Commenced in January 2007
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Edition: International
Paper Count: 7

Water Splitting Related Abstracts

7 Various Shaped ZnO and ZnO/Graphene Oxide Nanocomposites and Their Use in Water Splitting Reaction

Authors: Sundaram Chandrasekaran, Seung Hyun Hur


Exploring strategies for oxygen vacancy engineering under mild conditions and understanding the relationship between dislocations and photoelectrochemical (PEC) cell performance are challenging issues for designing high performance PEC devices. Therefore, it is very important to understand that how the oxygen vacancies (VO) or other defect states affect the performance of the photocatalyst in photoelectric transfer. So far, it has been found that defects in nano or micro crystals can have two possible significances on the PEC performance. Firstly, an electron-hole pair produced at the interface of photoelectrode and electrolyte can recombine at the defect centers under illumination of light, thereby reducing the PEC performances. On the other hand, the defects could lead to a higher light absorption in the longer wavelength region and may act as energy centers for the water splitting reaction that can improve the PEC performances. Even if the dislocation growth of ZnO has been verified by the full density functional theory (DFT) calculations and local density approximation calculations (LDA), it requires further studies to correlate the structures of ZnO and PEC performances. Exploring the hybrid structures composed of graphene oxide (GO) and ZnO nanostructures offer not only the vision of how the complex structure form from a simple starting materials but also the tools to improve PEC performances by understanding the underlying mechanisms of mutual interactions. As there are few studies for the ZnO growth with other materials and the growth mechanism in those cases has not been clearly explored yet, it is very important to understand the fundamental growth process of nanomaterials with the specific materials, so that rational and controllable syntheses of efficient ZnO-based hybrid materials can be designed to prepare nanostructures that can exhibit significant PEC performances. Herein, we fabricated various ZnO nanostructures such as hollow sphere, bucky bowl, nanorod and triangle, investigated their pH dependent growth mechanism, and correlated the PEC performances with them. Especially, the origin of well-controlled dislocation-driven growth and its transformation mechanism of ZnO nanorods to triangles on the GO surface were discussed in detail. Surprisingly, the addition of GO during the synthesis process not only tunes the morphology of ZnO nanocrystals and also creates more oxygen vacancies (oxygen defects) in the lattice of ZnO, which obviously suggest that the oxygen vacancies be created by the redox reaction between GO and ZnO in which the surface oxygen is extracted from the surface of ZnO by the functional groups of GO. On the basis of our experimental and theoretical analysis, the detailed mechanism for the formation of specific structural shapes and oxygen vacancies via dislocation, and its impact in PEC performances are explored. In water splitting performance, the maximum photocurrent density of GO-ZnO triangles was 1.517mA/cm-2 (under UV light ~ 360 nm) vs. RHE with high incident photon to current conversion Efficiency (IPCE) of 10.41%, which is the highest among all samples fabricated in this study and also one of the highest IPCE reported so far obtained from GO-ZnO triangular shaped photocatalyst.

Keywords: Water Splitting, Graphene Oxide, zinc oxide, dislocation driven growth

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6 Photoelectrochemical Water Splitting from Earth-Abundant CuO Thin Film Photocathode: Enhancing Performance and Photo-Stability through Deposition of Overlayers

