Computational Screening of Energy Materials

Research output: Book/ReportPh.D. thesisResearch

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Abstract

The current energy consumption of the worlds population relies heavily on fossil fuels. Unfortunately, the consumption of fossil fuels not only results in the emission of greenhouse gases which have deleterious effect on the envrionment but also the fossil fuel reserve is limited. Therefore, it is the need of the hour to search for environmentally benign renewable energy resources. The biggest source of the renewable energy is our sun and the immense energy it provides can be used to power the whole planet. However, an efficient way to harvest the solar energy to meet all the energy demand has not been realized yet.
A promising way to utilize the solar energy is the photon assisted water splitting. The process involves the absorption of sunlight with a semiconducting material (or a photoabsorber) and the generated electron-hole pair can be used to produce hydrogen by splitting the water. However, a single material cannot accomplish the whole process of the hydrogen evolution. In order do so, a material should be able to absorb the sunlight and generate the electronhole pairs and evolve hydrogen at the cathode and oxygen at anode using the generated electron and hole respectively.
This thesis using first-principle calculations explores materials for the light absorption with the bandgap, band edge positions and the stability in aqueous conditions as descriptors. This strategy results in a handful of materials which can act as good photoabsorbers for the water splitting reaction. Additionally, strategies to tune the bandgap for different applications is also explored. To carry out the cathode reaction, two-dimensional metal dichalcogenides and oxides are explored with a suggestion of few potential candidates for the hydrogen evolution reaction.
The thermodynamics of all the above process requires an accurate description of the energies with the first-principle calculations. Therefore, along this line the accuracy and predictability of the Meta-Generalized Gradient Approximation functional with Bayesian error estimation is also assessed.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationKongens Lyngby
PublisherTechnical University of Denmark
Number of pages158
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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