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Solar Powered Hydrogen Generation: Systems, Materials and Performance. By Dr. Sarika Phadke- Kelkar National Chemical Laboratory 24-March-2011. Outline. Energy Crisis Alternative Fuels Hydrogen as fuel Hydrogen production from water using solar energy

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By Dr. Sarika Phadke- Kelkar National Chemical Laboratory 24-March-2011


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    1. Solar Powered Hydrogen Generation: • Systems, Materials and Performance By Dr. Sarika Phadke-Kelkar National Chemical Laboratory 24-March-2011

    2. Outline • Energy Crisis • Alternative Fuels • Hydrogen as fuel • Hydrogen production from water using solar energy • Photo-chemical decomposition of water • Photo-electro-chemical water splitting • Materials: Selection criteria, important candidates • Current Status & Future Trend

    3. Historical and Projected Variations in Earth’s Surface Temperature IPCC Reports Years

    4. Energy Demand in present and near future * Present : 12.8 TW 2050년 : 28-35 TW * Needs at least 16 TW Bio : 2 TW Wind : 2 TW Atomic : 8 TW (8000 power plant) Fossil : 2 TW * Solar: 160,000 TW 2010 2020

    5. Hydrogen • Hydrogen, a gas, will play an important role in developing sustainable transportation in the United States, because in the future it may be produced in virtually unlimited quantities using renewable resources. • Hydrogen and oxygen from air fed into a proton exchange membrane fuel cell produce enough electricity to power an electric automobile, without producing harmful emissions. The only byproduct of a hydrogen fuel cell is water. • Currently there are no original equipment manufacturer vehicles available for sale to the general public. Experts estimate that in approximately 10-20 years hydrogen vehicles, and the infrastructure to support them, will start to make an impact.

    6. Applications of Hydrogen Fuel

    7. What is a Fuel Cell? • A Fuel Cell is an electrochemical device that combines hydrogen and oxygen to produce electricity, with water and heat as its by-product.

    8. How can Fuel Cell technology be used? • Transportation • All major automakers are working to commercialize a fuel cell car • Automakers and experts speculate that a fuel cell vehicle will be commercialized by 2010 • 50 fuel cell buses are currently in use in North and South America, Europe, Asia and Australia • Trains, planes, boats, scooters, forklifts and even bicycles are utilizing fuel cell technology as well

    9. How can Fuel Cell technology be used? • Stationary Power Stations • Over 2,500 fuel cell systems have been installed all over the world in hospitals, nursing homes, hotels, office buildings, schools and utility power plants • Most of these systems are either connected to the electric grid to provide supplemental power and backup assurance or as a grid-independent generator for locations that are inaccessible by power lines

    10. How can Fuel Cell technology be used? • Telecommunications • Due to computers, the Internet and sophisticated communication networks there is a need for an incredibly reliable power source • Fuel Cells have been proven to be 99.999% reliable

    11. How can Fuel Cell technology be used? • Micro Power • Consumer electronics could gain drastically longer battery power with Fuel Cell technology • Cell phones can be powered for 30 days without recharging • Laptops can be powered for 20 hours without recharging

    12. Hydrogen Production • The biggest challenge regarding hydrogen production is the cost • Reducing the cost of hydrogen production so as to compete in the transportation sector with conventional fuels on a per-mile basis is a significant hurdle to Fuel Cell’s success in the commercial marketplace

    13. Hydrogen Production • There are three general categories of Hydrogen production • Thermal Processes • Electrolyte Processes • PhotocatalyticProcesses

    14. Hydrogen Production • PhotocatalyticProcesses • Uses light energy to split water into hydrogen and oxygen • These processes are in the very early stages of research but offer the possibility of hydrogen production which is cost effective and has a low environmental impact • Two types: a) Photochemical b) Photo-electro-chemical

    15. Photo-catalytic water splitting TCO with ohmic contact 1. Direct Water Splitting: 2. Water Splitting using photo-electrochemical cell (PEC): p n H2 e- e- H+/H2 h2 h O2 h+ h1 H2O/O2 h+

    16. Experimental setup Direct Water Splitting: PEC water splitting: Potentiostat

    17. Phto-electrochemistry of water decomposition Metal N-type semiconductor P-type semiconductor N-type semiconductor Metal P-type semiconductor Basic principle

    18. Reaction Mechanism = 1.23 eV Electrochemical decomposition of water is possible when EMF of cell ≥ 1.23 V 2hν→ 2e′ + 2h+ (1) 2h+ + H2O(liquid) → 1/2O2(gas) + 2H+ (2) 2H+ + 2e′ → H2(gas) (3) Overall Reaction 2hν + H2O(liquid) → 1/2O2(gas) + H2(gas)

