Converting sunlight directly into chemical energy in a transportable fuel is an elegant and practical method to address both energy storage and distribution challenges the world is facing. Current technologies for solar fuels generation have significant challenges in efficiency, durability and cost. Photoelectrochemical (PEC) cells remain an intriguing technology with great potential for solar fuel generation, by exploring semiconductors with good light absorption and good electrocatalystic properties. In PEC hydrogen production, for instance, the desired semiconductor would have to be simultaneously efficient in converting sun light into charge carriers, be a good catalyst toward the chemical reactions of interest, be durable in operation and inexpensive to manufacture. Lack of suitable materials that can perform the energy-conversion process efficiently remains the biggest issue. To meet the challenge, deep understanding in both materials’ solid-state characteristics and semiconductor/electrolyte interface (SEI) properties is crucial for revolutionary development of novel materials, devices and systems.
This symposium provides an international and interdisciplinary forum to present and discuss the latest research and prospective R&D activities on solar fuels generation. The program will address latest advances in fundamental understanding of materials and photocatalysts, kinetics at SEI, development of electrode assemblies and heterostructures, latest architectures of devices and systems, achievements and performances in semiconductor nanostructures, modeling and simulation, as well as advanced characterization techniques. The goal of such multidisciplinary efforts is to engineer materials architectures with tunable photophysical and electrocatalytic properties capable of converting solar energy to chemical energy with high performance under extended operation. This symposium brings together top leaders in science and technology, interested newcomers and world-wide experts; and it would further expand the interest and progress in this area.