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Pr. Günther Knör

Johannes Kepler University Linz (JKU), Institute of Inorganic Chemistry, Austria


Talk Title
Advanced Photocatalytic Systems for Bio-inspired Solar Chemistry and Artificial Photosynthetic Fuel Production

Talk Abstract

The involvement of photochemical key-steps to substitute catalytic functions or to regulate enzyme-like activity on demand is a very powerful tool for the development of novel biomimetic and bio-inspired systems [1]. For example, replacing natural processes with small molecular catalysts based on coordination compounds and photoreactive materials offers several important benefits compared to conventional biomimetic strategies. Such advantages include the convenient triggering and regulation of enzyme-like activity by light-intensity variations, efficient substrate conversion even under very mild reaction conditions, and the intrinsic possibility of powering energetically uphill processes. Due to these promising features, the novel field of photochemical enzyme models(artificial photoenzymes), which was developed in the author´s lab, has matured over the last decade. The next level of development will now be reached by immobilizing artificial enzymes as light-responsive catalysts into biocompatible materials such as hydrogels, which will allow the generation of artificial organelles for new types of photocataltic processes following a bottom-up synthetic biology approach. Thus, visible light driven reaction cascades with robust artificial enzymes based on non-precious metal coordination compounds can already offer an attractive “green chemistry” strategy for environmentally benign onepot multistep substrate conversions [2]. Moreover, such light-dependent enzyme model compounds can be employed as versatile photocatalysts for powering energetically uphill redox processes required for the direct chemical conversion and storage of solar energy [3].

In the present contribution, some recent developments and breakthroughs in this fascinating research area will be discussed including the unprecedented cases of an artificial photosynthetic system fully substituting the solar energy storing light-reactions of native PS I [3] and the functional replacement of natural monooxygenases or radical enzymes for catalyzing synthetically useful redox transformations such as hydrogen atom transfer (HAT) and C-H activation and under very mild conditions to enable covalent bond-formation processes with red light activated artificial enzymes [2]. An outlook will also be given to demonstrate the huge potential of the artificial enzyme concept in the fields of photomedicine and life-sciences.

[1] G. Knör, ChemBioChem 2001, 2, 593; G. Knör, Chem. Eur. J. 2009, 15, 568.

[2] G. Knör, Coord. Chem. Rev. 2016, 325, 102.

        [3] G. Knör, Coord. Chem. Rev. 2015, 304-305, 102


Short Biography

Prof. Günther Knör received his doctorate in 1994 working in Regensburg and Bologna on the Photocatalytic


Production of Solar Fuels. After PostDoc research on Artificial Photosynthesis in Stockholm, he introduced the


new concept of Light-driven Enzyme Model Compounds (Habilitation 2001). He became a University professor in


Vienna and Erlangen. Since 2006 he is full professor of Inorganic Chemistry and director of the Photochemistry

Center at Johannes Kepler University Linz (JKU) in Austria.

Talk Keywords
Solar Energy Conversion, Artificial Photosynthesis, Bio-inspired Catalysis, Enzyme Model Compounds, Sustainable Chemistry, Bionics.
Target Audience
Researchers, Government policy makers, Industrail leaders, Students, General publics
Speaker-intro video

The International Conference on Innovative Applied Energy (IAPE’18)