With this approach, the developed photocathode exhibits remarkable stability, demonstrating solar-driven clean hydrogen generation via water splitting

Gwangju, Korea, September 23, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Hydrogen has emerged as a popular green alternative to fossil fuel sources due to its carbon-neutral combustion products (water, electricity and heat) and is seen as the next generation zero-emission fuel. It is done. society. Ironically, however, the main source of hydrogen is fossil fuels.

One way to produce hydrogen in a clean and sustainable way is by solar water splitting. This process, known as ‘photoelectrochemical (PEC) water splitting’, is the basis for the operation of organic solar cells. The advantages of this method are 1) mass production of hydrogen in a limited space without using a grid system, and 2) high efficiency conversion of solar energy to hydrogen. However, despite such advantages, the photoactive materials used in conventional PECs do not possess the necessary properties for commercial settings. In this regard, organic semiconductors (OS) have emerged as potential photoelectrode materials for commercial PEC hydrogen production due to their high performance and low cost printing. However, the drawback is that OS has poor chemical stability and low photocurrent density.

Currently, a team of researchers led by a professor. Sanghan Lee From Gwangju University of Science and Technology in South Korea, we may have finally solved this problem. In their recent breakthrough, which appeared on the cover of Journal of Materials Chemistry AThe research team employed an approach based on encapsulating the OS photocathode in a platinum-decorated titanium foil, a technique known as ‘metal foil encapsulation’, to prevent exposure to the electrolyte solution.

“Metal foil encapsulation is a powerful approach for realizing long-term stable OS-based photocathodes, as it helps prevent electrolyte penetration into the OS., It improves long-term stability as demonstrated in previous studies and other reports on OS-based photoelectrodes.explains Professor Lee.This study was published online May 14, 2022 Published in the 25th issue of the journal July 7, 2022.

The team fabricated an organic solar cell in which the OS photocathode was covered with a titanium foil and well-dispersed platinum nanoparticles. As a result of the tests, the OS photocathode showed an onset potential of 1 V and a photocurrent density of -12.3 mA cm against the reversible hydrogen electrode (RHE).-2 at 0VRHEMost notably, this cell exhibited record operational stability, sustaining 95.4% of the maximum photocurrent for over 30 hours without any noticeable degradation in OS. Additionally, the team was able to test the module under real sunlight and produce hydrogen.

The highly stable and efficient PEC modules developed in this study can enable large-scale production of hydrogen and inspire innovative routes for building future hydrogen gas stations. “As the threat of global warming increases, the development of environmentally friendly energy sources is essential.The PEC modules investigated in our study can be installed in hydrogen gas stations, Realizing mass production and sales of hydrogen at the same time,optimistic Professor Lee speculates.

We hope his vision comes true soon!

DOIs: https://doi.org/10.1039/d2ta02322a

Original article title: Long-term stable organic semiconductor photocathode-based photoelectrochemical module system for hydrogen production

journal: Journal of Materials Chemistry A

About Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology (GIST)
Website: http://www.gist.ac.kr/

Kang Chan-sung
82 62 715 6253
[email protected]

SOURCE Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology

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