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Solar Hydrogen generation using photocatalytic doped titania inverse opals

Type of activity
Competitive project
Acronym
PHOXSOL
Funding entity
AGENCIA ESTATAL DE INVESTIGACION
Funding entity code
RTI2018-095498-J-I00
Amount
166.980,00 €
Start date
2019-11-26
End date
2022-11-25
Keywords
cristales fotónicos, fotocatalizador, fotones lentos, hidrógeno, hydrogen, luz solar, microreactor, microrreactor, nanomateriales, nanomaterials, photocatalyst, photonic crystals, plasmon resonance, resonancia de plasmones, slow photons, sunlight
Abstract
The consumption of energy derived from fossil fuels in Spain is approximately 86%, a fact that contrasts with the scarcity of our national
reserves of these fuels. Therefore, it is urgent to develop new technologies that will allow the transition to a safe, sustainable and clean
energy system. Among the different options, the use of solar energy to produce hydrogen from water by photocatalytic processes is very
promising because solar energy is an inexhaustible source of renewable energy, and solar radiation in Spain is very high. Despite the
simplicity of the concept and its promising technical feasibility, the photocatalysts known until now render too low hydrogen production
yields in the range of sunlight to meet the large-scale industrial requirements, which complicates bringing these technologies to the market.
In this project, I propose a new strategy to develop photocatalytic processes capable of generating hydrogen using sunlight. I intend to
design a new generation of photocatalytic processes based on doped three-dimensionally ordered macroporous (3DOM) TiO2-based
materials that combine the photocatalytic hydrogen generation with the photooxidation of oxygenated organic compounds, which act as
sacrificial electron donors. The slow photon effect phenomenon that takes place using these TiO2-based photonic crystals will boost both
photogeneration of electron-hole pairs and localized surface plasmon resonance (LSPR) effect over metal nanoparticles. Ultimately, this
project intends to combine photocatalytic water splitting with remediation of water containing organic pollutants. To do so, I propose a
novel approach based on designing a modular, continuous photocatalytic reactor based on heterogeneous solid-gas reactions, as an
alternative to the conventional solid-liquid heterogeneous photocatalytic systems. I expect that merging the fields of 3DOM TiO2 materials
and microreactors will lead to improved photocatalytic efficiencies in an unprecedented manner. This new microreactor configuration offers
a scalable design that will allow developing future commercial applications of this technology. In addition, I plan to conduct a series of
experiments at ALBA Synchrotron facility, in order to study the mechanism of the photocatalytic reaction and reformulate the photocatalyst,
in order to obtain even better performances. For all the ideas above outlined, I feel that I am the best candidate to perform this project. I
am a senior postdoctoral researcher specialized on heterogeneous catalysis for energy applications. During my research career, I have
been working on the design, preparation and characterization of advanced nanomaterials, in order to use them as catalysts and
photocatalysts for many applications, spanning from hydrogen production processes, to chemically powered nanomotors and
environmental applications. After 15 years studying numerous catalytic systems, here I present an innovative project that represents a real
new turn-of-the-screw in the sustainable production of hydrogen.
Scope
Adm. Estat
Plan
Plan Estatal de Investigación Científica y Técnica y de Innovación 2017-2020
Call year
2019
Funcding program
Programa Estatal de I+D+i Orientada a los Retos de la Sociedad
Funding call
Retos de Investigación: Proyectos de I+D+i
Grant institution
Agencia Estatal De Investigacion

Participants