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Summer Research Fellowship Programme of India's Science Academies

Non-Noble Metal Photocatalysts for Hydrogen Production

Dr. Pranjal Saikia

Department of Applied Sciences, Gauhati University, Guwahati 781014

Dr. C. S. Gopinath

Chief Scientist and Chair, Catalysis Division and Centre of Excellence on Surface Science, CSIR-National Chemical Laboratory, Pune 411008

Abstract

An eco-friendly method for sustainable energy production is indeed the need of the hour. Development of visible-light-driven photocatalysts to produce hydrogen by water splitting using solar energy is an attractive means in this regard. It offers an approach for capturing available solar energy and converting it into hydrogen fuel. To date, many photocatalysts have been reported that are capable of producing hydrogen from water in presence or in absence of sacrificial agents. Among them, noble metals (M = Pd, Au or Pt) as co-catalysts over TiO2 are known to show the best and most stable performance. However, the practical application for the design and development of industrial photocatalysts for this purpose is limited. This is because noble metals are expensive with very low natural abundance. Hence, the identification of alternative low-cost co-catalysts that can enhance the photo-catalytic activity of TiO2 for hydrogen production is the main concern of our present study. In this direction, some non-noble metal alloy catalysts have been prepared (M/ = combination of first row transition metals) with different proportions of metals. These catalyst systems have been evaluated for photocatalytic water-splitting under one sun condition. The physico-chemical characterization of the effective catalyst systems have been performed using different analytical techniques. There is ample scope for further studies on efficient charge-carrier utilization for improved photocatalytic water-splitting by developing effective methodology.

Keywords or phrases: photocatalysis, energy utilization, water splitting, future fuel, alloy catalysts, HER

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