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Published August 2012 | public
Journal Article

SnO_2, IrO_2, Ta_2O_5, Bi_2O_3, and TiO_2 nanoparticle anodes: electrochemical oxidation coupled with the cathodic reduction of water to yield molecular H_2


In recent years, the search for environmentally friendly alternative energy sources with reduced carbon footprints has increased. The coupling of photovoltaic power sources with advanced electrolysis systems for hydrogen production via water splitting using organic contaminants as sacrificial electron donors has been considered to a be viable alternative. In this report, we demonstrated the feasibility of a scaled-up rooftop prototype of the proposed hybrid photovoltaic-electrolysis system, which utilizes semiconductor nanoparticles coated on to metal substrates as electrodes for the generation of hydrogen coupled with the oxidation of wastewater. Application of an anodic bias of >2.0 V to bismuth-doped TiO_2 (BiO_x–TiO_2) on Ti metal anodes with a sequential under-coatings of nanoparticulate SnO_2, IrO_2, Ta_2O_5, and Bi_2O_3 results in the electrochemical degradation of a variety of organic chemical contaminants in water (i.e., rhodamine B (Rh.B), methylene blue (MB), salicylic acid, triclosan, and phenol) and actual wastewater from a chemical manufacturing plant, while at the same time, molecular hydrogen is produced at stainless steel (SS) cathodes. The kinetics of the anodic substrates oxidation is investigated as a function of the cell current (I cell), substrate concentration, and background electrolyte composition (e.g., NaCl, Na_2SO_4, or seawater). Average current efficiencies were found to be in the range of 4–22 %, while the cathodic current and energy efficiencies for hydrogen production were found to be in the range of 50–70 % and 20–40 %, respectively.

Additional Information

© 2012 Springer Science+Business Media B.V. Received: 15 March 2012; Accepted: 8 June 2012; Published online: 18 July 2012. We are grateful to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for support of our solar toilet project under the Reinventing the Toilet Project, Grant: OPP1037491 "Development of a Self-Contained, PV-Powered Domestic Toilet and Wastewater Treatment System."

Additional details

August 22, 2023
October 18, 2023