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Hybrid photothermal–photocatalyst sheets for solar-driven overall water splitting coupled to water purification

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jats:titleAbstract</jats:title>jats:pPhotocatalytic water splitting converts sunlight directly into storable hydrogen, but commonly involves the use of pure water and land for plant installation while generating unusable waste heat. Here we report a hybrid device consisting of a photocatalyst (PC) and a solar vapour generator (SVG) for simultaneous overall water splitting and water purification from open water sources. Specifically, an ultraviolet light-absorbing RhCrOjats:subjats:italicx</jats:italic></jats:sub>–Al:SrTiOjats:sub3</jats:sub> PC is deposited on top of a floating, visible and infrared light-absorbing porous carbon SVG, which produces green fuel with a solar-to-hydrogen efficiency of 0.13 ± 0.03% and 0.95 kg mjats:sup−2</jats:sup> hjats:sup−1</jats:sup> of water vapour as the feed for the PC and collectable purified water. This integrated system maintains operational stability in seawater and other aqueous waste streams for over 154 h due to the isolation of the PC from contaminants in the liquid feedstock. This work provides a new concept for developing an off-grid energy production/storage solution and is a first step towards alleviating both energy and water supply challenges.</jats:p>


Acknowledgements: This work was supported by the Cambridge Trust (Cambridge Thai Foundation Award to C.P. and HRH The Prince of Wales Commonwealth Scholarship to S.B.), the Petronas Education Sponsorship Programme for Postgraduate Studies (to A.B.M.A.), the European Commission for Horizon 2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual European Fellowships (GAN 793996 to Q.W. and GAN 839763 to M.R.), a Trinity-Henry Barlow Scholarship (to C.P.), the Cambridge Philosophical Society (to C.P.), the JST Fusion Oriented Research for disruptive Science and Technology Program (GAN JPMJFR213D to Q.W.), the Winton Programme for the Physics of Sustainability and St John’s College (Title A Research Fellowship to V.A.), and a European Research Council Consolidator (MatEnSAP, GAN 682833 to E.R.) and Proof of Concept Grant (SolReGen to E.R.). We thank H. Greer (University of Cambridge) for assistance with electron microscopy, S. Rodriguez Jimenez for the design of the top-down glass reactor, S. Dey for help with the furnace, C. Pichler for supplying turbid waste substrate, and E. Lam and M. Stanton (University of Cambridge) for useful feedback on the manuscript.


4004 Chemical Engineering, 40 Engineering, 34 Chemical Sciences, 3406 Physical Chemistry, 7 Affordable and Clean Energy

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Nature Water

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Springer Science and Business Media LLC
European Research Council (682833)
European Commission Horizon 2020 (H2020) Marie Sk?odowska-Curie actions (793996)
European Commission Horizon 2020 (H2020) Marie Sk?odowska-Curie actions (839763)