    19. Band model representation A C B D

    20. Materials Aspects of PEC • Two main functions of photoelectrodes • Optical function: maximum absorption of solar energy • Catalytic function: water decomposition • Desired properties of photoelectrodes • Bandgap • Flatband potential • Schottky barrier • Electrical resistance • Helmholtz potential • Corrosion resistance • Microstructure

    21. Band structure of photoelectrode material

    22. CB CB H+/H2 CB VB E H2O/O2 VB SC VB Insulators Metals WHY SEMICONDUCTOR ? Metals No band gap Only reduction or oxidation Depends on the band position Insulators High band gap High energy requirement 26

    23. Concepts –Why semiconductors are chosen as photo-catalysts? For conventional redox reactions, one is interested in either reduction or oxidation of a substrate. For example consider that one were interested in the oxidation of Fe2+ ions to Fe 3+ ions then the oxidizing agent that can carry out this oxidation is chosen from the relative potentials of the oxidizing agent with respect to the redox potential of Fe2+/Fe3+ redox couple. The oxidizing agent chosen should have more positive potential with respect to Fe3+/Fe2+ couple so as to affect the oxidation, while the oxidizing agent undergoes reduction spontaneously. This situation throws open a number of possible oxidizing agents from which one of them can be easily chosen. 27

    24. Bandgap

    25. Flatband potential

    26. Other important parameters • Electrical Conductivity • Helmholtz Potential Barrier • Corrosion Resistance: • Electrochemical corrosion resistance • Photocorrosion resistance • Dissolution

    27. Criterion for PE corrosion stability Photo anode Free enthalpy of oxidation reaction Photo cathode Free enthalpy of reduction reaction

    28. What modifications? • various conceptual principles have been incorporated into typical TiO2 system so as to make this system responsive to longer wavelength radiations. These efforts can be classified as follows: • Dye sensitization • Surface modification of the semiconductor to improve the stability • Multi layer systems (coupled semiconductors) • Doping of wide band gap semiconductors like TiO2 by nitrogen, carbon and Sulphur • New semiconductors with metal 3d valence band instead of Oxide 2p contribution • Sensitization by doping. • All these attempts can be understood in terms of some kind sensitization and hence the route of charge transfer has been extended and hence the efficiency could not be increased considerably. In spite of these options being elucidated, success appears to beeluding the researchers. 33

    29. Conditions to be satisfied? • The band edges of the electrode must overlap with the acceptor and donor states of water decomposition reaction, thus necessitating that the electrodes should at least have a band gap of 1.23 V, the reversible thermodynamic decomposition potential of water. This situation necessarily means that appropriate semiconductors alone are acceptable as electrode materials for water • The charge transfer from the surface of the semiconductor must be fast enough to prevent photo corrosion and shift of the band edges resulting in loss of photon energy. 34

    30. ENGINEERING THE SEMICONDUCTOR ELECTRONIC STRUCTURES • without deterioration of the stability • should increase charge transfer processes at the interface • should improvements in the efficiency 35

    31. Positions of bands of semiconductors relative to the standard potentials of several redox couples 36

    32. THE AVAILABLE OPPORTUNITIES • Identifying and designing new semiconductor materials with considerable conversion efficiency and stability • Constructing multilayer systems or using sensitizing dyes - increase absorption of solar radiation • Formulating multi-junction systems or coupled systems - optimize and utilize the possible regions of solar radiation • Developing nanosize systems - efficiently dissociate water 37

    33. ADVANTAGES OF SEMICONDUCTOR NANOPARTICLES • high surface area • morphology • presence of surface states • wide band gap • position of the VB & CB edge eV CdS – appropriate choice for the hydrogen production 38

    34. The opportunities • The opportunities that are obviously available as such now include the following: • Identifying and designing new semiconductor materials with considerable conversion efficiency and stability • Constructing multilayer systems or using sensitizing dyes so as to increase absorption of solar radiation. • Formulating multi-junction systems or coupled systems so as to optimize and utilize the possible regions of solar radiation. • Developing catalytic systems which can efficiently dissociate water. 39

    35. Opportunities evolved • Deposition techniques have been considerably perfected and hence can be exploited in various other applications like in thin film technology especially for various devices and sensory applications. • The knowledge of the defect chemistry has been considerably improved and developed. • Optical collectors, mirrors and all optical analysis capability have increased which can be exploited in many other future optical devices. • The understanding of the electronic structure of materials has been advanced and this has helped to our background in materials chemistry. • Many electrodes have been developed, which can be a useful for all other kinds of electrochemical devices. 40

    36. Limited success – Why? The main reasons for this limited success in all these directions are due to: • The electronic structure of the semiconductor controls the reaction and engineering these electronic structures without deterioration of the stability of the resulting system appears to be a difficult proposition. • The most obvious thermodynamic barriers to the reaction and the thermodynamic balances that can be achieved in these processes give little scope for remarkable improvements in the efficiency of the systems as they have been conceived and operated. Totally new formulations which can still satisfy the existing thermodynamic barriers have to be devised. • The charge transfer processes at the interface, even though a well studied subject in electrochemistry has to be understood more explicitly, in terms of interfacial energetics as well as kinetics. Till such an explicit knowledge is available, designing systems will have to be based on trial and error rather than based on sound logical scientific reasoning. 41

