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Published December 2022 | public
Journal Article

Solar-Driven Co-Production of Hydrogen and Value-Add Conductive Polyaniline Polymer


To reduce the reliance on fossil fuel, H₂, as a clean fuel, has attracted substantial research and development activities in recent years. The traditional water splitting approach requires an applied bias of more than 1.5 V and the use of ion-selective membranes to prevent the formation of a potentially explosive H₂–O₂ gas mixture, resulting in increased cost and system design complexity. Here, a solar-driven H₂ production process requiring a much lower applied bias of 1.05 V is reported whereby aniline (ANI) is oxidized to polyaniline (PANI) at the anode with a yield of 96% and H₂ evolution reaction occurs at the cathode with a faradaic efficiency of 98.6 ± 3.9%. The process has multiple advantages including the elimination of ion-exchange membrane as PANI is a solid product that also is of substantially higher value than O₂. For demonstration, a single junction perovskite solar cell and low-cost earth abundant CoP catalyst are successfully applied for this process. This process contributes to the advancement of solar-driven low-cost H2 generation coupled with co-production of a high-value product expediting the transition to a hydrogen economy.

Additional Information

This project was funded by the Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Project DP200103420 (A. H-B., H. C., S. B., and H.A.A.). The authors also acknowledge the support by the ARC through FT210100210 (A.H.-B.) and DP210100094 (C.B.) and by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) through 2020/RND001 (A. H-B, J. B.), 2020/RND003 (A. H-B, J. Z.) and 2017/RND008 (S. B, A.H-B.). The authors thank Prof. Xiaoke Yi and Dr. Liwei Li for providing the commercially available PANI for the control measurements. This research was facilitated by access to Sydney Analytical and Research & Prototype Foundry (part of the Australian National Fabrication Facility). Both are part of the Core Research Facility at the University of Sydney. The authors acknowledge the Mark Wainwright Analytical Centre at UNSW Sydney for their support in Solid NMR analysis. Open access publishing facilitated by The University of Sydney, as part of the Wiley - The University of Sydney agreement via the Council of Australian University Librarians.

Additional details

August 22, 2023
October 24, 2023