric synthesis. He joined to CTQC (Tarragona) in 2013 as junior scientist in organic synthesis and nanomaterial science working in the design, planning and execution of competitive and private multidisciplinary R&D projects. Currently she is the head of the synthesis and catalysis line at the Eurecat-Chemical Technological Unit and the scientific coordinator of the EU-funded project SunCoChem. Her expertise covers organic synthesis and the design of new catalysts which could result ultra-selective to obtain industrially relevant products from waste feedstocks such as CO2 in thermo-, photo- and electrochemical processes.

Simelys Hernandez

SunCoChem technical coordinator, Associate Professor,
 Politecnico di Torino

Simelys Hernández got the degree in Chemical Engineering, with highest honors (Lode) at both Politecnico di Torino (Polito, Turin, Italy) and at Universidad Central de Venezuela (Caracas, Venezuela) in 2004 and completed her PhD in Chemical Engineering at Polito in November 2009. She has been Assistant Professor (RTD-B) of the courses of Catalysis for the Energy and the Environment, Industrial Chemistry, Green Chemistry Products and Processes, and Photo-Electro-Catalytic Technologies for a Sustainable Chemical Industry at the DISAT department (Polito) and, from February 2021, she will Associated Professor leading a course on Petroleum Technology. She is responsible of the research team: CO2 reduction for a low-carbon economy (CREST group). She is collaborator at the CSFT of the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT@Polito), member of the RSC, MRS, ISE and SCI (Electrochemical Division). She is technical coordinator of the EU H2020 project SunCoChem (, principal investigator of the H2020 project OCEAN (, vice-coordinator of the EU H2020 project RECODE ( and has worked in the coordination and scientific teams of other EU Projects (CELBICON, SOLHYDROMICS, MCWAP, ArtipHyction, ECO2CO2 and TERRA) related to the development of Novel Sustainable Photo-Electro-Chemical Processes for the capture and conversion of the CO2 from lab-scale (TRL2/3) to Pilot scale (TRL5/6).

Pau Farràs

Director of the ChemLight group, Lecturer in Inorganic Chemistry at the School of Chemistry,  National University of Ireland – Galway (NUIG)

Dr Pau Farràs received his BSc in Chemical Engineering from the Autonomous University of Barcelona (Spain) in 2003 and obtained the PhD in Chemistry from the Materials Science Institute of Barcelona in 2009.

Dr Farràs is currently the coordinator of three EU-funded projects SEAFUEL, SOLAR2CHEM and FLOWPHOTOCHEM, and work package leader in HUGE and NEFERTITI. He is an active member of Hydrogen Europe Research and supporter of the SUNERGY initiative. He is author of 39 papers with around 1000 citations (h-index 18) and a book chapter on visible light-driven oxidation of organic substrates.

Gabriele Centi

Full Professor in Industrial Chemistry,  University of Messina

President, European Research Institute of Catalysis (ERIC)

He was coordinator of the EU Network of Excellence IDECAT, and is actually President of IACS (International Association of Catalysis Societies), in the past also President of the EFCATS (European Federation of Catalysis Societies). He has been coordinator or PI in over twenty EU projects (between which the Network of Excellence on catalysis IDECAT), besides many other national and industrial projects.

He recently started and coordinated an ERC Synergy grant on plasma-catalysis. He is also part of the board of SUNERGY, the European initiative on solar fuels. He received several awards, among which the Chinese Academy of Science President’s International Fellowship Initiative, PIFI, as Distinguished Scientist, and the Humboldt Research Award, and is involved in various editorial activities. He chaired the editorial board of ChemSusChem up to 2019 and is co-editor in chief of Journal of Energy Chemistry (both raised to high IF journals) and of the book series Studies in Surface Science and Catalysis, one of the oldest and more known in catalysis.  He was chairperson of many international conferences, between which Europacat 2017 in Florence and the 16th International Zeolite Conference joint with the 7th International Mesostructured Materials Symposium (Sorrento, Italy, 2010). 

He is author of nearly 500 scientific publications, 12 books and editor of over 20 special issues of journals. Current h-index is 86 with about 29.000 citations and over 350 papers with more than 10 citations (Google Scholar, March 2021).

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