Project

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Solar Water Splitting: Photovoltage, Surface Dipole, and Catalysis Strategies

Applicant Tilley David
Number 160586
Funding scheme Assistant Professor (AP) Energy Grants
Research institution Institut für Chemie Universität Zürich
Institution of higher education University of Zurich - ZH
Main discipline Physical Chemistry
Start/End 01.09.2015 - 31.08.2019
Approved amount 1'185'027.00
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All Disciplines (2)

Discipline
Physical Chemistry
Inorganic Chemistry

Keywords (9)

hydrogen; metal sulfide; thin films; nanostructure; solar energy; molecular catalysts; atomic layer deposition; photoelectrochemical; water splitting

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
Our research focuses on the development of new inorganic materials for solar water splitting, composed of abundant elements, and synthesized with low energy intensity methods. The end goal is to enable the fabrication of devices that are cheap enough to make solar hydrogen cost competitive with fossil fuels.
Lay summary

The amount of solar power striking the Earth’s surface at any instant is >5000 times our present day energy needs. Although the growing population and an overall increase in the standard of living will in a similar fashion significantly increase our energy consumption, the extra power needed can be easily met with solar energy. Photoelectrochemical water splitting is a solar technology that taps this abundant resource and stores the energy in hydrogen fuel. The storage of solar energy in chemical bonds is analagous to natural photosynthesis, and just as plants can carry out their “dark reactions,” the energy that is stored in the hydrogen is available to us at any time, day or night.

The goal of our research is to prepare efficient materials as cheaply as possible, by using abundant elements and low energy intensity fabrication techniques, such that the cost of the hydrogen produced can be competitive with hydrogen from other sources, such as fossil fuels. The project encompasses several areas that can still benefit from fundamental research, such as novel combinations of inorganic photoabsorber materials for higher efficiency, general methods for improving the efficiency of oxides, and water splitting catalysis.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 06.08.2015

