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Name researcher

Host institution

Academic promoter

Academic promoter

Robbe Jacops

UHasselt/UAntwerpen (joint PhD)

Prof. An Hardy (UHasselt)

Prof. Tom Breugelmans (UAntwerpen)


Photo-electrochemical (PEC) water splitting for
hydrogen generation


Research video pitch

Green hydrogen production is key to CO2 conversion into CH4, CH3OH etc. Low-cost production of H2 is possible by the photelectrochemical route but how to improve the production rate needs further investigation. Our focus will be on photoelectrode materials, PEC mechanisms and the PEC cell.

In order to produce green H2 at low cost, photoelectrochemical (PEC) routes are investigated. Limitations such as the production rate demand further investigation.  This PhD will cover research of the materials for the photoelectrodes, the photoelectrochemical mechanisms and the PEC cell, towards green hydrogen production.  Earth abundant materials will be selected to form the core of the PEC cell technology.


First, suitable materials to construct the photocathode will be selected, fulfilling the required opto-electronic properties, electrochemical stability against photocorrosion in neutral to basic water, whilst being non-toxic and earth abundant. The selected materials will be synthesized via wet chemical routes, controlling powder and film morphology and porosity for improved efficiency and stability through innovative synthesis methods.  Complementary characterization will establish relations between the synthesis, the materials properties and the photoelectrochemical properties.


This will allow to derive for the catalytic materials their kinetic parameters (i.e. on-set potential, charge transfer resistance, rate constant), stability, and selectivity and fundamental insights into (photo)electrochemical mechanisms will be obtained.


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