Picture caption: SUNRISE partner Víctor A. de la Peña O’Shea discussing with Pedro Duque, Minister of Science, Innovation and Universities of the Government of Spain


“Is the artificial photosynthesis really feasible? How can these innovative technologies be scaled-up? When will they be comercialised?” These were some of the most frequent questions raised by the over 800 visitors who dropped by SUNRISE’s booth at the Green Zone of COP25 (United Nations Climate Change Conference) in Madrid. Between 5-7 December, 2019 our volunteers had the chance to explain what solar fuels consist of and how this research field can contribute to the transition from fossil to renewable energy sources by 2050.

During the three days, volunteers from our Spanish partners IMDEA Energy and ICIQ ran a very interactive stand. Our curious and intrepid visitors – from researchers to school students – could learn about the artificial photosynthesis and our initiative through our official video, different video interviews with SUNRISE experts, and our infographics’ series on the circular economy. They also had the chance to try an interactive and fun app to understand how this natural process works and how we can mimic it in the laboratory.

Live experiments showed how to run a toy car with fuel cells, or how to split water into hydrogen – a clean fuel – and oxygen through water electrolysis. Likewise, on Friday 6 and Saturday 7, volunteers from the A-LEAF project joined the SUNRISE team to showcase their latest advancements in creating a single photoelectrocatalytic (PEC) device: an artificial leaf.

Among the different visitors, we had the chance to explain our initiative and discuss about SUNRISE’s roadmap towards a clean-energy EU with Pedro Duque, Minister of Science, Innovation and Universities of the Government of Spain. He showed interest in the initiative that aims to contribute to the transition from a linear to a circular economy, aligned with the European Green Deal.

SUNRISE’s work also attracted the attention of different Spanish national media. Some of our volunteers, like Víctor A. de la Peña O’Shea or Laura López, were interviewed at Radio 3 and Radio 5, where they highlighted the importance of investing in technologies to make them available on a large-scale level for the transition to a low-emission society.

We would like to thank the COP25 organizers for bringing us this amazing experience. A BIG THANK YOU goes as well to all the people who popped into our booth, for supporting and encouraging our initiative with their challenging yet smart questions and comments. Last but not least, we thank our volunteers from IMDEA Energy and ICIQ for their great efforts and commitment. It has been a pleasure to share this time with all of you!

Check out our Twitter wrap-up on our three-day participation at COP25!