Skip to main content

Freestanding energy-to-Hydrogen fuel by water splitting using Earth-abundant materials in a novel, eco-friendly, sustainable and scalable photoelectrochemical Cell system

Objective

The FreeHydroCells project aims to create a new photoelectrochemical system capable of clean, efficient solar-to-chemical energy conversion, with hydrogen gas storing the chemical energy. The system would mimic the solar-energy absorption potential of a leaf by arraying cascades of nanometre thick semiconducting materials as buried pn-junctions that, when submerged in water and exposed to sunlight, are capable of freestanding photoelectrochemical water splitting. A number of technological challenges restrict the cost-effective efficiency of clean, green, solar-to-chemical hydrogen, state-of-the-art systems, making it commercially unattractive, and severely limiting hydrogen’s role in decarbonisation. However, the FreeHydroCells project proposes to leverage a number of advancements in thin film materials, devices, and processes to make similar breakthroughs in photoelectrochemical band-engineering for interconnected bands, defect minimisation, thin film thickness uniformity continuity to minimise drift-dominated transit times, carrier doping for high conductivity, carrier type selectivity and, importantly, preventing significant recombination of light-generated carriers by ensuring drift transport under multiple in-built electric fields. These breakthroughs would transform the transfer efficiency of solar-to-chemical energy via the carefully aligned redox potential and propel the photoelectrochemical water splitting reactions to morph solar energy into hydrogen bonds. The new materials system could be cost-effectively realised through modified delivery techniques of atomic layer deposition and chemical vapour deposition in manufacturing-compatible, large-area capable, equipment that is now common in commercial chip and solar cell processing technologies. FreeHydroCells’ multidisciplinary expertise is key to making this substantial science-to-technology leap: to verify a paradigm proof-of-concept for a self-driven system suitable for up-scaling and commercialisation.

Coordinator

UNIVERSITY COLLEGE CORK - NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF IRELAND, CORK
Net EU contribution
€ 1 510 442,50
Address
Western Road
T12 YN60 Cork
Ireland

See on map

Region
Ireland Eastern and Midland Dublin
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Other funding
€ 1 510 442,50

Participants (6)

COMMISSARIAT A L ENERGIE ATOMIQUE ET AUX ENERGIES ALTERNATIVES
France
Net EU contribution
€ 714 564,00
Address
Rue Leblanc 25
75015 Paris 15

See on map

Region
Ile-de-France Ile-de-France Paris
Activity type
Research Organisations
Other funding
€ 714 564,00
UCC ACADEMY DESIGNATED ACTIVITY COMPANY
Ireland
Net EU contribution
€ 280 485,00
Address
University College Cork National University Of Ireland Western Road
T12 Cork

See on map

Region
Ireland Eastern and Midland Dublin
Activity type
Other
Other funding
€ 280 485,00
RHEINISCH-WESTFAELISCHE TECHNISCHE HOCHSCHULE AACHEN
Germany
Net EU contribution
€ 319 000,00
Address
Templergraben 55
52062 Aachen

See on map

Region
Nordrhein-Westfalen Köln Städteregion Aachen
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Other funding
€ 319 000,00
CONSIGLIO NAZIONALE DELLE RICERCHE
Italy
Net EU contribution
€ 389 186,00
Address
Piazzale Aldo Moro 7
00185 Roma

See on map

Region
Centro (IT) Lazio Roma
Activity type
Research Organisations
Other funding
€ 389 186,00
GESELLSCHAFT FUR ANGEWANDTE MIKRO UND OPTOELEKTRONIK MIT BESCHRANKTERHAFTUNG AMO GMBH
Germany
Net EU contribution
€ 351 500,00
Address
Otto Blumenthal Strasse
52074 Aachen

See on map

SME

The organization defined itself as SME (small and medium-sized enterprise) at the time the Grant Agreement was signed.

Yes
Region
Nordrhein-Westfalen Köln Städteregion Aachen
Activity type
Other
Other funding
€ 351 500,00
BARDS ACOUSTIC SCIENCE LABS
Ireland
Net EU contribution
€ 183 122,50
Address
2 Woodview, Camden Road, Crosshaven
P43W590 Cork

See on map

SME

The organization defined itself as SME (small and medium-sized enterprise) at the time the Grant Agreement was signed.

Yes
Region
Ireland Southern South-East
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
Other funding
€ 183 122,50