Research Projects Light for Hydrogen

The main goal of the research group “Light for Hydrogen” is to use specifically designed nanostructures for increasing the light-to-hydrogen efficiency of photocatalytic materials. If we can generate hydrogen in an environmentally friendly manner, hydrogen will be the most important energy carrier of the future.

Photocatalytic water splitting, inspired by photosynthesis, provides a highly interesting possibility for the generation of hydrogen by using solar energy, which would open up many possibilities for a so-called hydrogen economy. The basic principle of water splitting is very simple: the photocatalyst (as a suspension or attached to an electrode) will be immersed in water and irradiated with sunlight upon the formation of hydrogen gas. For enhanced hydrogen formation, a small bias could be applied.

The goal of the research group Light for Hydrogen (Maijenburg) is to enhance the light-to-hydrogen efficiency within the following sub-projects:

1) Design of Metal Organic Framework (MOF) nanostructures via electrochemical oxidation, and their modification for photocatalytic water splitting,

2) Photocatalytic nanostructures made via templated electrodeposition in i.e. anodized aluminium oxide (AAO) templates,

3) Photocatalytic nanofibers made by electrospinning via sol-gel chemistry,

4) Investigation of the physical and chemical suitability of different types of nanostructures for photocatalytic water splitting by i.e. time-resolved spectroscopy (TRS) and surface photovoltage spectroscopy (SPS),

5) Combination of different photocatalytic nanostructures and materials for the design of photocatalytic cells for improved photoelectrochemical and autonomous water splitting in e.g. a tandem cell or Z-scheme configuration.

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