Toward practical solar hydrogen production – an artificial photosynthetic leaf-to-farm challenge
Solar water splitting is a promising approach to transform sunlight into renewable, sustainable and green hydrogen energy. There are three representative ways of transforming solar radiation into molecular hydrogen, which are the photocatalytic (PC), photoelectrochemical (PEC), and photovoltaic–electrolysis (PV–EC) routes. Having the future perspective of green hydrogen economy in mind, this review article discusses devices and systems for solar-to-hydrogen production including comparison of the above solar water splitting systems. The focus is placed on a critical assessment of the key components needed to scale up PEC water splitting systems such as materials efficiency, cost, elemental abundancy, stability, fuel separation, device operability, cell architecture, and techno-economic aspects of the systems. The review follows a stepwise approach and provides (i) a summary of the basic principles and photocatalytic materials employed for PEC water splitting, (ii) an extensive discussion of technologies, procedures, and system designs, and (iii) an introduction to international demonstration projects, and the development of benchmarked devices and large-scale prototype systems. The task of scaling up of laboratory overall water splitting devices to practical systems may be called “an artificial photosynthetic leaf-to-farm challenge”.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Advances in Solar Energy Conversion