Efficient Photocatalytic Fuel Cell via Simultaneous Visible-Photoelectrocatalytic Degradation and Electricity Generation on a Porous Coral-like WO3/W Photoelectrode

  • Donglai Pan
    Donglai Pan
    Key Laboratory of Resource Chemistry of Ministry of Education, Shanghai Key Laboratory of Rare Earth Functional Materials, College of Life and Environmental Science, Shanghai Normal University, Shanghai 200234, China
    More by Donglai Pan
  • Shuning Xiao
    Shuning Xiao
    International Collaborative Laboratory of 2D Materials for Optoelectronics Science and Technology of Ministry of Education, College of Optoelectronic Engineering, Shenzhen University, Shenzhen 518060, China
    More by Shuning Xiao
  • Xiaofeng Chen
    Xiaofeng Chen
    Key Laboratory of Resource Chemistry of Ministry of Education, Shanghai Key Laboratory of Rare Earth Functional Materials, College of Life and Environmental Science, Shanghai Normal University, Shanghai 200234, China
  • Ruping Li
    Ruping Li
    Key Laboratory of Resource Chemistry of Ministry of Education, Shanghai Key Laboratory of Rare Earth Functional Materials, College of Life and Environmental Science, Shanghai Normal University, Shanghai 200234, China
    More by Ruping Li
  • Yingnan Cao
    Yingnan Cao
    Key Laboratory of Resource Chemistry of Ministry of Education, Shanghai Key Laboratory of Rare Earth Functional Materials, College of Life and Environmental Science, Shanghai Normal University, Shanghai 200234, China
    More by Yingnan Cao
  • Dieqing Zhang*
    Dieqing Zhang
    Key Laboratory of Resource Chemistry of Ministry of Education, Shanghai Key Laboratory of Rare Earth Functional Materials, College of Life and Environmental Science, Shanghai Normal University, Shanghai 200234, China
    *E-mail: [email protected] (G.L.).
  • Sisi Pu
    Sisi Pu
    Key Laboratory of Resource Chemistry of Ministry of Education, Shanghai Key Laboratory of Rare Earth Functional Materials, College of Life and Environmental Science, Shanghai Normal University, Shanghai 200234, China
    More by Sisi Pu
  • Zhangcheng Li
    Zhangcheng Li
    Key Laboratory of Resource Chemistry of Ministry of Education, Shanghai Key Laboratory of Rare Earth Functional Materials, College of Life and Environmental Science, Shanghai Normal University, Shanghai 200234, China
  • Guisheng Li*
    Guisheng Li
    Key Laboratory of Resource Chemistry of Ministry of Education, Shanghai Key Laboratory of Rare Earth Functional Materials, College of Life and Environmental Science, Shanghai Normal University, Shanghai 200234, China
    *E-mail: [email protected] (D.Z.).
    More by Guisheng Li
  • , and 
  • Hexing Li*
    Hexing Li
    Key Laboratory of Resource Chemistry of Ministry of Education, Shanghai Key Laboratory of Rare Earth Functional Materials, College of Life and Environmental Science, Shanghai Normal University, Shanghai 200234, China
    Shanghai University of Electric Power, 2588 Changyang Road, Shanghai 200090, China
    *Phone: 86-21-64322272; fax: 86-21-64322272; e-mail: [email protected] (H.L.).
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Cite this: Environ. Sci. Technol. 2019, 53, 7, 3697–3706
Publication Date (Web):February 28, 2019
Copyright © 2019 American Chemical Society
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Supporting Info (1)»


Photocatalytic fuel cells (PFCs) have proven to be effective for generating electricity and degrading pollutants with a goal to resolve environmental and energy problems. However, the degradation of persistent organic pollutants (POPs), such as perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), remains challenging. In the present work, a porous coral-like WO3/W (PCW) photoelectrode with a well-designed energy band structure was used for the photoelectrocatalytic degradation of POPs and the simultaneous generation of electricity. The as-constructed bionic porous coral-like nanostructure greatly improved the light-harvesting capacity of the PCW photoelectrode. A maximum photocurrent density (0.31 mA/cm2) under visible light (λ > 420 nm) irradiation and a high incident photon conversion efficiency (IPCE) value (5.72% at 420 nm) were achieved. Because of the unique porous coral-like structure, the suitable energy band position, and the strong oxidation ability, this PCW photoelectrode-based PFC system exhibited a strong ability for simultaneous photoelectrocatalytic degradation of PFOA and electricity generation under visible-light irradiation, with a power output of 0.0013 mV/cm2 using PFOA as the fuel. This work provides a promising way to construct a reliable PFC using highly toxic POPs to generate electricity.

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The Supporting Information is available free of charge on the ACS Publications website at DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.8b05685.

  • Preparations of nanotube-like WO3/W photoelectrode, CdS nanowires photoelectrode, and BiVO4 photoelectrode; measurement of electrochemical surface area; standard potential conversion calculation; XRD patterns and UV–vis DRS spectra; SEM images of the as-obtained PCW photoelectrode; XRD patterns of PCW under different anodic oxidation times; SEM images of the as-prepared PCW calcined at different temperatures; cross-section SEM image of PCW 550; adsorption–desorption equilibrium for different photoelectrodes; PEC degradation tests for different photoelectrodes; electrochemical surface area measurements for different photoelectrodes; zeta potential of PFOA solution; amount of H2 evolution during PEC degradation using different photoelectrodes; PEC degradation efficiency of PCW 550 with different initial concentrations; amount of H2 evolution in the PEC degradation process with different concentrations of MO; cyclic measurements for PCW 550 photoelectrode; photocurrent stability tests for PCW 550; Motto-Schottky plots and UV–vis DRS spectrum for the as-prepared PCW photoelectrode; proposed mechanism for the PEC pollutant degradation process; kinetics curves and constants for the PEC degradation process in different pollutant solutions; PEC degradation of PFOA solution; JV plots and JJV plots for both CW and PCW 550; current–time plots at different output voltages and stability of PCW photoelectrode in acidic condition; tables with electrochemical surface areas, changes of TOC for the MO degradation process; changes of TOC and the amounts of H2 evolution; TOC changes of different pollutants during the PFC process (PDF)

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