Welcoming Remarks | AIChE

Welcoming Remarks

Renewable sources of energy are increasingly needed and solar production of hydrogen fuel from water offers significant potential to contribute to these needs if new photocatalyst materials and/or more efficient photocatalytic systems can be identified for visible-light-driven water photoelectrolysis. A variety of materials have been synthesized and tested for use as electrocatalysts. Among others, transition metal oxides are considered as one of the most promising electrocatalysts as they are earth abundant, eco-friendly, and stable in aqueous solution. Particularly, Bismuth Vanadate (BiVO4) has recently been identified as an inexpensive, promising photoanode for use in water-splitting photoelectrochemical cells (PECs). However, pristine BiVO4 exhibits poor electron-hole separation and sluggish water-oxidation kinetics, limiting its solar energy conversion efficiency. Significant research efforts have been made to enhance the PEC performance of BiVO4 through doping with metal/nonmetal elements and loading of oxygen evolution co-catalysts. However, the design and successful realization of commercially viable BiVO4-based photoanodes are still rather elusive. This talk will highlight the strong effects of crystal phase and doping on the photocatalytic performance of BiVO4 that have been found from combined first-principles and experimental studies. The improved understanding offers important guidance for the rational design of metal oxide-based photocatalysts.