Case 14286/14688

Solar-Powered Water Splitting with Cobalt-Based Catalyst on Silicon Photoanodes


Water-splitting, solar, self-contained, photosynthesis, water oxidation catalyst, electrolytic deposition, electrolysis


Solar energy storage


Need for an inexpensive catalytic material for electrolyzers that operates under chemically neutral conditions


This invention describes a new approach for forming the Co-Pi catalyst with silicon substrate, forming the final ITO/Si/Co/Co-Pi photoanode structure for photoelectrochemical cells. It is achieved from solutions of only KPi (pH 7) through use of the cobalt metal thin-film electrode as the Co2+ cation source. The invention also shows that such an integration of a silicon photoanode and a catalytic material for water oxidation improves the light-assited catalytic activity and lowers applied potentials necessary to achieve water oxidation.

  • Inexpensive
  • Efficient under neural pH
  • Operable under benign conditions of neutral pH water at atmospheric temperature and pressure
  • Large surface area- allows for more efficient light harvesting and higher photon-to-fuel conversion

  • Professor Vladimir Bulovic (Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, MIT)
  • Professor Daniel G. Nocera (Department of Chemistry, MIT)
  • Elizabeth R. Young (Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, MIT)
  • Ronny Costi (Department of Chemistry, MIT)

Intellectual Property:

PCT Patent Application PCT/US2011/48424, filed August 19, 2011

US Utility Patent Application 13/213690, filed August 19, 2011


Related Cases:

14792: Artificial, Self-Contained, Integrated Photovoltaic-Water-Splitting System for Distributed Solar Fuel Production

14882: Asymmetry of Multi-electron Transfer Kinetics in Oxygen Electrocatalysis and its Application for Highly Active Catalyst Design

Last revised: May 2, 2012

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