The design of efficient and low cost photoanodes for photoelectrochemical water splitting

​The increasing demand of energy, depletion of fossil energy and severe environmental issues drive the exploitation of alternative renewable energy sources. Among all of the available renewable energy resources, solar energy is a promising candidate due to its inherent properties of earth abundance, clean, and renewability. Converting solar energy into clean fuels such as hydrogen via photoelectrochemical (PEC) water splitting can be effective to address the above issues. Currently, the majority of hydrogen production is derived from fossil fuels, which is energy intensive and will generate greenhouse gases such as CO2. During PEC water splitting, the only energy input is sunlight and the reactant is water, which can achieve zero-emission production of hydrogen. The only product for hydrogen combustion is water, which is also environmentally-friendly. To achieve efficient PEC water splitting, more attention should be paid on the photoanode because of the involved thermodynamic and kinetic challenges. Metal oxides such as WO3, BiVO4, and Fe2O3 are earth-abundant and stable in aqeous solutions. However, severe charge recombination causes low PEC performance. Strategies should be explored to improve the performance of these kinds of photoanodes toward efficient PEC water splitting.

​Dr Songcan Wang received his B.Eng. (2011) and M.Eng. (2014) from Central South University (CSU), China. He is a current PhD student under the supervision of Prof. Lianzhou Wang at School of Chemical Engineering, The University of Queensland (UQ), Australia. His research interests are mainly focused on the design and development of high performance semiconductors for photocatalytic and photoelectrochemical energy conversion.

Key Publications

  1. S. Wang, P. Chen, J. H. Yun, Y. Hu and L. Wang, An Electrochemically Treated BiVO4 Photoanode for Efficient Photoelectrochemical Water Splitting, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2017, 56, 8500-8504.
  2. Y. Yang+, S. Wang+, Y. Li, J. Wang and L. Wang, Strategies for Efficient Solar Water Splitting Using Carbon Nitride, Chem. Asian J., 2017, 12, 1421-1434.
  3. S. Wang, J. H. Yun and L. Wang, Nanostructured Semiconductors for Bifunctional Photocatalytic and Photoelectrochemical Energy Conversion, Semicond. Semimetals, 2017, 97, 315-347.
  4. S. Wang, J. H. Yun, B. Luo, T. Butburee, P. Peerakiatkhajohn, S. Thaweesak, M. Xiao and L. Wang, Recent Progress on Visible Light Responsive Heterojunctions for Photocatalytic Applications, J. Mater. Sci. Technol., 2017, 33, 1-22.
  5. S. Wang, H. Chen, G. Gao, T. Butburee, M. Lyu, S. Thaweesak, J. H. Yun, A. Du, G. Liu and L. Wang, Synergistic crystal facet engineering and structural control of WO3 films exhibiting unprecedented photoelectrochemical performance, Nano Energy, 2016, 24, 94-102.