Solar-powered water splitting/flow cell system for hydrogen and electricity

March 11th, 2022

R&D Focus Areas:
Photochemical and photocatalytic processes, Electrolysis

Lead Organisation:
University of New South Wales

Not applicable


Start date:
June 2022

Completion date:
Estimated June 2025

Key contacts:
Dr Jian Jeffery Pan:

AUD$435,000: Australian Research Council- Discovery Project

Project total cost:
AUD$947,000 – combined cash and in-kind contribution

Project summary description:
This project aims to develop an advanced solar energy conversion system for converting solar energy to hydrogen fuel and electric power. It aims to achieve unprecedented conversion efficiency by Integrating solar water splitting with the rechargeable battery. The solar-powered system without external bias assisted can split water and charge the battery. The significance of this project is to propose an innovative concept of efficient energy conversion and establish a promising research area of solar energy utilization.

The key concept of this project is breaking down the overall water-splitting reaction by inserting a redox medium. An n-type semiconductor works as a photoanode, oxidising water to produce O2 and reducing the negative electrolyte of the flow cell (charging half flow cell). Meanwhile, a p-type semiconductor works as a photocathode, reducing water to produce H2 and oxidising the positive electrolyte of the flow cell (charging half flow cell). In this way, solar energy is converted into chemical energy and electrical power.

The project’s success will bring game-changing breakthroughs, push the frontier of solar energy and accelerate its practical application in the hydrogen industry.

Related publications and key links:
None at this time

Higher degree studies supported:
Three PhD students at the University of New South Wales are supported by this project.


Reviewed: April 2023