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Photovoltaics to Fuels Technology

The Photovoltaics to Fuels Technology (PVFT) Group focuses on developing device concepts that integrate photovoltaic devices with electrolysers for the purpose of generating fuels such as hydrogen from solar energy.  Specific emphasis is placed on integrating existing photovoltaic and electrolyser technologies to develop devices that are attractive for sustainable energy generation, conversion and storage systems of the future.  Our research is thus guided by the techno-economic demands on commercially relevant photovoltaic to fuel conversion systems that is, achieving high energy efficiency at the lowest possible cost.

Main activities

  • Design, fabrication and performance characterization of electrolysers, fuel cells and electrochemical hydrogen compressors for integration with photovoltaics
  • Modelling and simulation of device behavior and degradation for accelerated design optimisation
  • Large area deposition and characterising of candidate earth abundant functional (electrocatalysts, anti-corrosion, wide band gap photoabsorbers, reflective coatings) materials for use in both photovoltaic and electrochemical cells
  • Conducting techno-socio-economic studies and life cycle analysis of diverse photovoltaic integrated electrochemical systems
  • Collaborative research and development with industry, universities and other research organisations

Collaborations and Projects

Ongoing

  • CatLab - Catalysis Laboratory; Funding: German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF); Duration: 01/12/2020 – 30/11/2025
  • Zukunftsthema „Solarer Wasserstoff – hochrein und komprimiert“; Funding: Helmholtz Association via Innovationspool (InnoPool)-Projekt 2021-2023 des FB Energie – Programm MTET; Duration: 1/1/2021 – 31/12/2023
  • H2Demo – Green Hydrogen Produced by Direct Solar Water Splitting; Funding from: German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF); Duration: 01/12/2020 – 28/02/2026
  • TELEGRAM –Toward Efficient Electrochemical Green Ammonia Cycle; Funding from: European Union's Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme; Duration: 01/11/2020- 30/04/2024
  • Helmholtz Excellence Network SolarMath; Funding from: Helmholtz Association; Duration: 01/05/2019- 31/12/2021
  • Helmholtz-Israel International Research School on Hybrid Integrated Systems for Conversion of Solar Energy (HI-SCORE); Funding from: Helmholtz Association; Duration: 01/02/February 2018 – 31/01/2024
  • PVcomB internal cooperation with the Silicon PV group and the CIGS PV groups that provide the photovoltaic devices for our activities and the Outdoor Analytics group that hosts our outdoor test bed;
  • HZB internal cooperation with the Solar Fuels institute 

Past

  • PECSYS - Technology demonstration of large scale photo-electrochemical system for solar hydrogen production; Funding from: European Union's Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme (Grant Agreement Nr: 735218) ; Duration: 2017-2020
  • HEMF - Helmholtz Energy Materials Foundry; Duration: 2016 -2020; Note: Facilities still available for booking here.
  • Energy System 2050a joint initiative of the research field energy of the Helmholtz Association; Funding from: Helmholtz Association; Duration: 2015-2020