Application of conducting polymers in solar water-splitting catalysis
Water splitting is the general term for a chemical reaction in which water is separated into its constituent materials, oxygen and hydrogen. Hydrogen is widely considered to be an ideal fuel of the future due to its potential to replace fossil fuels. The key to an energy-efficient water-splitting process lies in catalysts that can carry out the water oxidation and reduction reactions with minimal energy losses. Conducting polymers are attractive materials for this technology and application because they may combine several desirable properties, including electronic conduction, ionic conduction, sensor functionality, and electrochromism. In this chapter, water splitting assisted by or driven by illumination with sunlight and involving conducting polymers is reviewed. The properties of conducting polymers that make them favorable for this purpose are also discussed. Comparisons of these properties with those of conventional water-splitting materials are made. Finally, a statement of research and achievements of solar hydrogen production through water splitting using conductive polymers will be reported.