Mass transport aspects of electrochemical solar-hydrogen generation

Miguel A. Modestino, S. Mohammad H. Hashemi, Sophia Haussener

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The conception of practical solar-hydrogen generators requires the implementation of engineering design principles that allow photo-electrochemical material systems to operate efficiently, continuously and stably over their lifetime. At the heart of these engineering aspects lie the mass transport of reactants, intermediates and products throughout the device. This review comprehensively covers these aspects and ties together all of the processes required for the efficient production of pure streams of solar-hydrogen. In order to do so, the article describes the fundamental physical processes that occur at different locations of a generalized device topology and presents the state-of-the-art advances in materials and engineering approaches to mitigate mass-transport challenges. Processes that take place in the light absorber and electrocatalyst components are only briefly described, while the main focus is given to mass transport processes in the boundary-layer and bulk liquid or solid electrolytes. Lastly, a perspective on how engineering approaches can enable more efficient solar-fuel generators is presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1533-1551
Number of pages19
JournalEnergy and Environmental Science
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • Pollution


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