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Recent Catches

· Modelling heterogeneous interfaces for solar water splitting
Tuan Anh Pham, Yuan Ping & Giulia Galli

Nature Materials 16, pages401–408 (2017) doi: 10.1038/nmat4803|09 January 2017

The generation of hydrogen from water and sunlight offers a promising approach for producing scalable and sustainable carbon-free energy. The key of a successful solar-to-fuel technology is the design of efficient, long-lasting and low-cost photoelectrochemical cells, which are responsible for absorbing sunlight and driving water splitting reactions. To this end, a detailed understanding and control of heterogeneous interfaces between photoabsorbers, electrolytes and catalysts present in photoelectrochemical cells is essential. Here we review recent progress and open challenges in predicting physicochemical properties of heterogeneous interfaces for solar water splitting applications using first-principles-based approaches, and highlights the key role of these calculations in interpreting increasingly complex experiments.


In Situ Surface Decoration of a Titanium Nanosubstrate by a TiO2–WO3 Composite.

Athira Krishnan & Sheik Muhammadhu Aboobakar Shibli

Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research, 57(48), 16217-16226. Article number: doi: 10.1021/acs.iecr.8b03692|7 November 2018


· Development of a High-Performance Mediatorless Microbial Fuel Cell Comprising a Catalytic Steel Anode

Preetha Chandraserkharan Meenu, Bhuvanendran Revamma Sreelekshmy, Rubina Basheer, Suma Malini Sadasivan, Rajee Mole Vijayakumari Ramakrishnan, Sheik Muhammadhu Aboobakar Shibli

ACS Applied Bio Materials 1 (4), Article number:     doi: 10.1021/acsabm.8b00337|12 September 2018
An efficient TiO2 core/TiO2–WO3 shell structured nanocomposite is successfully synthesized by a method of acid precipitation followed by thermal decomposition. The metal weight ratio of TiO2–WO3 is optimized in order to achieve visible-light absorption. We made the mixed-oxide composite on titanium metal turnings in order to enhance the active surface area available for water-splitting reaction. The novelty of the present work mainly lies on the utterly different approach that we adopt for tuning of the composite with titanium turnings as the major material. The structural and morphological changes in the mixed oxide on the turnings are characterized in detail based on X-ray diffraction, Fourier transform infrared, transmission electron microscopy, scanning electron microscopy–energy-dispersive X-ray analysis, and Raman spectroscopy. The enhanced surface properties are evaluated based on Brunauer–Emmett–Teller adsorption. The band-edge position, band gap, and range of light absorption are envisaged by UV–visible spectroscopy. The photocatalytic activity of the composite is evaluated under visible-light irradiation. The volume of hydrogen gas evolved during water-splitting reaction is quantified after confirming the purity of the evolved hydrogen by gas chromatography. The mechanism of the enhanced water-splitting process by the fabricated photocatalytic system is then depicted. An appreciable quantity of pure hydrogen is produced by the catalyst composite, the stability and reproducibility of which is further ascertained by different experiments.


· A sea-change: manganese doped nickel/nickel oxide electrocatalysts for hydrogen generation from seawater

Xunyu LuJian Pan, Emma Lovell, Tze Hao Tan,  Yun Hau NgRose Amal

Energy & Environmental Science 11, DOI: 10.1039/C8EE00976G| 14 May 2018

The practical implementation of electrolytic water splitting systems (especially those powered by renewable energy resources, such as solar and wind) requires active and stable catalysts for the hydrogen evolution reaction (HER). The development of catalysts that can compete with, or exceed, the performance of the exorbitant platinum (Pt)-based benchmark is highly desirable. Here, we demonstrate the development of a highly active HER catalyst electrode, exhibiting Pt-like performances in both neutral electrolytes and natural seawater. The catalyst was obtained by pyrolysing a manganese-based metal organic framework (Mn-MOF) on nickel foam (Ni-F). We discovered for the first time that nickel foam not only acts as the substrate for catalyst growth but also provides nickel species that interact with the Mn-MOF, resulting in the formation of Mn doped nickel oxide/nickel hetero-structures on Ni-F (Mn–NiO–Ni/Ni-F). The potential utilization of this catalyst electrode for commercial applications was demonstrated in a self-customized water electrolyzer pack powered by photovoltaic cells.


· Unbiased solar H2 production with current density up to 23 mA cm−2 by Swiss-cheese black Si coupled with wastewater bioanode

Lu Lu, Waltteri Vakki,  Jeffery A. Aguiar,  Chuanxiao Xiao,  Katherine Hurst,  Michael FairchildXi Chen,  Fan Yang,  Jing Gu &  Zhiyong Jason Ren

Energy & Environmental Science,   DOI: 10.1039/C8EE03673J | 19 Feb 2019

Unbiased photoelectrochemical hydrogen production with high efficiency and durability is highly desired for solar energy storage. Here, we report a microbial photoelectrochemical (MPEC) system that demonstrated superior performance when equipped with bioanodes and black silicon photocathode with a unique “Swiss-cheese” interface. The MPEC utilizes the chemical energy embedded in wastewater organics to boost solar H2 production, which overcomes barriers on anode H2O oxidation. Without any bias, the MPEC generates a record photocurrent (up to 23 mA cm−2) and retains prolonged stability for over 90 hours with high Faradaic efficiency (96–99%). The calculated turnover number for MoSx catalyst during a 90 h period is 495 471 with an average frequency of 1.53 s−1. The system replaced pure water on the anode with actual wastewater and achieved waste organic removal up to 16 kg COD m−2 photocathode per day. Cost credits from concurrent wastewater treatment and low-cost design make photoelectrochemical H2 production practical for the first time.


· Development of a novel method of NiCoP alloy coating for electrocatalytic hydrogen evolution reaction in alkaline media

Sumi, V. S., Sha, M. A., Arunima, S. R., & Shibli, S. M. A. , Electrochimica Acta 303, Article number:     doi: 10.1016/j.electacta.2019.02.063|20 April 2019




Upcoming Events

  • HEAM Parliamentarian 2021

    A national level debate competition for school students to create awareness about Hydrogen Energy.
    Date: 28th December 2021
    Venue: Online Platform
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  • HEAM Scholar 2021

    A National Meet for Young Scholars of Hydrogen Energy and Advanced Materials
    Place and Date will be confirmed soon.