School Seminar Program

Harvesting Solar Energy into Storable Fuels: Photoelectrochemical Hydrogen Generation

Dr Siva Karuturi
Department of Electronic Materials Engineering

While stand-alone photovoltaic cells can be used to cheaply generate electricity, transportable fuels will still be crucial in a carbon-constrained world, in particular for shipping, freight and aviation. Hydrogen generated from solar-driven electrolysis of water has the potential to provide clean, sustainable, abundant and transportable energy. Towards realising this goal, artificial photosynthetic approaches such as photoelectrochemical (PEC) cells are being investigated. A PEC cell requires a semiconductor electrode that fulfils several essential prerequisites: a small semiconductor bandgap for efficiently harvesting a large proportion of the solar spectrum, appropriate band edges for redox reactions, high catalytic conversion efficiency of photogenerated  carriers, durability in aqueous environments, and low cost.

In this talk, I will present our work on the development of photoelectrodes for solar hydrogen generation based on Fe2O3, GaN, CdS semiconductor nanostructures. Following this, I will introduce photovoltaic assisted photoelectrodes in tandem configuration for spontaneous hydrogen evolution using solar energy as the sole energy input. In particular, our results on perovskite solar cell integrated photoelectrodes will be presented, with emphasis on the device fabrication and light harvesting characteristics.

Refreshments will be held in the Tea Room after the Seminar (around 4pm)

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