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Published January 31, 2008 | Supplemental Material
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Solar-Powered Production of Molecular Hydrogen from Water


Electrochemical water splitting powered by conventional electricity or photovoltaic arrays produces molecular hydrogen at the cathode, while organic compound oxidation under mild conditions takes place at the anode in competition with the production of oxygen. An electrolytic cell, which is based on the coupling of bismuth-doped titanium dioxide anodes (BiO_x−TiO_2) with stainless steel (SS) cathodes, is characterized in terms of hydrogen production efficiency and organic compound degradation. In the solar-powered photovoltaic (PV)−electrochemical system, the production of molecular oxygen at the anode is suppressed by the simultaneous oxidation and mineralization of organic compounds dissolved in water. In addition, the anodic oxidation of organic substrates has a synergistic effect on hydrogen production at the cathode that results in a 53% increase in the energy efficiency for H_2 generation at circum-neutral pH in the presence of dilute electrolyte solutions.

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© 2008 American Chemical Society. Received: November 8, 2007; In Final Form: December 13, 2007. Publication Date (Web): January 4, 2008. We appreciate the support provided by the Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology (DGIST) of Daegu, South Korea. W.C. is also grateful to the Yonam Foundation in support of his sabbatical leave at Caltech.

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