A novel CeO2xSnO2/Ce2Sn2O7 pyrochlore cycle for enhanced solar thermochemical water splitting



A novel CeO2–xSnO2/Ce2Sn2O7 pyrochlore stoichiometric redox cycle with superior H2 production capacities is identified and corroborated for two-step solar thermochemical water splitting (STWS). During the first thermal reduction step (1400°C), a reaction between CeO2 and SnO2 occurred for all the CeO2–xSnO2 (x = 0.05–0.20) solid compounds, forming thermodynamically stable Ce2Sn2O7 pyrochlore rather than metastable CeO2-δ. Consequently, substantially higher reduction extents were achieved owing to the reduction of CeIV to CeIII. Moreover, in the subsequent reoxidation with H2O (800°C), H2 production capacities increased by a factor of 3.8 as compared to the current benchmark material ceria when x = 0.15, with the regeneration of CeO2 and SnO2 and the concomitant reoxidation of CeIII to CeIV. The H2O-splitting performance for CeO2–0.15SnO2 was reproducible over seven consecutive redox cycles, indicating the material was also robust. © 2017 American Institute of Chemical Engineers AIChE J, 63: 3450–3462, 2017