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Sustainable Solar Hydrogen Production: From Photo-Electrochemical Cells to PV-Electrolysis and Back Again
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Chemistry, Department of Chemistry - Ångström, Inorganic Chemistry.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Technology, Department of Engineering Sciences, Solid State Electronics.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Technology, Department of Engineering Sciences, Solid State Electronics.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Chemistry, Department of Chemistry - Ångström, Inorganic Chemistry.
2014 (English)In: Energy & Environmental Science, ISSN 1754-5692, E-ISSN 1754-5706Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Sustainable hydrogen production could, in principle, be accomplished along several different routes, where some of the most promising approaches involve utilization of solar energy. Photoelectrochemical cells (PEC-cells) and PV-electrolyzers for solar hydrogen production are here analyzed and compared. The analysis is performed by theoretically designing a number of intermediate devices, successively going from PEC-cells to PV-electrolyzers. The main physical processes: absorption, charge carrier separation, charge carrier transport, and catalysis are analyzed in the different devices. This demonstrates how the two concepts are related, and how one could easily be transformed and converted into the other. The awareness of the close relationship between PEC-cells and PV-electrolyzers is not as widely recognized as it should be. Traditionally, these two approaches have often been considered as fundamentally different, and are far too seldom analyzed in the same context. We argue that the different device designs for solar hydrogen production are best seen as essentially equivalent approaches, and as topological variations of the same basic theme, and can in many cases be unified under the acronym photo driven catalytic (PDC) devices. We further argue that much is to gain by acknowledging the similarities between PEC water splitting and PV-electrolysis, and that one concept alone should not be considered without also considering the other. The analysis and discussion presented could potentially lead to an increased fruitful crossbreeding of the accumulated knowledge in the respective sub-discipline, and aid in realizing solar hydrogen production as a sustainable and economically compatible energy alternative.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014.
National Category
Inorganic Chemistry Engineering and Technology
Research subject
Engineering Science with specialization in Electronics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-221258DOI: 10.1039/C4EE00754AISI: 000337977600001OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-221258DiVA: diva2:708217
Available from: 2014-03-27 Created: 2014-03-27 Last updated: 2017-12-05Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Highly Efficient CIGS Based Devices for Solar Hydrogen Production and Size Dependent Properties of ZnO Quantum Dots
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Highly Efficient CIGS Based Devices for Solar Hydrogen Production and Size Dependent Properties of ZnO Quantum Dots
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Materials and device concepts for renewable solar hydrogen production, and size dependent properties of ZnO quantum dots are the two main themes of this thesis.

ZnO particles with diameters less than 10 nm, which are small enough for electronic quantum confinement, were synthesized by hydrolysis in alkaline zinc acetate solutions. Properties investigated include: the band gap - particle size relation, phonon quantum confinement, visible and UV-fluorescence as well as photocatalytic performance. In order to determine the absolute energetic position of the band edges and the position of trap levels involved in the visible fluorescence, methods based on combining linear sweep voltammetry and optical measurements were developed.

The large band gap of ZnO prevents absorption of visible light, and in order to construct devices capable of utilizing a larger part of the solar spectrum, other materials were also investigated, like hematite , Fe2O3, and CIGS, CuIn1-xGaxSe2.

The optical properties of hematite were investigated as a function of film thickness on films deposited by ALD. For films thinner than 20 nm, a blue shift was observed for both the absorption maximum, the indirect band gap as well as for the direct transitions. The probability for the indirect transition decreased substantially for thinner films due to a suppressed photon/phonon coupling. These effects decrease the visible absorption for films thin enough for effective charge transport in photocatalytic applications.

CIGS was demonstrated to be a highly interesting material for solar hydrogen production. CIGS based photocathodes demonstrated high photocurrents for the hydrogen evolution half reaction. The electrode stability was problematic, but was solved by introducing a modular approach based on spatial separation of the basic functionalities in the device. To construct devices capable of driving the full reaction, the possibility to use cells interconnected in series as an alternative to tandem devices were investigated. A stable, monolithic device based on three CIGS cells interconnected in series, reaching beyond 10 % STH-efficiency, was finally demonstrated. With experimental support from the CIGS-devices, the entire process of solar hydrogen production was reviewed with respect to the underlying physical processes, with special focus on the similarities and differences between various device concepts.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2014. 155 p.
Series
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Science and Technology, ISSN 1651-6214 ; 1134
Keyword
ZnO, Nanoparticles, Quanum Dots, Size Dependent Properties, Hematite, CIGS, Solar Water Splitting, Hydrogen Production, PEC, Photoelectrochemical cells, PV-electrolysis
National Category
Inorganic Chemistry Physical Chemistry Materials Chemistry
Research subject
Chemistry with specialization in Inorganic Chemistry
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-221260 (URN)978-91-554-8918-2 (ISBN)
Public defence
2014-05-23, Häggsalen, Ångström Laboratory, Lägehydsvägen 1, Uppsala, 09:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2014-04-24 Created: 2014-03-27 Last updated: 2014-05-27Bibliographically approved

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Jacobsson, JesperViktor, FjällströmMarika, EdoffTomas, Edvinsson

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