[July. 6, 2016]

Researchers develop a natural-artificial photosynthetic hybrid for overall water splitting

   Recently, research group from Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics (DICP) and Dalian National Laboratory for Clean Energy (DNL) led by Prof. Can Li developed a natural-artificial photosynthetic hybrid for overall water splitting. They successfully construct a natural-artificial photosynthetic hybrid composed of spatially separated cyanobacterium photosystem II (PSII) and a silicon photoelectrochemical cell with a tandem manner of solar light absorption. The work as a Hot Paper was published in Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. ( DOI: 10.1002/anie.201604091).

  Solar overall water splitting (2H2O-> 2H2 + O2) to produce H2 fuel is a promising approach to provide clean and renewable energy. But constructing an efficient system to realize this reaction under sunlight irradiation is still a great challenge. Nature offers efficient water oxidation enzyme while artificial photocatalyst is facile for proton reduction. Therefore, it is an attractive approach to integrate strong points of natural and artificial photosynthetic systems for solar water splitting.

   In this work, Si photoelectrochemical cell in the cathodic compartment absorbs solar light at short wavelength for H2 generation and PSII absorbs irradiation passing through the photocathode for O2 evolution in the anodic compartment. The two components are connected by a wire with the aid of ferricyanide/ferrocyanide redox couples.

   The hybrid is able to utilize solar light to split water into separated H2 and O2 stoichiometrically without potential bias. The solar to hydrogen (STH) efficiency is about 0.29%. This proof-of-concept study is important because it affords an amenable route to bridge naturel and artificial systems, which allows them to harness the strengths inherent to both inorganic materials chemistry and biology for the efficient production of solar fuel.

   This work has been financially supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China, 973 National Basic Research Program of the Ministry of Science and Technology and the Collaborative Innovation Center of Chemistry for Energy Materials. (Text/Image by Wangyin Wang, Xu Zong).




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