Solar-Powered Electrochemical Oxidation of Organic Compounds Coupled with the Cathodic Production of Molecular Hydrogen

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W. M. Keck Laboratories, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California 91125
* Corresponding author. Phone: (626) 395-4391. Fax: (626) 395-2940. E-mail: [email protected]
Cite this: J. Phys. Chem. A 2008, 112, 33, 7616–7626
Publication Date (Web):July 26, 2008
Copyright © 2008 American Chemical Society
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A Bi-doped TiO2 anode, which is prepared from a mixed metal oxide coating deposited on Ti metal, is shown to be efficient for conventional water splitting. In this hybrid photovoltaic−electrochemical system, a photovoltaic (PV) cell is used to convert solar light to electricity, which is then used to oxidize a series of phenolic compounds at the semiconductor anode to carbon dioxide with the simultaneous production of molecular hydrogen from water/proton reduction at the stainless steel cathode. Degradation of phenol in the presence of a background NaCl electrolyte produces chlorinated phenols as reaction intermediates, which are subsequently oxidized completely to carbon dioxide and low-molecular weight carboxylic acids. The anodic current efficiency for the complete oxidation of phenolic compounds ranges from 3% to 17%, while the cathodic current efficiency and the energy efficiency for hydrogen gas generation range from 68% to 95% and 30% to 70%, respectively.

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