Solar-to-hydrogen conversions using novel catalysis

November 30th, 2021

R&D Focus Areas:
Photochemical and photocatalytic processes, Fossil fuel conversion, Biomass and waste conversion

Lead Organisation:
Edith Cowan University (ECU)

The University of Adelaide


Start date:
May 2017

Completion date:
Not applicable

Key contacts:
Professor Hongqi Sun:

ECU Vice-Chancellor’s Professorial Research Fellowship and ECU PhD scholarships

Project total cost:
AUD$500,000 combined cash and in-kind contribution

Project summary description:
This aim of this project is to develop photo-assisted catalysis for hydrogen energy preparation, biomass reforming and fossil fuels upgrading, and to have insights into their reaction mechanisms. The in-plane heterostructured graphene/carbon nitride photocatalyst was prepared via a hydrogen-initiated chemical epitaxial growth strategy. With the nano-graphene into the porous carbon nitride, the quantum efficiency of the water splitting reaction for hydrogen generation was significantly enhanced. Meanwhile, the quantum efficiency and utilization of solar light for hydrogen evolution were both improved via the optimization of potential differences in photocatalytic systems. In addition, the active sites and relationships between photocatalysis and thermocatalysis in photothermal catalytic systems were both studied in-depth. With the available reaction mechanism and optimization of reaction conditions, the photothermal catalytic performances in the hydrogen production via upgrading of fossil fuels are increased to the industrialization level.

Moreover, photoreforming of biomass was found to be able to improve the efficiency of hydrogen production as a kind of innovative method. This project also focuses on the development of semiconductor photocatalysts for the photoreforming of the biomass of glucose, lignocellulose, lignin and cellulose.

Related publications and key links:
Edit Book: Hongqi Sun (2021), Solar-to-chemical conversion: Photocatalytic and photoelectrochemical processes, Wiley-VCH.

Project demonstration:

List of selected publications:
Jinqiang Zhang, Yunguo Li, Xiaoli Zhao, Liang Wang, Haijun Chen, Shuaijun Wang, Xinyuan Xu, Lei Shi, Lai-Chang Zhang, Yuezhao Zhu, Huayang Zhang, Yazi Liu, Gareth Nealon, Shu Zhang, Mingbo Wu, Shaobin Wang, Hongqi Sun, Aligning potential differences within carbon nitride based photocatalysis for efficient solar energy harvesting, Nano Energy, 89 (2021) 106357

Xiaojie Li, Panpan Zhang, Huayang Zhang, Wenjie Tian, Yangyang Yang, Kunsheng Hu, Dechao Chen, Qin Li, Xiaoguang Duan, Hongqi Sun, Shaobin Wang, van der Waals type II carbon nitride homojunctions for visible light photocatalytic hydrogen evolution, Nano Research, in press, 2021.

Jinqiang Zhang, Yunguo Li, Xiaoli Zhao, Huayang Zhang, Liang Wang, Haijun Chen, Shuaijun Wang, Xinyuan Xu, Lei Shi, Lai-Chang Zhang, Jean-Pierre Veder, Shiyong Zhao, Gareth Nealon, Mingbo Wu, Shaobin Wang, Hongqi Sun, A hydrogen-initiated chemical epitaxial growth strategy for in-plane heterostructured photocatalyst, ACS Nano, 14 (2020) 17505-17514

Xinyuan Xu, Jinqiang Zhang, Shuaijun Wang, Zhengxin Yao, Hong Wu, Lei Shi, Yu Yin, Shaobin Wang, Hongqi Sun, Photocatalytic reforming of biomass for hydrogen production over ZnS nanoparticles modified carbon nitride nanosheets, Journal of colloid and interface science, 556 (2019) 22-30

Higher degree studies supported:
Two PhD projects at ECU


November 2021