Water Splitting with Enhanced Efficiency Using a Nickel-Based Co-Catalyst at a Cupric Oxide Photocathode

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Title: Water Splitting with Enhanced Efficiency Using a Nickel-Based Co-Catalyst at a Cupric Oxide Photocathode
Authors: Lo Vecchio, Carmelo | Trocino, Stefano | Giacoppo, Giosuè | Barbera, Orazio | Baglio, Vincenzo | Díez García, María Isabel | Contreras, Maxime | Gómez, Roberto | Aricò, Antonino Salvatore
Research Group/s: Grupo de Fotoquímica y Electroquímica de Semiconductores (GFES)
Center, Department or Service: Universidad de Alicante. Departamento de Química Física | Universidad de Alicante. Instituto Universitario de Electroquímica
Keywords: Low-cost semiconductors | Tandem cell | Cupric oxide photocathode | Solar to hydrogen efficiency | Photoelectrochemical cell | Ni-based co-catalysts
Knowledge Area: Química Física
Issue Date: 12-Nov-2021
Publisher: MDPI
Citation: Lo Vecchio C, Trocino S, Giacoppo G, Barbera O, Baglio V, Díez-García MI, Contreras M, Gómez R, Aricò AS. Water Splitting with Enhanced Efficiency Using a Nickel-Based Co-Catalyst at a Cupric Oxide Photocathode. Catalysts. 2021; 11(11):1363. https://doi.org/10.3390/catal11111363
Abstract: Homemade non-critical raw materials such as Ni or NiCu co-catalysts were added at the photocathode of a tandem cell, constituted by photoelectrodes made of earth-abundant materials, to generate green solar hydrogen from photoelectrochemical water splitting. Oxygen evolving at the Ti-and-P-doped hematite/TCO-based photoanode and hydrogen at the cupric oxide/GDL-based photocathode are separated by an anion exchange polymer electrolyte membrane placed between them. The effect of the aforementioned co-catalysts was studied in a complete PEC cell in the presence of the ionomer dispersion and the anionic membrane to evaluate their impact under practical conditions. Notably, different amounts of Ni or NiCu co-catalysts were used to improve the hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) kinetics and the overall solar-to-hydrogen (STH) efficiency of the photoelectrochemical cells. At −0.6 V, in the bias-assisted region, the photocurrent density reaches about 2 mA cm−2 for a cell with 12 µg cm−2 of Ni loading, followed by 1.75 mA cm−2 for the cell configuration based on 8 µg cm−2 of NiCu. For the best-performing cell, enthalpy efficiency at −0.4 V reaches a first maximum value of 2.03%. In contrast, the throughput efficiency, which is a ratio between the power output and the total power input (solar + electric) provided by an external source, calculated at −1.225 V, reaches a maximum of 10.75%. This value is approximately three times higher than the best results obtained in our previous studies without the use of co-catalysts at the photocathode.
Sponsor: The authors gratefully acknowledge funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement no. 760930 (FotoH2 project).
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10045/119537
ISSN: 2073-4344
DOI: 10.3390/catal11111363
Language: eng
Type: info:eu-repo/semantics/article
Rights: © 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Peer Review: si
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.3390/catal11111363
Appears in Collections:INV - GFES - Artículos de Revistas
Research funded by the EU

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