2019 Top Publications

Photoelectrocatalytic H2 evolution from integrated photocatalysts adsorbed on NiO

Authors: Nils Poldme, Laura O’Reilly, Ian Fletcher, Jose Portoles, Igor V. Sazanovich, Michael Towrie, Conor Long, Johannes G. Vos, Mary T. Pryce*, Elizabeth A. Gibson
Journal: Chemical Science, 2019, 10, 99–112
Significance: Understanding the excited state dynamics of a photosensitiser is essential in designing materials for incorporating into dye-sensitised photoelectrochemical cells for hydrogen generation, together with accurate modelling of the long-lived charge separated state and the localisation of the charge remote from the NiO surface, as this can help in reducing the efficiency of the charge recombination processes. In this manuscript, in addition to designing the cell and quantifying the hydrogen generated we have also probed the photochemical dynamics in solution, and when the catalysts are immobilised onto NiO using picosecond time resolved techniques. This manuscript is the first example where an intramolecular assembly has been integrated onto a semiconductor surface, and the early pico second dynamics probed

Copper Silicide Nanowires as Hosts for Amorphous Si Deposition as a Route to Produce High Capacity Lithium-Ion Battery Anodes

Authors: K Stokes, H Geaney, M Sheehan, D Borsa, KM Ryan
Journal: Nano letters 19 (12), 8829-8835
Significance: This paper has resulted from an €8m H2020 project led by MaREI researchers at UL, and comprises a joint academic and industry publication that uses a novel copper silicide architecture developed at UL as a host for active material deposition, which allows for anode fabrication without binders and conductive additives

How to optimise photosynthetic biogas upgrading: a perspective on system design and microalgae selection?

Authors: A. Bose, Richen Lin, K. Rajendran, R. O’Shea, Ao Xia, J.D. Murphy
Journal: Biotechnology Advances
Significance: Photosynthetic biogas upgrading using microalgae provides a promising alternative to commercial upgrading processes. A two-step absorption column-photobioreactor system employing alkaline carbonate solution and flat plate photobioreactors is proposed. Together with process optimisation, the choice of microalgae species is vital to ensure continuous performance with optimal efficiency. In addition to critically assessing the system design and operation conditions for optimisation, five criteria are selected for choosing optimal microalgae species for biogas upgrading. These include: ability for mixotrophic growth; high pH tolerance; external carbonic anhydrase activity; high CO2 tolerance; and ease of harvesting. Five common microalgae species were identified as potential candidates. Of these, Spirulina platensis is deemed the most favourable. An industrial perspective of the technology further reveals the significant challenges for successful commercial application of microalgal upgrading of biogas, including: significant land footprint; need for decreasing microalgae solution recirculation rate; and selecting preferable microalgae utilisation pathway. Currently, a 1 MWe biogas plant would require 12.9 hectares of open pond or 4.9 hectares of flat plate photobioreactors