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Issue 1, 2017
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From millimetres to metres: the critical role of current density distributions in photo-electrochemical reactor design

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Abstract

0.1 × 0.1 m2 tin-doped hematite photo-anodes were fabricated on titanium substrates by spray pyrolysis and deployed in a photo-electrochemical reactor for photo-assisted splitting of water into hydrogen and oxygen. Hitherto, photo-electrochemical research focussed largely on the fabrication, properties and behaviour of photo-electrodes, whereas both experimental and modelling results reported here address reactor scale-up issues of minimising inhomogeneities in spatial distributions of potentials, current densities and the resultant hydrogen evolution rates. Such information is essential for optimising the design and photon energy-to-hydrogen conversion efficiencies of photo-electrochemical reactors to progress their industrial deployment. The 2D and 3D reactor models presented here are coupled with a modified micro-kinetic model of oxygen evolution on hematite thin films both in the dark and when illuminated. For the first time, such a model is applied to a scaled-up photo-electrochemical reactor and validated against experimental data.

Graphical abstract: From millimetres to metres: the critical role of current density distributions in photo-electrochemical reactor design

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Article information


Submitted
16 Oct 2016
Accepted
09 Dec 2016
First published
21 Dec 2016

Energy Environ. Sci., 2017,10, 346-360
Article type
Paper

From millimetres to metres: the critical role of current density distributions in photo-electrochemical reactor design

A. Hankin, F. E. Bedoya-Lora, C. K. Ong, J. C. Alexander, F. Petter and G. H. Kelsall, Energy Environ. Sci., 2017, 10, 346
DOI: 10.1039/C6EE03036J

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