Floating perovskite-BiVO4 devices for scalable solar fuel production.

Ucoski, Geani M 
Pornrungroj, Chanon  ORCID logo  https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9886-8489
Uswachoke, Chawit 

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Photoelectrochemical (PEC) artificial leaves hold the potential to lower the costs of sustainable solar fuel production by integrating light harvesting and catalysis within one compact device. However, current deposition techniques limit their scalability1, whereas fragile and heavy bulk materials can affect their transport and deployment. Here we demonstrate the fabrication of lightweight artificial leaves by employing thin, flexible substrates and carbonaceous protection layers. Lead halide perovskite photocathodes deposited onto indium tin oxide-coated polyethylene terephthalate achieved an activity of 4,266 µmol H2 g-1 h-1 using a platinum catalyst, whereas photocathodes with a molecular Co catalyst for CO2 reduction attained a high CO:H2 selectivity of 7.2 under lower (0.1 sun) irradiation. The corresponding lightweight perovskite-BiVO4 PEC devices showed unassisted solar-to-fuel efficiencies of 0.58% (H2) and 0.053% (CO), respectively. Their potential for scalability is demonstrated by 100 cm2 stand-alone artificial leaves, which sustained a comparable performance and stability (of approximately 24 h) to their 1.7 cm2 counterparts. Bubbles formed under operation further enabled 30-100 mg cm-2 devices to float, while lightweight reactors facilitated gas collection during outdoor testing on a river. This leaf-like PEC device bridges the gulf in weight between traditional solar fuel approaches, showcasing activities per gram comparable to those of photocatalytic suspensions and plant leaves. The presented lightweight, floating systems may enable open-water applications, thus avoiding competition with land use.

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3403 Macromolecular and Materials Chemistry, 34 Chemical Sciences, 3406 Physical Chemistry, 40 Engineering, 4016 Materials Engineering, 7 Affordable and Clean Energy, 11 Sustainable Cities and Communities
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Springer Science and Business Media LLC
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/L015978/1)
European Research Council (682833)
European Commission Horizon 2020 (H2020) Marie Sk?odowska-Curie actions (793996)
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/S022953/1)
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/N509620/1)
European Research Council (716471)
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (1948662)
EPSRC (1948662)
European Commission Horizon 2020 (H2020) ERC (882929)
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