The Department of Energy supports the Materials Information Infrastructure and creation of materials knowledge through integrated research at its Energy Innovation Hubs. Their mission is to discover, understand, control, and deploy clean energy solutions for energy storage in batteries and fuel from sunlight. The Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis (JCAP) finds new and effective ways to produce fuels using only sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide.
Solar fuel technologies require durable and scalable materials that evolve oxygen from water to enable fuel synthesis. Researchers at JCAP integrated combinatorial synthesis with high-throughput electrochemistry to discover 49 ternary oxide photoanodes, 36 with visible-light response for oxygen evolution, which equals the number of photoanodes with visible-light response discovered in the 50-year history of solar fuels research. Computational guidance of high-throughput experiments has been particularly effective in dramatically increasing the list of metal-oxide photoanodes for water splitting and hydrogen production, motivating a new era of photoanode development where the characterization and optimization techniques developed on traditional materials are applied to next-generation photoanodes that exhibit visible-light photo response.
The accelerated discovery of photoanodes illustrates success via harnessing the complexity of metal oxides.