Solid-state photoelectrochemical hydrogen production (SPECHY) (completed)

This project explores the viability of a novel way to use solar energy to split water, producing hydrogen. This involves the use of a semiconductor electrode on a solid-state high temperature proton conducting electrolyte so as to enable direct formation of dry hydrogen on the cathode, utilizing concentrated solar power, allowing the cell to heat up, utilizing the temperature for evaporation of water and forming a thermal gradient, and utilizing the so formed thermoelectric force on the protons in the solid electrolyte as extra driving power.


The primary objective is to produce hydrogen directly from concentrated sunlight in a novel all-solid-state photoelectrochemical device.

Secondary objectives:

  • Explore the physicochemical viability of using a high temperature solid proton conductor in combination with one or two semiconductor electrodes for steam splitting by sunlight.
  • Explore the use of heat gradient to create additional driving force by thermoelectric power of protons.
  • Explore the use of solar concentrator to heat to sufficiently high temperatures, to thereby evaporate liquid water at one electrode, and thereby create a large thermal gradient for thermoelectric power.
  • Establish cross-disciplinary collaboration and common theoretical understanding of solid-state photoelectrochemistry.
  • Train one post-doc and educate one PhD in the novel field of solid-state photoelectrochemistry.


The project is funded by the Research Council of Norway, through the RENERGI programme.


The project is a physics-chemistry collaborative project that educates and trains one PhD and one post-doc over 3 years.

Published Feb. 24, 2011 4:34 PM - Last modified Jan. 29, 2015 3:06 PM