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Efficient Water-Splitting Device Based on a Bismuth Vanadate Photoanode and Thin-Film Silicon Solar Cells

Authors

  • Lihao Han,

    Corresponding author
    1. Photovoltaic Materials and Devices (PVMD) Laboratory, Delft University of Technology, Mekelweg 4, 2628 CD, Delft (The Netherlands)
    2. Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis (JCAP), California Institute of Technology, 1200 East California Boulevard, Pasadena, CA 91125 (USA)
    • Lihao Han, Photovoltaic Materials and Devices (PVMD) Laboratory, Delft University of Technology, Mekelweg 4, 2628 CD, Delft (The Netherlands)

      Fatwa F. Abdi, Institute for Solar Fuels, Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie GmbH, Hahn-Meitner-Platz 1, 14109 Berlin (Germany)

      Arno H. M. Smets, Photovoltaic Materials and Devices (PVMD) Laboratory, Delft University of Technology, Mekelweg 4, 2628 CD, Delft (The Netherlands)

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    • These authors contributed equally to this work.

  • Dr. Fatwa F. Abdi,

    Corresponding author
    1. Institute for Solar Fuels, Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie GmbH, Hahn-Meitner-Platz 1, 14109 Berlin (Germany)
    2. Materials for Energy Conversion and Storage (MECS) Laboratory, Delft University of Technology, Julianalaan 136, 2628 BL, Delft (The Netherlands)
    • Lihao Han, Photovoltaic Materials and Devices (PVMD) Laboratory, Delft University of Technology, Mekelweg 4, 2628 CD, Delft (The Netherlands)

      Fatwa F. Abdi, Institute for Solar Fuels, Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie GmbH, Hahn-Meitner-Platz 1, 14109 Berlin (Germany)

      Arno H. M. Smets, Photovoltaic Materials and Devices (PVMD) Laboratory, Delft University of Technology, Mekelweg 4, 2628 CD, Delft (The Netherlands)

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    • These authors contributed equally to this work.

  • Prof. Dr. Roel van de Krol,

    1. Institute for Solar Fuels, Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie GmbH, Hahn-Meitner-Platz 1, 14109 Berlin (Germany)
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  • Dr. Rui Liu,

    1. Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis (JCAP), California Institute of Technology, 1200 East California Boulevard, Pasadena, CA 91125 (USA)
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  • Dr. Zhuangqun Huang,

    1. Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis (JCAP), California Institute of Technology, 1200 East California Boulevard, Pasadena, CA 91125 (USA)
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  • Prof. Dr. Hans-Joachim Lewerenz,

    1. Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis (JCAP), California Institute of Technology, 1200 East California Boulevard, Pasadena, CA 91125 (USA)
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  • Prof. Dr. Bernard Dam,

    1. Materials for Energy Conversion and Storage (MECS) Laboratory, Delft University of Technology, Julianalaan 136, 2628 BL, Delft (The Netherlands)
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  • Prof. Dr. Miro Zeman,

    1. Photovoltaic Materials and Devices (PVMD) Laboratory, Delft University of Technology, Mekelweg 4, 2628 CD, Delft (The Netherlands)
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  • Dr. Arno H. M. Smets

    Corresponding author
    1. Photovoltaic Materials and Devices (PVMD) Laboratory, Delft University of Technology, Mekelweg 4, 2628 CD, Delft (The Netherlands)
    • Lihao Han, Photovoltaic Materials and Devices (PVMD) Laboratory, Delft University of Technology, Mekelweg 4, 2628 CD, Delft (The Netherlands)

      Fatwa F. Abdi, Institute for Solar Fuels, Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie GmbH, Hahn-Meitner-Platz 1, 14109 Berlin (Germany)

      Arno H. M. Smets, Photovoltaic Materials and Devices (PVMD) Laboratory, Delft University of Technology, Mekelweg 4, 2628 CD, Delft (The Netherlands)

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Abstract

A hybrid photovoltaic/photoelectrochemical (PV/PEC) water-splitting device with a benchmark solar-to-hydrogen conversion efficiency of 5.2 % under simulated air mass (AM) 1.5 illumination is reported. This cell consists of a gradient-doped tungsten–bismuth vanadate (W:BiVO4) photoanode and a thin-film silicon solar cell. The improvement with respect to an earlier cell that also used gradient-doped W:BiVO4 has been achieved by simultaneously introducing a textured substrate to enhance light trapping in the BiVO4 photoanode and further optimization of the W gradient doping profile in the photoanode. Various PV cells have been studied in combination with this BiVO4 photoanode, such as an amorphous silicon (a-Si:H) single junction, an a-Si:H/a-Si:H double junction, and an a-Si:H/nanocrystalline silicon (nc-Si:H) micromorph junction. The highest conversion efficiency, which is also the record efficiency for metal oxide based water-splitting devices, is reached for a tandem system consisting of the optimized W:BiVO4 photoanode and the micromorph (a-Si:H/nc-Si:H) cell. This record efficiency is attributed to the increased performance of the BiVO4 photoanode, which is the limiting factor in this hybrid PEC/PV device, as well as better spectral matching between BiVO4 and the nc-Si:H cell.

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