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Proceedings Paper

Use of amorphous silicon tandem junction solar cells for hydrogen production in a photoelectrochemical cell
Author(s): Alex Stavrides; Augusto Kunrath; Jian Hu; Richard Treglio; Ari Feldman; Bjorn Marsen; Brian Cole; Eric Miller; Arun Madan
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Paper Abstract

We report the use of amorphous silicon (a-Si) tandem junctions as part of an integral "hybrid" photoelectrochemical (PEC) cell to produce hydrogen directly from water using sunlight. The device configuration consists of stainless steel (SS)/ni2pni1p/ZnO/WO3. When the device is immersed in an electrolyte and illuminated, O2 is evolved at the WO3/electrolyte interface and H2 is produced at the counter electrode. A voltage >1.23V is required to split water; typically 1.6-1.8V are needed, taking account of losses in a practical water-splitting system. We use a-Si tandem cells, deposited by plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition, to supply this voltage. Current matching in the two a-Si subcells is achieved by altering the thicknesses of the two layers (i1 and i2) while keeping their band gaps at ~1.75eV, which results in a device with an open circuit voltage >1.6V, short circuit current density (Jsc) >6mA/cm2 (on SS substrates), and a fill factor >0.6. Deposition on a textured SnO2 coated glass has resulted in Jsc >9mA/cm2. Photoactive WO3 films, deposited using the RF sputtering technique, have achieved photocurrents >3mA/cm2 at 1.6V vs. saturated calomel electrode (SCE). The PEC device operates at the point at which the WO3 photocurrent IV curve and the a-Si (filtered by WO3) light IV curve cross, leading to operating currents of 2.5mA/cm2 and solar-to-hydrogen (STH) conversion efficiency of >3%.

Paper Details

Date Published: 8 September 2006
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 6340, Solar Hydrogen and Nanotechnology, 63400K (8 September 2006); doi: 10.1117/12.678870
Show Author Affiliations
Alex Stavrides, MVSystems, Inc. (United States)
Augusto Kunrath, MVSystems, Inc. (United States)
Jian Hu, MVSystems, Inc. (United States)
Richard Treglio, Colorado School of Mines (United States)
Ari Feldman, Colorado School of Mines (United States)
Bjorn Marsen, Univ. of Hawaii at Manoa (United States)
Brian Cole, Univ. of Hawaii at Manoa (United States)
Eric Miller, Univ. of Hawaii at Manoa (United States)
Arun Madan, MVSystems, Inc. (United States)
Colorado School of Mines (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6340:
Solar Hydrogen and Nanotechnology
Lionel Vayssieres, Editor(s)

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