Solar water splitting by photovoltaic-electrolysis with a solar-to-hydrogen efficiency over 30%

Jieyang Jia, Linsey Christine Seitz, Jesse D. Benck, Yijie Huo, Yusi Chen, Jia Wei Desmond Ng, Taner Bilir, James S. Harris*, Thomas F. Jaramillo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

387 Scopus citations

Abstract

Hydrogen production via electrochemical water splitting is a promising approach for storing solar energy. For this technology to be economically competitive, it is critical to develop water splitting systems with high solar-to-hydrogen (STH) efficiencies. Here we report a photovoltaic-electrolysis system with the highest STH efficiency for any water splitting technology to date, to the best of our knowledge. Our system consists of two polymer electrolyte membrane electrolysers in series with one InGaP/GaAs/GaInNAsSb triple-junction solar cell, which produces a large-enough voltage to drive both electrolysers with no additional energy input. The solar concentration is adjusted such that the maximum power point of the photovoltaic is well matched to the operating capacity of the electrolysers to optimize the system efficiency. The system achieves a 48-h average STH efficiency of 30%. These results demonstrate the potential of photovoltaic-electrolysis systems for cost-effective solar energy storage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number13237
JournalNature communications
Volume7
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 31 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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