Advance in Solar Fuel Generation: Earth-Abundant Materials Unlock the Potential of Halide Perovskite Photoanodes

Advance in Solar Fuel Generation: Earth-Abundant Materials Unlock the Potential of Halide Perovskite Photoanodes

In a groundbreaking development, researchers from the University of Oulu and Imperial College London have overcome key challenges in harnessing the potential of halide perovskites for the photoelectrochemical generation of solar fuels and feedstocks. This significant advancement paves the way for sustainable and cost-effective solutions in the pursuit of net-zero CO2 emissions.

Solution-processed halide perovskites have long been recognized for their remarkable optoelectronic properties, making them a favorite in the solar energy sector, where they have achieved power conversion efficiencies of up to 25.8%. Now, their potential is being harnessed for photoelectrodes in photoelectrochemical (PEC) cells, which directly convert solar energy into valuable solar fuels.

However, the deployment of perovskite photoactive layers in PEC cells has faced a critical challenge: the instability of halide perovskites in aqueous environments, particularly at the photoanode side where oxygen evolution reactions occur. Previous efforts to enhance stability relied on costly solutions, limiting the scalability of perovskite-based photoanodes.

Our team has now achieved a groundbreaking solution by incorporating solely Earth-abundant materials. They have successfully developed a perovskite (CsPbBr3)-based photoanode that exhibits exceptional performance. This photoanode boasts a low onset potential of +0.4 VRHE and a remarkable photocurrent density of 8 mA cm−2 at +1.23 VRHE for water oxidation, pushing close to the radiative efficiency limit of CsPbBr3.

One of the key breakthroughs in this research is the photoanode's long-term stability. It retains 100% of its stabilized photocurrent density for over 100 hours of operation, thanks to the innovative use of a protective self-adhesive graphite sheet and an efficiently electrodeposited Ni and Fe based catalyst. This not only ensures a prolonged lifespan for the photoanode but also significantly reduces the cost associated with maintenance.

Furthermore, this pioneering work demonstrates the potential for scalable perovskite photoanodes with device areas exceeding 1 cm², all while employing a low-temperature processing method. These advancements hold the promise of making perovskite-based photoanodes more accessible, stable, and economically viable.

University of Oulu researcher Filipp Temerov underlines the importance of the research result: "This breakthrough could have far-reaching implications for the renewable energy industry, offering a cost-effective and sustainable path to harnessing solar energy for the production of solar fuels and feedstocks. As the world strives to achieve net-zero CO2 emissions, innovations like these are crucial in driving the transition toward a cleaner and more sustainable energy future."

Research article:

Daboczi, M., Cui, J., Temerov, F., Eslava, S., Scalable All-Inorganic Halide Perovskite Photoanodes with >100 h Operational Stability Containing Earth-Abundant Materials. Adv. Mater. 2023, 2304350.

Last updated: 7.11.2023