Research Dr. Schneidewind

  Illustrated water molecules are split Copyright: © J. Schneidewind

Photocatalysis for green hydrogen production

Our research focuses on the development of applicable photocatalysts for green hydrogen production. Green hydrogen will play a key role in the energy transition by enabling the integration of renewable energy into mobility and industrial sectors. A promising pathway to access green hydrogen directly from sunlight and water is through the use of photocatalysis. However, we currently lack suitable catalysts to enable this reaction on a large scale. Hence, our group studies novel mechanisms of light-driven water splitting, uses the mechanistic insight for development of new photocatalysts and applies techno-economic as well as lifecycle studies to assess hydrogen production routes.

1. Non-classical mechanisms for photochemical water splitting

Using molecular model systems, we investigate unusual water splitting mechanisms which deviate from the principles of classical photocatalysis. This opens up new strategies for catalysts design, which can lead to enhanced efficiency and/or activity. Synthetic organometallic chemistry, kinetic, spectroscopic and computational methods are combined to conduct these investigations.

Two-photon, visible light water splitting at a molecular ruthenium complex.

2. Development of novel photocatalysts

The mechanistic insight is employed to develop both homogeneous and heterogeneous photocatalysts. To this end, we utilize combinatorial synthesis methods as well as machine learning for catalyst design. Furthermore, suitable methods for catalyst characterization are developed.

3. Techno-economic/lifecycle assessments and production concepts

Hydrogen production pathways are assessed using techno-economic and lifecycle studies, which provides quantitative targets for catalysts development. As part of this work, the open-source techno-economic analysis software pyH2A has been developed. We also devise and experimentally evaluate concepts for hydrogen production.