Photoelectrochemical CO2 reduction using rationally designed photocathode

Supervisors: Scientia Prof Rose Amal, Dr Cuiying Toe and Ms Shujie Zhou


Photoelectrochemical (PEC) reduction of CO2 into chemical fuels and chemical building blocks is a promising strategy for addressing the energy and environmental challenges[1]. The PEC system, which combines light harvesting photovoltaic and electrochemical components into a monolithically integrated device, relies on the development of p-type photocathodes[2]. Besides, morphology and structural design of photocathode will also play an important role in realizing high performance PEC CO2 reduction.  However, due to the sluggish charge transfer properties and high overpotential required for existing photocathode, the solar-to-fuel efficiency remains far from expectation.

PEC CO2 reduction using photocathode

Generally, the project involves the design of typical p-type photocathode materials (i.e. Cu2O) with difference chemical and optical properties. The effect of structural design on the PEC CO2 reduction performance will also be investigated. By rationally designing the photocathode, it is aimed to achieve a boosted performance on converting CO2 to other value-added chemicals with the help of solar light and bias.

The students selected for this project will be given opportunity to work in Particles and Catalysis Research Group (PartCat) at School of Chemical Engineering, under the supervision of Scientia Professor Rose Amal. The students will have access to state-of-the-art experimentation facilities and advanced characterization equipment, and will gain necessary expertise facilitating their career in industry or academic research. Further information can be obtained by contacting Professor Rose Amal (

Suitable for: Chemical Engineers

Level of difficulty: Challenging

This project cannot be completed in one semester but is available during summer semester..



[1] S. Chu, P. Ou, P. Ghamari, S. Vanka, B. Zhou, I. Shih, J. Song, Z. Mi, Photoelectrochemical CO2 Reduction into Syngas with the Metal/Oxide Interface, Journal of the American Chemical Society, 140 (2018) 7869-7877.

[2] X. Deng, R. Li, S. Wu, L. Wang, J. Hu, J. Ma, W. Jiang, N. Zhang, X. Zheng, C. Gao, L. Wang, Q. Zhang, J. Zhu, Y. Xiong, Metal–Organic Framework Coating Enhances the Performance of Cu2O in Photoelectrochemical CO2 Reduction, Journal of the American Chemical Society, 141 (2019) 10924-10929.