Energy

The main scope of the Energy Research Area is a thorough study of novel nanostructured materials based on Si nanocomposites (Si nanopillars – ZnO, TiO2; PSi-TiO2), 1D and 2D carbon-based nanomaterials (TiO2/graphene nanolaminates, α-Fe2O3/MWCNTs) and other 2D materials, such as NbC, Mo2C, TiC, NbN, Mo2N, TiN for photoelectrochemical (PEC) and electrical water splitting. Novel composites are expected to demonstrate new fundamental properties which will enhance (photo)catalytic efficiency and anti-corrosion properties of fabricated photoelectrodes.
Thus, water splitting, artificial photosynthesis, hydrogen evolution reactions, in other words the generation of chemical fuels from water and sunlight is one of the key scientific challenges for the 21st century. Hydrogen technologies are among the key innovations which Europe will have to rely on in order to reach its target of a low carbon economy. Hydrogen is an energy carrier like electricity, but with the unequalled advantage of being storable in various forms and transportable in various ways. The most challenging task in photocatalytic water splitting is to develop efficient photocatalysts which are capable of absorbing sunlight in order to split water (Schematic representation of band energies, charge transfer and water splitting processes in TiO2/SiNP for n- and p-type Si are shown in the picture below).

Results:

  • Si nanopillars covered with TiO2 film in the process of Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD) possess enhanced PEC properties for solar water splitting and good stability
  • Graphene-ZnO multilayers fabricated by ALD and Chemical Vapour Deposition (CVD) methods could be applied for efficient photoelectrode material
  • 2D carbides materials (NbC) have shown excellent anti-corrosive and catalytic properties for hydrogen production.

Projects

PRELUDIUM 12 “Novel nanocomposites based on nanosilicon/metal oxide (TiO2, ZnO) for efficient hydrogen production by photoelectrochemical water splitting”

Publications

Silicon/TiO2 core-shell nanopillar photoanodes for enhanced photoelectrochemical water oxidation

International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, 2017, doi.org/10.1016/j.ijhydene.2017.10.033

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