Toward Solar Fuels: Water Splitting with Sunlight
Joseph Hupp a b
a Northwestern University, Dept. of Chemistry, 2145 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208, United States
b Argonne National Laboratory, Materials Science Division, 9800 South Cass Ave., Argonne, IL, 60439, United States
Keynote, Joseph Hupp, presentation 039
Publication date: 31st March 2013

The ultimate clean, carbon-neutral fuel would be molecular hydrogen obtained by splitting water using solar energy. In a “frictionless” world, with perfect catalysts, photons throughout the visible spectrum and significantly into the near-infrared would be capable of accomplishing water splitting. An intriguing photo-catalytic material for this purpose is α-Fe2O3 – essentially rust in dehydrated form.* This material is inexpensive, highly photo-oxidizing, and capable of absorbing light to wavelengths as long as 600 nm. As shown by several research teams, hematite is indeed capable of photo-catalytically generating O2 from water, but with less than terrific efficiency. This presentation will focus on very recent experimental efforts to identify and understand reaction bottlenecks, and on new materials-synthesis-driven approaches for circumventing them. It will also touch on the discovery of new cluster-based and film-based catalysts for water oxidation.


*For a recent critical review, see: M. J. Katz, et al. Coord. Chem. Rev. 2012, 21-22, 2521-2529

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