Photocatalysis is a process in which a catalyst facilitates a chemical reaction by absorbing and utilising light energy. The most commonly used photocatalyst is titanium dioxide (TiO2). When exposed to ultraviolet (UV) light, TiO2 can absorb the energy and generate electron-hole pairs. These reactive species can then participate in various redox reactions, leading to the degradation or transformation of organic and inorganic compounds. 

At PartCat, we have engineered photocatalytic processes and materials to efficiently produce hydrogen, while simultaneously reforming organic molecules such as furfuryl alcohol into value-added products such as jet fuel precursors. The catalyst and systems we have designed have low capital and operational costs with direct solar energy inputs, creating a low-cost alternative for decentralised hydrogen production for the agriculture, mining, and chemical sectors.

Competitive advantage:

  • Fully equipped laboratory and world-leading research experts in catalyst and reactor design
  • Development of highly efficient photocatalytic systems for simultaneous or decoupled hydrogen production and biomass reforming
  • Low-cost hydrogen production with minimal energy inputs


  • Enhanced energy security by using infinite and diffusive solar energy to produce energy carriers
  • Off-grid hydrogen generation for remote sites
  • Economical catalyst and reactor design to minimise capital costs
  • Efficient hydrogen production by reforming organic waste to produce value-added chemicals such as jet fuel precursors

Successful applications 

  • A fully functional demonstration scale reactor system that is capable of generating 1.6 L of hydrogen per hour while reforming benzyl alcohol into hydrogen and benzaldehyde using visible-light-active photocatalyst
  • Lab scale reforming of a range of biomass feedstocks such as lignocellulosic waste-derived furfuryl alcohol to produce hydrogen and value-added products (hydrofuroin) efficiently or photoreforming of ethanol to hydrogen and acetaldehyde

Capabilities and facilities 

  • Nanoparticle synthesis and characterisation techniques
  • Custom-designed photocatalytic reactor and light sources for measuring catalytic performance
  • Demonstration scale reactor system with reactor size of 0.5 m2 irradiation area and 5 L slurry capacity for scale-up and testing
  • Product detection capabilities (NMR, GC/MS, UV-Vis)