This disclosure provides systems, methods, and apparatus related to a nanowire mesh solar fuels generator. In one aspect, a nanowire mesh solar fuels generator includes (1) a photoanode configured to perform water oxidation and (2) a photocathode configured to perform water reduction. The photocathode is in electrical contact with the photoanode. The photoanode may include a high surface area network of photoanode nanowires. The photocathode may include a high surface area network of photocathode nanowires. In some embodiments, the nanowire mesh solar fuels generator may include an ion conductive polymer infiltrating the photoanode and the photocathode in the region where the photocathode is in electrical contact with the photoanode.
There is interest in converting solar energy into chemical fuels that can be stored, transported, and used when needed. This process occurs in nature through photosynthesis. In artificial photosynthesis, semiconductors are used to capture photon energy and convert it to charge carriers that can perform chemical reactions to make fuels such as hydrogen and oxygen from water. Artificial photosynthesis can also be used, for example, to make methanol and oxygen from water and carbon dioxide.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Jianwei Sun, Chong Liu, and Peidong Yang, “Surfactant-Free, Large-Scale, Solution-Liquid-Solid Growth of Gallium Phosphide Nanowires and Their Use for Visible-Light-Driven Hydrogen Production from Water Reduction,” J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2011, 133 (48), pp. 19306-19309.
STATUS: Published US Patent Application, 2013/0105305 available at www.uspto.gov.
REFERENCE NUMBER: IB-2975