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Preface to Special Issue of ChemSusChem —Water Splitting: From Theory to Practice
Tilley S. David, Selloni Annabella, Hisatomi Takashi (2019), Preface to Special Issue of ChemSusChem —Water Splitting: From Theory to Practice, in ChemSusChem, 12(9), 1771-1774.
Tandem Cuprous Oxide/Silicon Microwire Hydrogen-Evolving Photocathode with Photovoltage Exceeding 1.3 V
Vijselaar Wouter, Kunturu Pramod Patil, Moehl Thomas, Tilley S. David, Huskens Jurriaan (2019), Tandem Cuprous Oxide/Silicon Microwire Hydrogen-Evolving Photocathode with Photovoltage Exceeding 1.3 V, in ACS Energy Letters, 2287-2294.
Resistance-based analysis of limiting interfaces in multilayer water splitting photocathodes by impedance spectroscopy
Moehl Thomas, Cui Wei, Wick-Joliat René, Tilley S. David (2019), Resistance-based analysis of limiting interfaces in multilayer water splitting photocathodes by impedance spectroscopy, in Sustainable Energy & Fuels, 3(8), 2067-2075.
Stable and tunable phosphonic acid dipole layer for band edge engineering of photoelectrochemical and photovoltaic heterojunction devices
Wick-Joliat René, Musso Tiziana, Prabhakar Rajiv Ramanujam, Löckinger Johannes, Siol Sebastian, Cui Wei, Sévery Laurent, Moehl Thomas, Suh Jihye, Hutter Jürg, Iannuzzi Marcella, Tilley S. David (2019), Stable and tunable phosphonic acid dipole layer for band edge engineering of photoelectrochemical and photovoltaic heterojunction devices, in Energy & Environmental Science, 12(6), 1901-1909.
Anodizing of Self-Passivating W x Ti 1– x Precursors for W x Ti 1– x O n Oxide Alloys with Tailored Stability
Siol Sebastian, Beall Casey, Ott Noémie, Döbeli Max, González-Castaño Miriam, Wick-Joliat René, Tilley S. David, Jeurgens Lars P.H., Schmutz Patrik, Cancellieri Claudia (2019), Anodizing of Self-Passivating W x Ti 1– x Precursors for W x Ti 1– x O n Oxide Alloys with Tailored Stability, in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, 11(9), 9510-9518.
Recent Advances and Emerging Trends in Photo-Electrochemical Solar Energy Conversion
Tilley S. David (2019), Recent Advances and Emerging Trends in Photo-Electrochemical Solar Energy Conversion, in Advanced Energy Materials, 9(2), 1802877-1802877.
Operando electrochemical study of charge carrier processes in water splitting photoanodes protected by atomic layer deposited TiO 2
Cui Wei, Moehl Thomas, Siol Sebastian, Tilley S. David (2019), Operando electrochemical study of charge carrier processes in water splitting photoanodes protected by atomic layer deposited TiO 2, in Sustainable Energy & Fuels, 1.
Strategies for enhancing the photocurrent, photovoltage, and stability of photoelectrodes for photoelectrochemical water splitting
Yang Wooseok, Prabhakar Rajiv Ramanujam, Tan Jeiwan, Tilley S. David, Moon Jooho (2019), Strategies for enhancing the photocurrent, photovoltage, and stability of photoelectrodes for photoelectrochemical water splitting, in Chemical Society Reviews, 1.
Design of Molecular Water Oxidation Catalysts Stabilized by Ultrathin Inorganic Overlayers—Is Active Site Protection Necessary?
Sévery Laurent, Siol Sebastian, Tilley S. (2018), Design of Molecular Water Oxidation Catalysts Stabilized by Ultrathin Inorganic Overlayers—Is Active Site Protection Necessary?, in Inorganics, 6(4), 105-105.
Plasmonic Substrates Do Not Promote Vibrational Energy Transfer at Solid–Liquid Interfaces
Kraack Jan Philip, Sévery Laurent, Tilley S. David, Hamm Peter (2018), Plasmonic Substrates Do Not Promote Vibrational Energy Transfer at Solid–Liquid Interfaces, in The Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, 9(1), 49-56.
New Earth-abundant Materials for Large-scale Solar Fuels Generation
Prabhakar Rajiv Ramanujam, Cui Wei, Tilley S. David (2018), New Earth-abundant Materials for Large-scale Solar Fuels Generation, in CHIMIA International Journal for Chemistry, 72(5), 333-337.
Extended Light Harvesting with Dual Cu 2 O-Based Photocathodes for High Efficiency Water Splitting
Niu Wenzhe, Moehl Thomas, Cui Wei, Wick-Joliat René, Zhu Liping, Tilley S. David (2018), Extended Light Harvesting with Dual Cu 2 O-Based Photocathodes for High Efficiency Water Splitting, in Advanced Energy Materials, 8(10), 1702323-1702323.
Operando deconvolution of photovoltaic and electrocatalytic performance in ALD TiO 2 protected water splitting photocathodes
Cui Wei, Niu Wenzhe, Wick-Joliat René, Moehl Thomas, Tilley S. David (2018), Operando deconvolution of photovoltaic and electrocatalytic performance in ALD TiO 2 protected water splitting photocathodes, in Chemical Science, 9(28), 6062-6067.
Investigation of (Leaky) ALD TiO 2 Protection Layers for Water-Splitting Photoelectrodes
Moehl Thomas, Suh Jihye, Sévery Laurent, Wick-Joliat René, Tilley S. David (2017), Investigation of (Leaky) ALD TiO 2 Protection Layers for Water-Splitting Photoelectrodes, in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, 9(50), 43614-43622.
Gradient Self-Doped CuBi 2 O 4 with Highly Improved Charge Separation Efficiency
Wang Fuxian, Septina Wilman, Chemseddine Abdelkrim, Abdi Fatwa F., Friedrich Dennis, Bogdanoff Peter, van de Krol Roel, Tilley S. David, Berglund Sean P. (2017), Gradient Self-Doped CuBi 2 O 4 with Highly Improved Charge Separation Efficiency, in Journal of the American Chemical Society, 139(42), 15094-15103.
Emerging Earth-abundant materials for scalable solar water splitting
Septina Wilman, Tilley S. David (2017), Emerging Earth-abundant materials for scalable solar water splitting, in Current Opinion in Electrochemistry, 2(1), 120-127.
Photocorrosion-resistant Sb 2 Se 3 photocathodes with earth abundant MoS x hydrogen evolution catalyst
Prabhakar Rajiv Ramanujam, Septina Wilman, Siol Sebastian, Moehl Thomas, Wick-Joliat René, Tilley S. David (2017), Photocorrosion-resistant Sb 2 Se 3 photocathodes with earth abundant MoS x hydrogen evolution catalyst, in Journal of Materials Chemistry A, 5(44), 23139-23145.
Stabilized Solar Hydrogen Production with CuO/CdS Heterojunction Thin Film Photocathodes
Septina Wilman, Prabhakar Rajiv Ramanujam, Wick René, Moehl Thomas, Tilley S. David (2017), Stabilized Solar Hydrogen Production with CuO/CdS Heterojunction Thin Film Photocathodes, in Chemistry of Materials, 1735.
Photovoltaic and Photoelectrochemical Solar Energy Conversion with Cu2O
Wick René, Tilley David (2015), Photovoltaic and Photoelectrochemical Solar Energy Conversion with Cu2O, in The Journal of Physical Chemistry C, 119(47), 26243.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Prof. Renato Zenobi/ETH Zurich Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
Prof. Roger Alberto/University of Zurich Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
Prof. Juerg Osterwalder/University of Zurich Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
Prof. Peter Hamm/University of Zurich, Switzerland Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
Prof. Roel van de Krol Germany (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
10th International Conference on Materials for Advanced Technologies Talk given at a conference Earth Abundant Materials for Solar Water Splitting 23.06.2019 Singapore, Singapore Tilley David;
10th International Conference on Hybrid and Organic Photovoltaics Talk given at a conference Earth Abundant Materials for Solar Water Splitting 28.05.2018 Benidorm, Spain Tilley David;
2018 Spring Materials Research Society Meeting Talk given at a conference Earth Abundant Materials for Solar Water Splitting 02.04.2018 Phoenix, United States of America Tilley David;
The 6th International Symposium on Solar Fuels and Solar Cells Talk given at a conference Earth Abundant Materials for Solar Water Splitting 17.10.2017 Dalian, China Tilley David;


Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
184737 Photoelectrochemical Synthesis of Hydrogen and Value-Added Chemicals for a Sustainable Chemical Industry 01.09.2019 Project funding (Div. I-III)
177036 Displacement Talbot Lithography for micro and nanopatterning 01.01.2018 R'EQUIP

Abstract

The aim of this proposal is to target those areas of research within the domain of photoelectrochemical (PEC) water splitting with inorganic thin films that still require fundamental investigation, and can be summed up as maximization of the photovoltage and stability of materials. In the first part, I propose methods for stabilization of some promising metal sulfide photoabsorbers for use as both photocathodes and photoanodes. In the second part, I propose a general method for engineering the band edge position of oxide semiconductors for use as photoanodes for water oxidation. Finally, I propose a new strategy for anchored molecular catalysts on semiconductor surfaces, with the aim of creating a general method for coupling homogeneous catalysts with photoelectrodes.
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