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Integration of the synthesis strategies to improve the charge carriers transport and efficiency of BiVO4 applied in artificial photosynthesis under sunlight

Grant number: 19/15434-2
Support type:Regular Research Grants
Duration: January 01, 2020 - December 31, 2021
Field of knowledge:Physical Sciences and Mathematics - Physics - Condensed Matter Physics
Cooperation agreement: CONFAP - National Council of State Research Support Foundations
Principal Investigator:Renato Vitalino Gonçalves
Grantee:Renato Vitalino Gonçalves
Home Institution: Instituto de Física de São Carlos (IFSC). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Carlos , SP, Brazil

Abstract

International reports point out that fossil fuels will suffer a dramatic reduction in their reserves in the next century and to mitigate the consequences of energy dependence on fossil fuels, it is important to develop processes and technologies that increase the generation of energy from renewable sources. Within this context, the H2 production via water splitting through artificial photosynthesis using sunlight and a semiconductor is certainly one of the most promising ways to produce clean energy. This project aims to promote photochemical processes driven by solar energy using BiVO4 as a photocatalyst to simulate natural photosynthesis and generate energy. The BiVO4 semiconductor is one of the few materials that presents promising characteristics to perform the reaction of artificial photosynthesis efficiently, since it has theoretical values of 7.6 mA.cm-2 photocurrent and conversion efficiency (STH) of 9.3% , which are ideal for large scale applications. However, the best results obtained with BiVO4 are still below these theoretical values due to some limitations and problems associated with the rapid recombination of charge carriers and slow charge carrier electronic transport, which need to be overcome in order to increase their efficiency at levels closer to its theoretical values. To improve the properties of electronic transport, here we propose different synthesis methodologies; solvotermal assisted by ionic liquid, Pecchini method, magnetron sputtering and integration of these methodologies to obtain the best photoanode of BiVO4. With the expectation of developing innovative technologies, this proposal presents synergistic elements that combine different and complementary scientific experiments of the involved researchers, making the proposal feasible and promising to develop devices based on BiVO4 with properties suitable for H2 production via artificial photosynthesis as well as the training of the researchers in new areas, national public awareness, in order to benefit the economy, manpower and the environment of the states of São Paulo, Rio Grande do Sul and Brazil as a whole. (AU)