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Open AccessArticle

Photocatalysis for Renewable Energy Production Using PhotoFuelCells

Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Patras, University Campus, Patras 26500, Greece
FORTH/ICE-HT, Stadiou Str., Platani, P.O. Box 1414, Patras 26504, Greece
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Permanent address: Department of Inorganic Chemistry, Faculty of Natural Sciences, Comenius University, Mlynská Dolina, 84215 Bratislava, Slovakia
Molecules 2014, 19(12), 19732-19750;
Received: 6 October 2014 / Revised: 14 November 2014 / Accepted: 24 November 2014 / Published: 27 November 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Photocatalysis)
The present work is a short review of our recent studies on PhotoFuelCells, that is, photoelectrochemical cells which consume a fuel to produce electricity or hydrogen, and presents some unpublished data concerning both electricity and hydrogen production. PhotoFuelCells have been constructed using nanoparticulate titania photoanodes and various cathode electrodes bearing a few different types of electrocatalyst. In the case where the cell functioned with an aerated cathode, the cathode electrode was made of carbon cloth carrying a carbon paste made of carbon black and dispersed Pt nanoparticles. When the cell was operated in the absence of oxygen, the electrocatalyst was deposited on an FTO slide using a special commercial carbon paste, which was again enriched with Pt nanoparticles. Mixing of Pt with carbon paste decreased the quantity of Pt necessary to act as electrocatalyst. PhotoFuelCells can produce electricity without bias and with relatively high open-circuit voltage when they function in the presence of fuel and with an aerated cathode. In that case, titania can be sensitized in the visible region by CdS quantum dots. In the present work, CdS was deposited by the SILAR method. Other metal chalcogenides are not functional as sensitizers because the combined photoanode in their presence does not have enough oxidative power to oxidize the fuel. Concerning hydrogen production, it was found that it is difficult to produce hydrogen in an alkaline environment even under bias, however, this is still possible if losses are minimized. One way to limit losses is to short-circuit anode and cathode electrode and put them close together. This is achieved in the “photoelectrocatalytic leaf”, which was presently demonstrated capable of producing hydrogen even in a strongly alkaline environment. View Full-Text
Keywords: PhotoFuelCells; photoelectrochemical cells; solar energy conversion; quantum dot sensitizers; TiO2 PhotoFuelCells; photoelectrochemical cells; solar energy conversion; quantum dot sensitizers; TiO2
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MDPI and ACS Style

Michal, R.; Sfaelou, S.; Lianos, P. Photocatalysis for Renewable Energy Production Using PhotoFuelCells. Molecules 2014, 19, 19732-19750.

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