Solar thermochemical water splitting: Advances in materials and methods

Conference Dates

September 4-8, 2016


Photoelectrochemical (PEC) water splitting, termed artificial photosynthesis, converts solar energy into hydrogen by harvesting a narrow spectrum of visible light using photovoltaics integrated with water-splitting electrocatalysts. While conceptually attractive, critical materials issues currently challenge technology development(1) and economic viability(2). Despite decades of active research, this approach has not been demonstrated at power levels above a few watts, or for more than a few days of operation.

High-temperature solar thermochemical (STCH) water splitting is an alternative approach that converts solar energy into hydrogen by using the deceptively simple metal oxide-based thermochemical cycle presented in figure 1. The STCH process requires very high temperatures, achieved by collecting and concentrating solar energy. Unlike PEC, two-step metal oxide water-splitting cycles have been demonstrated at the 100kW scale(3), and continuous operation at even higher power levels is nearing pre-commercial demonstration (HYDROSOL-3D). Nonetheless STCH, like PEC, faces critical materials issues that must be addressed for this technology to achieve commercial success.

Please click Additional Files below to see the full abstract.

This document is currently not available here.