Energy harvesting by Photoelectrochemical cells
Solar energy can be transformed into chemical energy by means of photocatalytic reactions and photoelectrochemical cells (PEC), which can be call artificial photosynthesis. In this way, semiconductor materials have demonstrated their ability to use it as photocatalyst and split water into separated O2 and H2 gases, or to reduce CO2. In this lab, we designed and prepare different semiconductors with specific optical and electronic properties and use it to build hybrid and smart materials. For that, we carry out inorganic (metal oxides) and organic (conjugated organic polymers with high-conductivity) synthesis.
To test this materials, we use different set-ups: a conventional and a tandem cell. A conventional PEC consists of two indispensable parts: efficient light collectors as working electrodes (anode, figure a, or cathode, figure b, compartment), and a metal as counter electrode. A promising approach is the combination of stable and efficient materials in a tandem photoelectrochemical device (figure c). Our photoelectrochemistry line research is focused on the designed and use of these smarts and hybrid materials to be used as photoelectrodes (photoanodes and photocathodes) in water splitting and CO2 reduction reactions.