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A bismuth vanadate–cuprous oxide tandem cell for overall solar water splitting


Bornoz, Pauline; Abdi, Fatwa F; Tilley, S David; Dam, Bernard; van de Krol, Roel; Grätzel, Michael; Sivula, Kevin (2014). A bismuth vanadate–cuprous oxide tandem cell for overall solar water splitting. Journal of Physical Chemistry C, 118(30):16959-16966.

Abstract

Through examination of the optoelectronic and photoelectrochemical properties of BiVO4 and Cu2O photoelectrodes, we evaluate the feasibility of a BiVO4/Cu2O photoanode/photocathode tandem cell for overall unassisted solar water splitting. Using state-of-the-art photoelectrodes we identify current-matching conditions by altering the photoanode active layer thickness. By further employing water oxidation and reduction catalysts (Co-Pi and RuOx, respectively) together with an operating point analysis, we show that an unassisted solar photocurrent density on the order of 1 mA cm–2 is possible in a tandem cell and moreover gain insight into routes for improvement. Finally, we demonstrate the unassisted 2-electrode operation of the tandem cell. Photocurrents corresponding to ca. 0.5% solar-to-hydrogen conversion efficiency were found to decay over the course of minutes because of the detachment of the Co-Pi catalyst. This aspect provides a fundamental challenge to the stable operation of the tandem cell with the currently employed catalysts.

Abstract

Through examination of the optoelectronic and photoelectrochemical properties of BiVO4 and Cu2O photoelectrodes, we evaluate the feasibility of a BiVO4/Cu2O photoanode/photocathode tandem cell for overall unassisted solar water splitting. Using state-of-the-art photoelectrodes we identify current-matching conditions by altering the photoanode active layer thickness. By further employing water oxidation and reduction catalysts (Co-Pi and RuOx, respectively) together with an operating point analysis, we show that an unassisted solar photocurrent density on the order of 1 mA cm–2 is possible in a tandem cell and moreover gain insight into routes for improvement. Finally, we demonstrate the unassisted 2-electrode operation of the tandem cell. Photocurrents corresponding to ca. 0.5% solar-to-hydrogen conversion efficiency were found to decay over the course of minutes because of the detachment of the Co-Pi catalyst. This aspect provides a fundamental challenge to the stable operation of the tandem cell with the currently employed catalysts.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Department of Chemistry
Dewey Decimal Classification:540 Chemistry
Language:English
Date:2014
Deposited On:27 May 2015 15:33
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 19:15
Publisher:American Chemical Society (ACS)
ISSN:1932-7447
Additional Information:This article is part of the Michael Grätzel Festschrift special issue.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1021/jp500441h

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