Running Perovskite Solar Cells Underwater - Light Driven Water Oxidation using Caesium Lead Bromide Solar Cells
Petra Cameron a, Kaya Davies Brenchley a, Ulrich Hintermair a, Jenny Baker b
a Department of Chemistry, University of Bath, Claverton Down, Bath BA2 7AY, UK
b SPECIFIC – Swansea University Bay Campus, Fabian Way, Crymlyn Burrows, SA1 8EN Swansea
International Conference on Hybrid and Organic Photovoltaics
Proceedings of International Conference on Hybrid and Organic Photovoltaics (HOPV22)
València, Spain, 2022 May 19th - 25th
Organizers: Pablo Docampo, Eva Unger and Elizabeth Gibson
Invited Speaker, Petra Cameron, presentation 078
Publication date: 20th April 2022

In recent years Perovskite Solar Cells have been investigated as promising photoelectrodes for light-driven water splitting. In this approach a complete solar cell is submerged in water where, under illumination and bias voltage, it can be used to oxidise water to form oxygen (n-i-p cell used as a photoanode) or reduce protons to form hydrogen (p-i-n cell used as a photocathode) or both (dual cell). Although excellent photovoltaic materials, 3D lead halide perovskites are notoriously sensitive to moisture and the challenge is to protect the perovskite layer so that the water does not infiltrate and disintegrate the material. A number of protection strategies have been developed, including metal encapsulation (e.g. Ni, Ti, Field’s metal) and oxide coatings. In 2019 we showed that simple graphite layers could protect the solar cells for up to 30 hours of operation underwater. By modifying the graphite surface with an iridium-based water oxidation catalyst we were able to reduce the overpotential for water oxidation and increase the Faradaic efficiency of light-driven water splitting. In this talk I will focus on our latest results. We have improved our system to get more than 140 hours of stability underwater and we have used a variety of methods to increase the surface loading of the Ir catalyst. As we can routinely stabilise the cells for such long periods we have identified and addressed failure mechanisms that are unrelated to the dissolution of the perovskite layer.

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