Clean Fuel Production by Photoelectrochemical Cells Using Solar Energy and Water

young-Shin Choi
Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison, USA
14:00~14:45,November 20th, 2015

Abstract :

Harvesting energy directly from sunlight as nature accomplishes through photosynthesis is a very attractive and desirable way to solve the energy challenge. Many efforts have been made to find appropriate materials and systems that can utilize solar energy to produce chemical fuels. One of the most viable options is the construction of a photoelectrochemical cell (PEC) that can reduce water to H2. The key components of the water splitting PEC are semiconductor electrodes that harvest the solar spectrum to generate, separate, and transport charge carriers to the semiconductor/aqueous interfaces for use in water reduction and oxidation reactions. Since the surfaces of semiconductor electrodes are not particularly catalytic for water reduction or oxidation, they need to be coupled with hydrogen evolution catalysts (HEC) and oxygen evolution catalysts (OEC) to facilitate interfacial charge transfer reactions. The commercial viability of PECs depends critically on the cost of H2 produced by the PECs, which is affected by the cost of PEC construction. Therefore, a true breakthrough for PEC development will be possible only when efficiency enhancement is achieved at low cost. In this presentation, we will present our efforts on constructing efficient and inexpensive PECs. We will also discuss various strategies to further increase the utility and efficiency of PECs, which includes expanding the use of PECs to biomass conversion. This will allow us to utilize the sun and water not only for the production of fuels but also for the production of key building block organic chemicals used in various industrial processes, minimizing our dependence on petroleum products.



Honors & Prizes :

  • 2015 Camille and Henry Dreyfus Environmental Chemistry Mentor
  •  2014 Associate Editor, Chemistry of Materials (ACS Journal)
  • 2014 Speaker for the Stanford Distinguished Women in Science Colloquia Series
  • 2014 Chair, Gordon Research Conference-Electrodeposition
  • 2013 Kavli Fellow (National Academy Frontiers of Science Program)
  • 2011 Chair, ACS-Division of Inorganic Chemistry, Solid State Subdivision
  • 2011 Volume Organizer of Materials Research Society Bulletin
  • 2011 University Faculty Scholar, Purdue University
  • 2010 Iota Sigma Pi Agnes Fay Morgan Research Award
  • 2008 Purdue College of Science Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award
  • 2007 ACS-ExxonMobil Solid State Chemistry Faculty Fellowship
  • 2006 ACS Progress/Dreyfus Lectureship award, American Chemical Society
  • 2006 Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
  • 1998 Best Poster Award, Materials Research Society
  • 1993 Graduated Magna Cum Laude, Seoul National University
  • 1989-1993 Undergraduate Scholarship, Seoul National University



Professional Activities :

  • 2012-present Professor of Chemistry, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • 2008-2012 Associate Professor of Chemistry, Purdue University
  • 2008, Fall Visiting Scholar, National Renewable Energy Laboratory
  • 2002-2008 Assistant Professor of Chemistry, Purdue University