Authors: Wilman Septina, Rajiv R. Prabhakar, Thomas Moehl, David Tilley


Cupric oxide (CuO) is a promising absorber material for the fabrication of scalable, low cost solar energy conversion devices, due to the high abundance and low toxicity of copper. It is a p-type semiconductor with a band gap of around 1.5 eV, absorbing a significant portion of the solar spectrum. One of the main challenges in using CuO as solar absorber in an aqueous system is its tendency towards photocorrosion, generating Cu2O and metallic Cu. Although there have been several reports of CuO as a photocathode for hydrogen production, it is unclear how much of the observed current actually corresponds to H2 evolution, as the inevitability of photocorrosion is usually not addressed. In this research, we investigated the effect of the deposition of overlayers onto CuO thin films for the purpose of enhancing its photostability as well as performance for water splitting applications. CuO thin film was fabricated by galvanic electrodeposition of metallic copper onto gold-coated FTO substrates, followed by annealing in air at 600 °C. Photoelectrochemical measurement of the bare CuO film using 1 M phosphate buffer (pH 6.9) under simulated AM 1.5 sunlight showed a current density of ca. 1.5 mA cm-2 (at 0.4 VRHE), which photocorroded to Cu metal upon prolonged illumination. This photocorrosion could be suppressed by deposition of 50 nm-thick TiO2, deposited by atomic layer deposition. In addition, we found that insertion of an n-type CdS layer, deposited by chemical bath deposition, between the CuO and TiO2 layers was able to enhance significantly the photocurrent compared to without the CdS layer. A photocurrent of over 2 mA cm-2 (at 0 VRHE) was observed using the photocathode stack FTO/Au/CuO/CdS/TiO2/Pt. Structural, electrochemical, and photostability characterizations of the photocathode as well as results on various overlayers will be presented.

Keywords: Hydrogen, Water Splitting, CuO, photostability, photoelectrochemical

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5 Photocatalytic Hydrogen Production, Effect of Metal Particle Size and Their Electronic/Optical Properties on the Reaction

Authors: Hicham Idriss


Hydrogen production from water is one of the most promising methods to secure renewable sources or vectors of energy for societies in general and for chemical industries in particular. At present over 90% of the total amount of hydrogen produced in the world is made from non-renewable fossil fuels (via methane reforming). There are many methods for producing hydrogen from water and these include reducible oxide materials (solar thermal production), combined PV/electrolysis, artificial photosynthesis and photocatalysis. The most promising of these processes is the one relying on photocatalysis; yet serious challenges are hindering its success so far. In order to make this process viable considerable improvement of the photon conversion is needed. Among the key studies that our group has been conducting in the last few years are those focusing on synergism between the semiconductor phases, photonic band gap materials, pn junctions, plasmonic resonance responses, charge transfer to metal cations, in addition to metal dispersion and band gap engineering. In this work results related to phase transformation of the anatase to rutile in the case of TiO2 (synergism), of Au and Ag dispersion (electron trapping and hydrogen-hydrogen recombination centers) as well as their plasmon resonance response (visible light conversion) are presented and discussed. It is found for example that synergism between the two common phases of TiO2 (anatase and rutile) is sensitive to the initial particle size. It is also found, in agreement with previous results, that the rate is very sensitive to the amount of metals (with similar particle size) on the surface unlike the case of thermal heterogeneous catalysis.

Keywords: Hydrogen production, Water Splitting, photo-catalysis, plasmonic

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4 Photocatalytic Conversion of Water/Methanol Mixture into Hydrogen Using Cerium/Iron Oxides Based Structures

Authors: Wael A. Aboutaleb, Ahmed M. A. El Naggar, Heba M. Gobara


This research work reports the photocatalytic production of hydrogen from water-methanol mixture using three different 15% ceria/iron oxide catalysts. The catalysts were prepared by physical mixing, precipitation, and ultrasonication methods and labeled as catalysts A-C. The structural and texture properties of the obtained catalysts were confirmed by X-ray diffraction (XRD), BET-surface area analysis and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). The photocatalytic activity of the three catalysts towards hydrogen generation was then tested. Promising hydrogen productivity was obtained by the three catalysts however different gases compositions were obtained by each type of catalyst. Specifically, catalyst A had produced hydrogen mixed with CO₂ while the composite structure (catalyst B) had generated only pure H₂. In the case of catalyst C, syngas made of H₂ and CO was revealed, as a novel product, for the first time, in such process.

