Efficient Earth-abundant heterogeneous electrocatalysts for photoelectrochemical water splitting

(Nanowerk News) Developing earth-abundant heterogeneous electrocatalysts with high catalytic activity and stability to replace noble metal catalysts for both hydrogen evolution reactions (HERs) and oxygen evolution reactions (OERs) through photoelectrochemical (PEC) system is of great importance for achieving highly efficient water splitting.
Although several recent excellent articles have reviewed the research progress in advanced HERs and OERs catalysts for electrochemical water splitting, comprehensive reviews about earth-abundant heterogeneous electrocatalysts for PEC water splitting are still missing.
Xinliang Feng, Technische Universität Dresden, Germany and colleagues have summarized the recent progress in the design, synthesis, and catalytic performance evaluation of earth-abundant heterogeneous electrocatalysts for the application of PEC water splitting (Small Methods, "Recent Advances in Earth-Abundant Heterogeneous Electrocatalysts for Photoelectrochemical Water Splitting").
a,b) Schematic illustration of PEC water splitting using a photoanode and a photocathode. c–e) Schematic illustration of semiconductors with cocatalysts in various configurations, including semiconductor/reduction-cocatalyst structure, semiconductor/oxidation-cocatalyst structure, and reduction-cocatalyst/ semiconductor/ oxidation-cocatalyst structure. (© Royal Society of Chemistry)
The researchers have discussed the earth-abundant electrocatalysts for water splitting, represented by the TMDs-based nanomaterials, transition metal carbides/phosphatides, and N-doped graphene for PEC-HERs, the mixed transition metal oxides, TMDs-based nanomaterials, and transition-metals and/or heteroatom-doped carbon catalysts for PEC-OERs.
Particular attention is paid to the strategies of catalytic performance improvement and composition/structure–catalytic activity relationships.
Furthermore, the main challenges and future prospects for further development of earth-abundant heterogeneous electrocatalysts for PEC water splitting are discussed.
This work provides an important overview for design of earth-abundant heterogeneous electrocatalysts and development of new methods capable of producing favorable interfaces between light absorbers and electrocatalysts, which may be key steps toward realizing integrated PEC water splitting systems.
Source: Technische Universität Dresden