Photocatalytic hydrogen production has emerged as a promising technology for the direct conversion of solar energy into green hydrogen fuel [1-3]. One of its key advantages is that solar panels and expensive electrolysers are not needed, potentially making hydrogen more economical than electrochemical systems. In general, photocatalytic solar hydrogen production can be achieved through overall water splitting and waste organic reforming, each with its own unique advantages and disadvantages [1-2].

Despite its potential, limited techno-economic modelling has been conducted to evaluate the feasibility of photocatalytic solar hydrogen production processes [4-5]. This research aims to develop an open-source cost analysis tool to assess the techno-economic feasibility of different photocatalytic solar hydrogen production pathways, including overall water splitting and waste organic reforming. The tool is expected to help identify challenges and potential feasible pathways for commercialise the technology.


Chemical Engineering

Research Area

Chemical engineering | Photocatalysis | Renewable energy | Solar fuel conversion

The student will have the opportunity to work in the Particles and Catalysis Research Group (PartCat) under the guidance of Scientia Professor Rose Amal. The student will have the access to computational tools for techno-economic studies. The student will work in a multidisciplinary research environment and learn various functional skills to facilitate a future career in academia or industry.

The student is expected to gain experience in process design and economic feasibility analysis. The project will also provide an opportunity for the student to collaborate with other research students, gaining valuable interdisciplinary experience. The knowledge and data generated will contribute as input to industry stakeholders and will result in a publication in a scientific journal.

[1] Hisatomi, T. & Domen, K. (2019). Reaction Systems for Solar Hydrogen Production via Water Splitting with Particulate Semiconductor Photocatalysts. Nat. Catal. 2, 387-399.

[2] Toe, C. Y. et al. (2021). Advancing Photoreforming of Organics: Highlights on Photocatalyst and System Designs for Selective Oxidation Reactions. Energy Environ. Sci. 14, 1140-1175.

[3] Toe, C. Y. et al. (2022). Identifying Key Design Criteria for Large-Scale Photocatalytic Hydrogen Generation from Engineering and Economic Perspectives. ACS EST Engg. 2, 6, 1130-1143.

[4] Pinaud, B. A. et al. (2013). Technical and Economic Feasibility of Centralized Facilities for Solar Hydrogen Production via Photocatalysis and Photoelectrochemistry. Energy Environ. Sci. 6, 1983-2002.

[5] Uekert, T. et al. (2021). Solar-Driven Reforming of Solid Waste for a Sustainable Future. Nat. Sustain. 4, 383-391.