California Institute of Technology - JCAP

Researchers from multiple scientific disciplines are working to synthesize fuels just as plants do: from water, carbon dioxide, and sunshine.

The Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis (JCAP) is a scientific research program whose goal is to replicate artificially what plants already do naturally: producing fuels from sunlight. JCAP, led by Caltech, and in partnership with the DOE's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, is developing revolutionary methods to generate fuels directly from sunlight to simulate nature's photosynthetic apparatus for liquid fuel production.

As a nationwide hub for solar fuels research, JCAP brings together more than 150 world-class scientists and engineers. Using advancements in materials and technologies, as well as an understanding of chemical reactions, JCAP scientists will mimic the natural photosynthetic process using inexpensive and durable components. JCAPs long-term goal is to develop an integrated solar energy-to-chemical fuel conversion system and move this system to commercial scale.

The goal of this project is to develop a cost-effective artificial photosynthesis process and system for commercial production of alternative fuels, which will benefit the state by creating lower alternative fuel production costs. The project, making full use of science and engineering graduate students in a state-of-the-art laboratory setting, is also regarded as a white collar workforce development opportunity for students with advanced degrees.

See more information about Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis.

scientist connecting test equipment Man in laboratory writing two scientists working in lab

Photographs courtesy of Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis; Photography by Robert Paz and and Kelly Owens.



  • Artificial photosynthesis will increase energy independence and fuel diversity.

  • Artificial photosynthesis enables storage and dispatch ability of solar energy.

  • Supporting the development of the core technology and materials required for solar fuel generation is an investment in California's future clean energy industry.

Type of Project

Emerging Opportunities

ARFVTP Award Amount



Research on multiple fronts is ongoing.


The Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis is located in Pasadena, CA


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