Keywords: clean energy, Hydrogen production, Water Splitting, Photocatalysts

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3 Titania Assisted Metal-Organic Framework Matrix for Elevated Hydrogen Generation Combined with the Production of Graphene Sheets through Water-Splitting Process

Authors: Heba M. Gobara, Ahmed A. M. El-Naggar, Rasha S. El-Sayed, Amal A. AlKahlawy


In this study, metal organic framework (Cr-MIL-101) and TiO₂ nanoparticles were utilized as two semiconductors for water splitting process. The coupling of both semiconductors in order to improve the photocatalytic reactivity for the hydrogen production in presence of methanol as a hole scavenger under visible light (sunlight) has been performed. The forementioned semiconductors and the collected samples after water splitting application are characterized by several techniques viz., XRD, N₂ adsorption-desorption, TEM, ED, EDX, Raman spectroscopy and the total content of carbon. The results revealed an efficient yield of H₂ production with maximum purity 99.3% with the in-situ formation of graphene oxide nanosheets and multiwalled carbon nanotubes coated over the surface of the physically mixed Cr-MIL-101–TiO₂ system. The amount of H₂ gas produced was stored when using Cr-MIL-101 catalyst individually. The obtained data in this work provides promising candidate materials for pure hydrogen production as a clean fuel acquired from the water splitting process. In addition, the in-situ production of graphene nanosheets and carbon nanotubes is counted as promising advances for the presented process.

Keywords: Graphene, Hydrogen production, Water Splitting, Photocatalysts

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2 Competitive Coordination Strategy Towards Reversible Hybrid Hetero-Homogeneous Oxygen-Evolving Catalyst

Authors: Peikun Zhang, Chunhua Cui


Photoelectrochemical (PEC) water splitting provides a promising pathway to convert solar energy into renewable fuels. However, the main and seemingly insurmountable obstacle is that the sluggish kinetics of oxygen evolution reaction (OER) severely jeopardizes the overall efficiency, thus exploring highly active, stable, and appreciable catalysts is urgently requested. Herein a competitive coordination strategy was demonstrated to form a reversible hybrid homo-heterogeneous catalyst for efficient OER in alkaline media. The dynamic process involves an in-situ anchoring of soluble nickel–bipyridine pre-catalyst to a conductive substrate under OER and a re-dissolution course under open circuit potential, induced by the competitive coordination between nickel–bipyridine and nickel-hydroxyls. This catalyst allows to elaborately self-modulate a charge-transfer layer thickness upon the catalytic on-off operation, which affords substantially increased active sites, yet remains light transparency, and sustains the stability of over 200 hours of continuous operation. The integration of this catalyst with exemplified state-of-the-art Ni-sputtered Si photoanode can facilitate a ~250 mV cathodic shift at a current density of 20 mA cm-2. This finding helps the understanding of catalyst from a “dynamic” perspective, which represents a viable alternative to address remaining hurdles toward solar-driven water oxidation.

Keywords: Solar energy, Water Splitting, oxygen evolution reaction, molecular catalyst, transition metal complex

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1 Advanced Nanostructured Materials and Their Application for Solar Fuel

Authors: Ahmed Elsayed, A. Hegazy, Essam El Shenawy, N. Allam, Hala Handal, K. R. Mahmoud


Highly crystalline, TiO₂ pristine sub-10 nm anatase nanocrystals were fabricated at low temperatures by post hydrothermal treatment of the as-prepared TiO₂ nanoparticles. This treatment resulted in bandgap narrowing and increased photocurrent density value (3.8 mA/cm²) when this material was employed in water splitting systems. The achieved photocurrent values are among the highest reported ones so far for the fabricated nanoparticles at this low temperature. This might be explained by the increased surface defects of the prepared nanoparticles. It resulted in bandgap narrowing that was further investigated using positron annihilation experiments by measuring positron lifetime and Doppler broadening. Besides, homogeneous spherical TiO₂ nanoparticles were synthesized in large diameter and high surface area and the high percentage of (001) facet by sol-gel method using potassium persulfate (K₂S₂O₈) as an oxidizing agent. The fabricated particles exhibited high exposed surface area, high photoactivity and reduced band gap. Enhanced performance for water splitting applications was displayed by formed TiO₂ nanoparticles. Their morphological and structural properties were studied to optimize their synthesis parameters in an attempt to construct more applicable fuel cells in the industry for hydrogen fuel production.

Keywords: Solar energy, Water Splitting, TiO2 nanoparticles, positron annihilation

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