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Converting Sewage Water into H2 Fuel Gas Using Cu/CuO Nanoporous Photocatalytic Electrodes


This work reports on H2 fuel generation from sewage water using Cu/CuO nanoporous (NP) electrodes. This is a novel concept for converting contaminated water into H2 fuel. The preparation of Cu/CuO NP was achieved using a simple thermal combustion process of Cu metallic foil at 550 ◦C for 1 h. The Cu/CuO surface consists of island-like structures, with an inter-distance of 100 nm. Each island has a highly porous surface with a pore diameter of about 250 nm. X-ray diffraction (XRD) confirmed the formation of monoclinic Cu/CuO NP material with a crystallite size of 89 nm. The prepared Cu/CuO photoelectrode was applied for H2 generation from sewage water achieving an incident to photon conversion efficiency (IPCE) of 14.6%. Further, the effects of light intensity and wavelength on the photoelectrode performance were assessed. The current density (Jph) value increased from 2.17 to 4.7 mA·cm−2 upon raising the light power density from 50 to 100 mW·cm−2 . Moreover, the enthalpy (∆H*) and entropy (∆S*) values of Cu/CuO electrode were determined as 9.519 KJ mol−1 and 180.4 JK−1 ·mol−1 , respectively. The results obtained in the present study are very promising for solving the problem of energy in far regions by converting sewage water to H2 fuel.

Funding source: The authors extend their appreciation to the Deanship of Scientific Research at Jouf University for funding this work through a research grant (no. DSR-2021-03-0318). Also, we would like to thank Kuwait University for their technical and financial support on this work.
Related subjects: Production & Supply Chain

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