Research at the newly formed Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis (JCAP) is focused on producing a scalable, efficient solar fuel generation system using earth-abundant semiconductors and catalysts. The organization and vision of JCAP will be discussed, including a high-throughput combinatorial effort to discover new materials useful for fuel-forming reactions, direct research into promising light absorbers and reduction and oxidation catalysts, approaches for combining the system into an integrated membrane, and an emphasis on understanding the system issues present from the nanoscale to a large-area prototype device. A proof-of-concept membrane structure will be presented which demonstrates the viability of incorporating semiconductor wire arrays into a transparent, ion-exchanging medium that can simultaneously separate the gaseous products and electrically connect the photoanode and photocathode. Additionally, the feasibility of operating a solar water-splitting system using a water vapor feedstock to avoid the disadvantages of bubble formation is demonstrated through experimentation with a proton-exchange-membrane-based electrolyzer.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Chemical Engineering(all)