Photoelectrochemical Hydrogen Production in Alkaline Solutions Using Cu2O Coated with Earth-Abundant Hydrogen Evolution Catalysts
The splitting of water into hydrogen and oxygen molecules using sunlight is an attractive method for solar energy storage. Until now, photoelectrochemical hydrogen evolution is mostly studied in acidic solutions, in which the hydrogen evolution is more facile than in alkaline solutions. Herein, we report photoelectrochemical hydrogen production in alkaline solutions, which are more favorable than acidic solutions for the complementary oxygen evolution half-reaction. We show for the first time that amorphous molybdenum sulfide is a highly active hydrogen evolution catalyst in basic medium. The amorphous molybdenum sulfide catalyst and a Ni-Mo catalyst are then deposited on surface-protected cuprous oxide photocathodes to catalyze sunlight-driven hydrogen production in 1M KOH. The photocathodes give photocurrents of -6.3mAcm(-2) at the reversible hydrogen evolution potential, the highest yet reported for a metal oxide photocathode using an earth-abundant hydrogen evolution reaction catalyst.