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Projects: Projects for Investigator
Reference Number EP/R012164/2
Title Solar Optofluidics (SOLO): Water Splitting beyond the 1.23 eV Thermodynamic Constraints
Status Completed
Energy Categories Renewable Energy Sources(Solar Energy, Photovoltaics) 50%;
Hydrogen and Fuel Cells(Hydrogen, Hydrogen production) 50%;
Research Types Basic and strategic applied research 100%
Science and Technology Fields PHYSICAL SCIENCES AND MATHEMATICS (Physics) 75%;
ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY (Electrical and Electronic Engineering) 25%;
UKERC Cross Cutting Characterisation Not Cross-cutting 100%
Principal Investigator Dr J Xuan
No email address given
School of Engineering and Physical Sciences
Heriot-Watt University
Award Type Standard
Funding Source EPSRC
Start Date 01 September 2018
End Date 14 January 2020
Duration 17 months
Total Grant Value £83,676
Industrial Sectors Energy
Region Scotland
Programme NC : Engineering, NC : Physical Sciences
Investigators Principal Investigator Dr J Xuan , School of Engineering and Physical Sciences, Heriot-Watt University (100.000%)
  Industrial Collaborator Project Contact , East China University of Science and Technology (ECUST) (0.000%)
Project Contact , Scottish Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association (SHFCA) (0.000%)
Project Contact , Xyratex Technology Limited (0.000%)
Web Site
Abstract Renewable hydrogen will play an important role in the UK's energy future for low carbon transport, heating, grid-scale energy storage and CO2 capture/utilisation. The UK's hydrogen demand would reach 143~860 TWh/year by 2050, while the current production capacity is only 27 TWh/year. Conversion of abundant sunlight to produce H2 is one of attractive approach to meet the demand. Among various solar H2 technology, photoelectrochemical (PEC) water splitting has gained much attention due to its operational flexibility, reduced electron-hole recombination and natural separation of H2 and O2 in two electrodes.Learning from the historic trajectory of solar PV commercialisation, the key to deliver market acceptable PEC hydrogen production will be (1) enabling the use of much cheaper materials (such as silicon) and (2) significantly increasing the STF efficiency to at least 20%.SOLO aims to remove the 1.23 eV thermodynamic restraints from the PEC water splitting system, by developing a pH-differential strategy to alter the individual equilibrium potentials of anodic (OER) and cathodic (HER) half reactions, thus reducing the energy barrier. A novel membraneless optofluidic platform is proposed to accommodate the pH-differential design, where acid and alkaline electrolyte will be able to co-exist in a single cell. Promising low bandgap materials will be demonstrated in the SOLO platform to achieve cost effectiveness and high STF efficiency.
Publications (none)
Final Report (none)
Added to Database 15/02/19