    37. Nanocrystalline (mainly oxides like TiO2, ZnO, SnO and Nb2O5 or chalcogenides like CdSe) mesoscopic semiconductor materials with high internal surface area If a dye were to be adsorbed as a monolayer, enough can be retained on a given area of the electrode so as to absorb the entire incident light. • Since the particle sizes involved are small, there is no significant local electric field and hence the photo-response is mainly contributed by the charge transfer with the redox couple. • Two factors essentially contribute to the photo-voltage observed, namely, the contact between the nano crystalline oxide and the back contact of these materials as well as the Fermi level shift of the semiconductor as a result of electron injection from the semiconductor. 42

    38. Another aspect of thee nano crystalline state is the alteration of the band gap to larger values as compared to the bulk material which may facilitate both the oxidation/reduction reactions that cannot normally proceed on bulk semiconductors. • The response of a single crystal anatase can be compared with that of the meso-porous TiO2 film sensitized by ruthenium complex (cis RuL2 (SCN)2, where L is 2-2’bipyridyl-4-4’dicarboxlate). • The incident photon to current conversion efficiency (IPCE) is only 0.13% at 530 nm ( the absorption maximum for the sensitizer) for the single crystal electrode while in the nano crystalline state the value is 88% showing nearly 600-700 times higher value. 43

    39. This increase is due to better light harvesting capacity of the dye sensitized nano crystalline material but also due to mesoscpic film texture favouring photo-generation and collection of charge carriers . • It is clear therefore that the nano crystalline state in combination with suitable sensitization is one another alternative which is worth investigating. 44

    40. The second option is to promote water splitting in the visible range using Tandem ells. In this a thin film of a nanocrystalline WO3 or Fe2O3 may serve as top electrode absorbing blue part of the solar spectrum. The positive holes generated oxidize water to oxygen • 4h+ + 2H2O --- O2 + 4 H+ • The electrons in the conduction band are fed to the second photo system consisting of the dye sensitized nano crystalline TiO2 and since this is placed below the top layer it absorbs the green or red part of the solar spectrum that is transmitted through the top electrode. The photo voltage generated in the second photo system favours hydrogen generation by the reaction • 4H+ + 4e-­­­­­ --- 2H2 • The overall reaction is the splitting of water utilizing visible light. The situation is similar to what is obtained in photosynthesis 45

    41. Dye sensitized solid hetero-junctions and extremely thin absorber solar cells have also been designed with light absorber and charge transport material being selected independently so as to optimize solar energy harvesting and high photovoltaic output. However, the conversion efficiencies of these configurations have not been remarkably high. • Soft junctions, especially organic solar cells, based on interpenetrating polymer networks, polymer/fullerene blends, halogen doped organic crystals and a variety of conducting polymers have been examined. Though the conversion efficiency of incident photons is high, the performance of the cell declined rapidly. Long term stability will be a stumbling block for large scale application of polymer solar cells. 46

    42. New Opportunities • New semi-conducting materials with conversion efficiencies and stability have been identified. These are not only simple oxides, sulphides but also multi-component oxides based on perovskites and spinels. • Multilayer configurations have been proposed for absorption of different wavelength regions. In these systems the control of the thickness of each layer has been mainly focused on. 47

    43. New Opportunities • Sensitization by dyes and other anchored molecular species has been suggested as an alternative to extend the wavelength region of absorption. • The coupled systems, thus giving rise to multi-junctions is another approach which is being pursued in recent times with some success • Activation of semiconductors by suitable catalysts for water decomposition has always fascinated scientists and this has resulted in various metal or metal oxide (catalysts) loaded semi conductors being used as photo-anodes 48

    44. New opportunities (Contd) • Recently a combinatorial electrochemical synthesis and characterization route has been considered for developing tungsten based mixed metal oxides and this has thrown open yet another opportunity to quickly screen and evaluate the performances of a variety of systems and to evolve suitable composition-function relationships which can be used to predict appropriate compositions for the desired manifestations of the functions. • It has been shown that each of these concepts, though has its own merits and innovations, has not yielded the desired levels of efficiency. The main reason for this failure appears to be that it is still not yet possible to modulate the electronic structure of the semiconductor in the required directions as well as control the electron transfer process in the desired direction. 49

    45. PREPARATION OF CdS NANOPARTICLES 1 g of Zeolite (HY, H, HZSM-5) 1 M Cd(NO3)2 , stirred for 24 h, washed with water Cd / Zeolite 1 M Na2S solution, stirred for 12 h, washed with water CdS / Zeolite 48 % HF, washed with water CdS Nanoparticles 50