Development of hematite and cupric oxide photoelectrodes for water splitting tandem cells

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Title: Development of hematite and cupric oxide photoelectrodes for water splitting tandem cells
Authors: Cots, Ainhoa
Research Director: Gómez, Roberto | Bonete, Pedro
Center, Department or Service: Universidad de Alicante. Departamento de Química Física
Keywords: Photoelectrochemistry | Hematite | Cupric oxide | Water splitting | Tandem cells | Solar energy
Knowledge Area: Química Física
Date Created: 2019
Issue Date: 2019
Date of defense: 13-Sep-2019
Publisher: Universidad de Alicante
Abstract: Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, the global energy consumption has been continuously increasing, supplied mainly by coal, oil and natural gases. Unfortunately, this consumption is linked to the emission of greenhouse gasses such as CO2 to the atmosphere. For this reason, it is extremely important to look for sustainable and renewable energy sources in order to replace the commonly used fossil fuels. Within the different types of renewable energy sources, solar energy holds by far the largest potential capacity. In this respect, artificial photosynthesis is a promising technology not only to harvest solar energy, but also as a means of storage by producing energy-rich chemical fuels such as H2 from water. The main components of photoelectrochemical water splitting devices are the semiconductor light absorber photoelectrodes and the electrolyte. Chapter 1 reviews the fundamental aspects of photoelectrochemical water splitting and overviews the physics and electrochemistry of semiconductor materials. The second chapter describes the methodologies and techniques employed throughout the thesis. The experimental results are reported from Chapter 3 to 8, focusing on the development and further optimization of two photoelectrodes, concretely hematite and cupric oxide, besides the design and fabrication of tandem cells for standalone water splitting. In the case of hematite photoanodes, the main efforts have focused on its doping to enhance carrier density and mobility as a way of diminishing recombination. The major drawback present in cupric oxide photoelectrodes is their instability against photocorrosion, for this reason, research has focused on protecting them, both by impregnation and adsorption methodologies. Finally, a tandem cell composed by a hematite photoanode and a cupric oxide photocathode was developed. It is worth noting that a polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) was employed as to facilitate upscaling and diminish the corrosion observed employing the typical acidic or basic liquid electrolytes.
Language: eng
Type: info:eu-repo/semantics/doctoralThesis
Rights: Licencia Creative Commons Reconocimiento-NoComercial-SinObraDerivada 4.0
Appears in Collections: Doctoral theses

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