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      Utilizing solar energy to improve the oxygen evolution reaction kinetics in zinc–air battery

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          Abstract

          Directly harvesting solar energy for battery charging represents an ultimate solution toward low-cost, green, efficient and sustainable electrochemical energy storage. Here, we design a sunlight promotion strategy into rechargeable zinc–air battery with significantly reduced charging potential below the theoretical cell voltage of zinc–air batteries. The sunlight-promoted zinc–air battery using BiVO 4 or α-Fe 2O 3 air photoelectrode achieves a record-low charge potential of ~1.20 and ~1.43 V, respectively, under illumination, which is lowered by ~0.5–0.8 V compared to the typical charge voltage of ~2 V in conventional zinc–air battery. The band structure and photoelectrochemical stability of photoelectrodes are found to be key factors determining the charging performance of sunlight-promoted zinc–air batteries. The introduction of photoelectrode as an air electrode opens a facile way for developing integrated single-unit zinc–air batteries that can efficiently use solar energy to overcome the high charging overpotential of conventional zinc–air batteries.

          Abstract

          The authors here report a sunlight-promoted rechargeable zinc–air battery in which photoelectrode is used as the air electrode to substantially lower the charge potential under illumination. Notably, the battery can be initially charged with an extremely low voltage of ~1.20 V.

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          Most cited references 32

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          New benchmark for water photooxidation by nanostructured alpha-Fe2O3 films.

          Thin films of silicon-doped Fe2O3 were deposited by APCVD (atmospheric pressure chemical vapor deposition) from Fe(CO)5 and TEOS (tetraethoxysilane) on SnO2-coated glass at 415 degrees C. HRSEM reveals a highly developed dendritic nanostructure of 500 nm thickness having a feature size of only 10-20 nm at the surface. Real surface area determination by dye adsorption yields a roughness factor of 21. XRD shows the films to be pure hematite with strong preferential orientation of the [110] axis vertical to the substrate, induced by silicon doping. Under illumination in 1 M NaOH, water is oxidized at the Fe2O3 electrode with higher efficiency (IPCE = 42% at 370 nm and 2.2 mA/cm2 in AM 1.5 G sunlight of 1000 W/m2 at 1.23 VRHE) than at the best reported single crystalline Fe2O3 electrodes. This unprecedented efficiency is in part attributed to the dendritic nanostructure which minimizes the distance photogenerated holes have to diffuse to reach the Fe2O3/electrolyte interface while still allowing efficient light absorption. Part of the gain in efficiency is obtained by depositing a thin insulating SiO2 interfacial layer between the SnO2 substrate and the Fe2O3 film and a catalytic cobalt monolayer on the Fe2O3 surface. A mechanistic model for water photooxidation is presented, involving stepwise accumulation of four holes by two vicinal iron or cobalt surface sites.
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            Metal-Air Batteries with High Energy Density: Li-Air versus Zn-Air

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              Photo-electrochemical hydrogen generation from water using solar energy. Materials-related aspects

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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                cheng.zhong@tju.edu.cn
                wbhu@tju.edu.cn
                Journal
                Nat Commun
                Nat Commun
                Nature Communications
                Nature Publishing Group UK (London )
                2041-1723
                18 October 2019
                18 October 2019
                2019
                : 10
                Affiliations
                [1 ]ISNI 0000 0004 1761 2484, GRID grid.33763.32, Key Laboratory of Advanced Ceramics and Machining Technology (Ministry of Education), School of Materials Science and Engineering, , Tianjin University, ; 300072 Tianjin, China
                [2 ]Joint School of National University of Singapore and Tianjin University, International Campus of Tianjin University, 350207 Binhai New City, Fuzhou China
                [3 ]ISNI 0000 0001 2175 0319, GRID grid.185648.6, Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, , University of Illinois at Chicago, ; Chicago, IL 60607 USA
                [4 ]ISNI 0000 0004 0368 8293, GRID grid.16821.3c, State Key Laboratory of Metal Matrix Composites, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, , Shanghai Jiao Tong University, ; 200240 Shanghai, China
                Article
                12627
                10.1038/s41467-019-12627-2
                6800449
                31628345
                © The Author(s) 2019

                Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

                Funding
                Funded by: FundRef https://doi.org/10.13039/501100001809, National Natural Science Foundation of China (National Science Foundation of China);
                Award ID: 51771134
                Award Recipient :
                Funded by: National Science Foundation for Excellent Young Scholar (No. 51722403);National Youth Talent Support Program;National Natural Science Foundation of China and Guangdong Province (No. U1601216), and Tianjin Natural Science Foundation for Distinguished Young Scholar (No. 18JCJQJC46500).
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