Solar fuel production by using PV/PEC junctions based on earth-abundant materials

Paula Perez-Rodriguez, Ibadillah Digdaya, Andrea Mangel Raventos, Michael Falkenberg, Ravi Vasudevan, Miro Zeman, Wilson Smith, Arno H.M. Smets

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeConference contributionScientificpeer-review

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One of the main problems of renewable energies is storage of the energy carrier. For long-term storage, solar fuels seem to be a good option. Direct solar water splitting could play an important role in the production of these solar fuels. One of the main challenges of this process is the charge separation and collection at the interfaces. The knowledge on photovoltaic (PV) junctions can be used to tackle this challenge. In this work, the use of doped layers to enhance the electric field in an a-SiC:H photocathode, and the use of thin-film silicon multijunction devices to achieve a stand-alone solar water splitting device are discussed. Using a p-i-n structure as a-SiC:H photocathode, a current density of 10mA/cm2 is achievable. The p-i-n structure proposed also indicates the suitability of traditional PV structures for solar water splitting. In addition, hybrid devices, including a silicon heterojunction PV device, are proposed. A combination of the a-SiC:H photocathode with a nc-Si:H/c-Si is demonstrated and potential STH efficiencies of 7.9% have been achieved. Furthermore, a purely PV approach such as a triple junction a-Si:H/nc-Si:H/nc-Si:H solar cell is demonstrated, with solar-to-hydrogen (STH) efficiencies of 9.8%

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2017 IEEE 44th Photovoltaic Specialist Conference, PVSC 2017
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)
Number of pages5
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-5090-5605-7
Publication statusPublished - 25 May 2018
Event44th IEEE Photovoltaic Specialist Conference, PVSC 2017 - Washington, United States
Duration: 25 Jun 201730 Jun 2017


Conference44th IEEE Photovoltaic Specialist Conference, PVSC 2017
Country/TerritoryUnited States


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