Construction of a high-performance photocatalytic fuel cell (PFC) based on plasmonic silver modified Cr-BiOCl nanosheets for simultaneous electricity production and pollutant removal†
The development of high-performance photocatalytic fuel cells (PFCs) is seriously hampered by poor light utilization rates and low charge carrier transfer efficiency. Herein, we have experimentally obtained plasmonic Ag modified Cr-BiOCl (Cr-BOC/Ag) with high visible light photocatalytic activity and provided direct evidence for the substantially enhanced catalytic activity in metal–semiconductor photocatalysts. The experimental results revealed that the Cr doping and Ag modification could not only extend the photo absorption of BiOCl from the UV to the visible light region but could also greatly increase the generation and transfer rate of charge carriers because of its narrowed band gap and the localized surface plasmon resonance (LSPR) effect of metallic Ag. Under visible light irradiation, the Cr-BOC/Ag showed a remarkable enhancement in the PFC performance when the optimum contents of Cr doping and Ag loading was 14.4% and 4%, respectively. The trapping experiments and multiple characterizations demonstrated that the advantageous combination of the Cr doping effect and SPR effect induced by the Ag nanoparticles is responsible for the high generation rate of oxidative species and effective charge carrier transfer. By using RhB as fuel, approximately 75.1% color removal efficiency and 8.38% coulombic efficiency were obtained under visible light irradiation for 240 min, which are higher than those of MO and TC. In addition, the Jsc and Voc of the Cr-BOC/Ag photoanode were measured to be 0.0073 mA cm−2 and 0.543 V.