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Professor Erwin Reisner

Professor Erwin Reisner

Erwin Reisner is available for consultancy.

Office Phone: +44 (0)1223 336323


Independent Career

2010 - present. University of Cambridge, UK. University Lecturer in Materials, Energy and Sustainability, Department of Chemistry.

2009 - 2010. The University of Manchester, UK. EPSRC (UK Research Council) Career Acceleration Fellow, School of Chemistry.

Postdoctoral Career

2008 - 2009. University of Oxford, UK. Postdoctoral Research Assistant. Inorganic Chemistry Laboratory. Project: “Solar H2 Production with enzyme-nanoparticles”. Supervised by Prof. Fraser A. Armstrong. College Lecturer in Inorganic Chemistry at St. John’s College, Oxford.

2005 - 2007. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA. Erwin Schrödinger Postdoctoral Fellow. Department of Chemistry. Project: “Synthetic Models of Non-heme Diiron Proteins”. Supervised by Prof. Stephen J. Lippard.


2010: Habilitation in Inorganic Chemistry; 2005: PhD in Chemistry; 2002: Diploma in Chemistry. All degress at University of Vienna, Austria.

Research themes


Solar fuels - we are interested in producing sustainable fuels, in particular hydrogen or carbon-feedstocks from CO2, through artificial photosynthesis.

Energy Storage:

We store renewable energy in the form of a gaseous or liquid fuel.

Sustainable Chemical Conversions:

We aim to generate sustainable solar fuels that are relatively easy to store, transport and utilize (with the current infrastructure). We look at H2, which can in principle be produced from water, and carbon monoxide, which can be formed by reduction of CO2. A mixture of H2 and CO is known as synthesis gas and can be transformed into hydrocarbons via Fischer-Tropsch Chemistry.

Materials and Chemistry:

We employ nano-structured electrodes and particles to attach light-harvesting molecules and fuel producing catalysts. Typical materials are metal oxides such as TiO2.

Smart Systems and Device Design:

Our major effort is the design of novel photo-electrochemical cells for fuel generation (for example solar water splitting).

Departments and Institutes

Department of Chemistry:

Research Interests

We are interested in applying principles from the traditional field of Biological Inorganic Chemistry to Renewable Energy research. We design artificial photosynthetic systems to produce a so-called solar fuel - a sustainable fuel derived from solar energy and an effectively inexhaustible raw material. A major goal is to mimic photobiological energy generation by using enzymes and biomimetic synthetic compounds incorporated into technologically relevant hybrid systems. To achieve this aim, a solar light-harvesting component is coupled to a suitable redox catalyst to drive the energetically uphill redox transformations.

A current focus lies on the photocatalytic production of the high specific energy carrier hydrogen from water and we will soon explore novel routes of converting the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide into valuable carbon feedstocks. Our laboratory and department house state-of-the-art facilities for our work, which covers a wide range of disciplines - from anaerobic Synthetic to Biological Chemistry, with an emphasis somewhere at the Interface of Inorganic Chemistry, Enzymology, Electro-, Photochemistry, Materials and Nanoscience.


  • bioenergy
  • Chemistry
  • Photovoltaics
  • Materials

Key Publications

  • “Current Challenges for Modeling Enzyme Active Sites by Biomimetic Synthetic Diiron Complexes.” Friedle, S.; Reisner, E.; Lippard, S.J. Chem. Soc. Rev. 2010, 39, 2768–2779.

  • “Efficient and clean photo-reduction of CO2 to CO by enzyme-modified TiO2 nanoparticles using visible light.” Woolerton, T. W.; Sheard, S.; Reisner, E.; Pierce, E.; Ragsdale, S. W.; Armstrong, F. A. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2010, 132, 2132–2133.
  • “Visible Light-Driven H2 Production by Hydrogenases Attached to Dye-Sensitized TiO2 Nanoparticles.” Reisner, E.; Powell, D. J.; Cavazza, C.; Fontecilla-Camps,  J. C.; Armstrong, F. A. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2009, 131, 18457-18466.
  • “Water-Gas Shift Reaction Catalyzed by Redox Enzymes on Conducting Graphite Platelets.” Lazarus, O.; Woolerton, T. W.; Parkin, A.; Lukey, M. J.; Reisner, E.; Seravalli, J.; Pierce, E.; Ragsdale, S. W.; Sargent, F.; Armstrong, F. A. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2009, 131, 14154-14155.

  • “Catalytic electrochemistry of a [NiFeSe]-hydrogenase on TiO2 and demonstration of its suitability for visible-light driven H2 production.” Reisner, E.; Fontecilla-Camps, J. C.; Armstrong, F. A. Chem. Commun. 2009, 550-552.

  • “Dynamic electrochemical investigations of hydrogen oxidation and production by enzymes and implications for future technology.” Armstrong, F. A.; Belsey, N. A.; Cracknell, J. A.; Goldet, G.; Parkin, A.; Reisner, E.; Vincent, K. A.; Wait, A. F. Chem. Soc. Rev. 2009, 38, 36-51.

  • “Reactions of Synthetic [2Fe-2S] and [4Fe-4S] Clusters with Nitric Oxide and Nitrosothiols.” Harrop, T. C.; Tonzetich, Z. J.; Reisner, E.; Lippard, S. J. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2008, 130, 15602-15610.

  • “Synthesis of dicarboxylate "C-clamp" 1,2-diethynylarene compounds as potential transition-metal ion hosts.”  Reisner, E.; Lippard, S. J. Eur. J. Org. Chem. 2008, 156-163.

  • “A Planar Carboxylate-Rich Tetrairon(II) Complex and Its Conversion to Linear Triiron(II) and Paddlewheel Diiron(II) Complexes.” Reisner, E.; Telser, J.; Lippard, S. J. Inorg. Chem. 2007, 46, 10754-10770.

  • “Influence of Steric Hindrance on the Core Geometry and Sulfoxidation Chemistry of Carboxylate-rich Diiron(II) Complexes.” Reisner, E.; Abikoff, T. C.; Lippard, S. J. Inorg. Chem. 2007, 46, 10229-10240.