Synthesis of new photocatalysts with application in photovoltaic cells, materials for energy storage, water splitting and catalysis
Mentor: Manuel Ángel Fernández Rodríguez
Phone: (+34) 918 852517
University: Universidad de Alcalá
Partner Host Institution: IMDEA Water
Keywords: Photoredox catalysis, radical reactions, photovoltaic cells, water splitting, energy storage

Synthesis of new photocatalysts with application in photovoltaic cells, materials for energy storage, water splitting and catalysis.

Nowadays, climate change and energy shortage represent some of the greatest challenges for humanity. The use of fossil fuels has a significant adverse impact on the environment and is considered a critical cause of global climate change. Therefore, the development of clean and renewable energy is the key way to meet the increasing global energy requirement and to resolve the environmental problems caused by the overuse of large amounts of fossil fuels.
Hydrogen is regarded as an ultraclean, powerful, environmentally friendly, and promising alternative for meeting future fuel needs. The production of hydrogen by water splitting using sunlight has been proven to be a regenerative, ecofriendly, and inexhaustible approach to solve both the energy crisis and energy related environmental pollution given the natural abundance of water and sunlight. Solar energy has also been harnessed to produce electricity using solar cells. However, the average standard efficiency of photovoltaic devices for electricity generation is 16-17% and the best commercially available is 22%. There is an urgent need for clean and renewable fuel so that the development of good catalysts and its assembly into a cell for the photoproduction of hydrogen is seen as one of the most promising sustainable solutions for our present demands.
In these photocatalytic processes, a stable and efficient photocatalyst is the critical factor for the development of efficient devices and thus constitutes a very important and urgent theme to be solved. Over four decades of research, some hundreds of photocatalyst materials have been catalogued. There are mainly metal-based and have been dominated by transition metal oxides and sulfides. Despite the rapid development of these photocatalysts, they still face several significant challenges.
Visible-light photoredox catalysis uses visible light as a renewable energy source to promote chemical transformations involving electron transfers. The most used complexes in visible light photocatalysis by their excellent photophysical properties are ruthenium and iridium polypyridyl complexes although their high cost and potential toxicity, causing disadvantages on a big scale. Although great advances have been made in the development of photocatalysts for their application in water splitting, photovoltaic cells, solar energy storage and catalysis, development of new photocatalysts to get more efficient transformations is mandatory and will be the topic of this project.

Departament: Organic Chemistry and Inorganic Chemistry
Research Group: Biological chemistry
More Information:
Relevants projects on the area:
Relevants publications on the area: 1.- M. G. Walter, E. L. Warren, J. R. McKone, S. W. Boettcher, Q. Mi, E. A. Santori, N. S. Lewis, Chem. Rev., 2010, 110, 6446
2.- Romero, N. A.; Nicewicz, D. A. Chem. Rev. 2016, 116, 10075