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Introduction to Photoelectrochemical Hydrogen Production

Introduction to Photoelectrochemical Hydrogen Production

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Published by prashant mishra
about hydrogen production from photoelectrochemical method
about hydrogen production from photoelectrochemical method

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Published by: prashant mishra on Jul 31, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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12/13/2012

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. Introduction to Photoelectrochemical HydrogenProduction:
In its simplest form, a photoelectrochemical (PEC)hydrogen production cell consists of a semiconductor electrode and a metal counter electrode immersed inan aqueous electrolyte. When light is incident on thesemiconductor electrode, it absorbs part of the lightand generated electricity. This electricity is then usedfor the electrolysis of water.Fujishima and Honda first demonstrated the lyses of water using solar energy in a PEC cell about 30 yearsago. A schematic of their cell is shown in the figure below:
 
Schematic showing the structure of a PEC cell (Fujishima and Honda)
As seen from the diagram, the cell consists of asemiconductor photo anode which is irradiated withthe electromagnetic radiation. The counter electrodeis a metal. Following processes take place in the cellwhen light is incident on the semiconductoelectrode:1. Photo generation of charge carriers (electron andhole pairs)
 
2. Charge separation and migration of the holes to theinterface between the semiconductor and theelectrolyte and of electrons to the counter electrodethrough the external circuit. Now, holes are simplyvacancies created in the valence band due to promotion of electrons from the valence band to theconduction band. However, in the study of electronic behavior of materials, "holes" are considered to beindependent entities, with their own mass.3. Electrode processes: oxidation of water to H
+
andH
2
O by the holes at the photo anode and reduction of H
+
ions to H
2
by electrons at the cathode.The representation of the same process in bandenergy terms is shown in the following diagram:

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