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Published February 14, 2020 | Supplemental Material
Journal Article Open

CO₂ Reduction to CO with 19% Efficiency in a Solar-Driven Gas Diffusion Electrode Flow Cell under Outdoor Solar Illumination


Solar-driven reduction of carbon dioxide represents a carbon-neutral pathway for the synthesis of fuels and chemicals. We report here results for solar-driven CO₂ reduction using a gas diffusion electrode (GDE) directly powered by a photovoltaic cell. A GaInP/GaInAs/Ge triple-junction photovoltaic cell was used to power a reverse-assembled gas diffusion electrode employing a Ag nanoparticle catalyst layer. The device had a solar-to-CO energy conversion efficiency of 19.1% under simulated AM 1.5G illumination at 1 Sun. The use of a reverse-assembled GDE prevented transition from a wetted to a flooded catalyst bed and allowed the device to operate stably for >150 h with no loss in efficiency. Outdoor measurements were performed under ambient solar illumination in Pasadena, California, resulting in a peak solar-to-CO efficiency of 18.7% with a CO production rate of 47 mg·cm⁻² per day and a diurnal-averaged solar-to-fuel conversion efficiency of 5.8%.

Additional Information

© 2020 American Chemical Society. Received: November 26, 2019; Accepted: January 8, 2020; Published: January 9, 2020. This work was supported through the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) under award no. DE SC0004993 to the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis, a DOE Energy Innovation Hub. Research was in part carried out at the Molecular Materials Research Center of the Beckman Institute of the California Institute of Technology. Author Contributions: W.H.C., M.H.R., and H.A.A. conceived of the experimental study. W.H.C. and M.H.R. executed the experiments and did the data analysis. D.M.L., I.S., B.S.B., and C.X. provided technical support and scientific discussion. W.H.C., M.H.R., B.S.B., and H.A.A. wrote the paper and all authors commented on the manuscript. The authors declare no competing financial interest.

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