Issue 6, 2020

Mitigating voltage losses in photoelectrochemical cell scale-up


In solar water splitting, efforts in scaling up the photoelectrochemical cell beyond laboratory scale have started to attract significant attention. Several large-area devices have been demonstrated, but typically the efficiencies are much lower than their small-area equivalent. Here, two-dimensional finite element modeling is used to evaluate the different sources of voltage loss specifically related to scale-up in solar water splitting devices operated in neutral pH solutions. We quantitatively investigate the influence of the electrode area to these scale-up associated losses (substrate ohmic loss, electrolyte ohmic loss, and local pH-gradient related losses). About 600 mV additional overpotential is needed due to these losses for a cell with electrodes of height of 8 cm at a current density of 10 mA cm−2. We show, however, that by applying engineering and cell design strategies, the voltage losses can be mitigated, resulting in an acceptable ∼50 mV overpotential. Overall, this study highlights the additional challenges to be considered in photoelectrochemical cell scale-up and provides strategies to manage and mitigate scaling-related losses.

Graphical abstract: Mitigating voltage losses in photoelectrochemical cell scale-up

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Article information

Article type
14 Feb 2020
03 Apr 2020
First published
03 Apr 2020
This article is Open Access
Creative Commons BY license

Sustainable Energy Fuels, 2020,4, 2734-2740

Mitigating voltage losses in photoelectrochemical cell scale-up

F. F. Abdi, R. R. Gutierrez Perez and S. Haussener, Sustainable Energy Fuels, 2020, 4, 2734 DOI: 10.1039/D0SE00246A

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