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Promoting Technological Feasibility and Sustainability: the HORIZON Europe DESIRED Project Kicks Off!

On November 9th and 10th, the project DESIRED ‘Direct co-processing of CO2 and water to sustainable multicarbon energy products in novel photocatalytic reactor’ held its physical kick off meeting in Bari, Italy. This 48-month EU-funded Research and Innovation Action funded under the HORIZON Europe programme, officially started on the 1st of November 2022.

DESIRED is a high-risk high-return project, focused on establishing the technological feasibility and sustainability of a novel fuel production system – the DESIRED system – for direct coprocessing of, possibly atmospheric, CO2 and water to produce multi-carbon (C2+) energy-rich products using sunlight as primary energy source. The DESIRED system will produce C2+ solar fuels (without overlooking C1 species such as methanol or methane) by direct coprocessing of CO2 and water using novel and recyclable hybrid photo-electrocatalysts, supported on frustules or zeolites, in an innovative photoreactor design applying, for the first time, oscillatory flow principles, combined with direct light irradiation.

With regards to applications, DESIRED will focus on products, which, by 2050, would be used per se or as intermediates to produce drop-in fuels for sectors where direct shift to batteries or H2 is not a technically and cost-efficient option (e.g., aviation). Knowledge of the economic affordability, environmental benefits, and social acceptability of this approach will be investigated.

DESIRED promotes an interdisciplinary approach to research and innovation undertaken by a consortium of 7 European partners and complemented by cross-cutting activities including modelling, process simulation, sustainability, and techno-economic assessment as well as impactful dissemination, communication, capacity-building and exploitation activities that support the exchange of knowledge across and beyond the consortium and project. The DESIRED project consists of the project partners CIRCC – University of Bari (Angela Dibenedetto) and Polytechnic University of Marche (Alessandra Norici), Charles University – Prague (Jiří Čejka and Ewelina Szaniawska), University of Warsaw (Renata Solarska), IMDEA Energy Institute – Madrid (Javier Dufour zand José Luis Galvez) and industrial partners such as Institute for Sustainable Technologies (AEE INTEC) – Wien (Bettina Muster and Sarah Meitz), eBOS – Technologies LTD – Cyprus (Panayiotis Klitou), IC2R – Bari, Italy (Michele Aresta).