It is becoming more urgent every day to find an efficient alternative to fossil fuels. This need motivates the search for a low-cost and stable photocatalysts to split water and generate hydrogen gas as a clean and renewable source of energy. In this thesis, novel TiO2-CuO and TiO2-Cu composite nanofibers were fabricated and tested for solar hydrogen generation. The effect of annealing the nanofibers in different atmospheres on their crystal structure and morphology was investigated and correlated to the photocatalytic activity of the materials using XRD, electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) techniques, transmission electron microscopy TEM, and Fourier transform infrared FTIR. The optical properties of the fabricated nanofibers were investigated using UV-Vis spectroscopy. The absorption spectra showed that the addition of both CuO or Cu to TiO2 shifts the absorption edge into the visible region of the solar spectrum. The photocatalytic activity and stability of the fabricated nanofibers were tested in a UV-reactor. The metallic copper supported TiO2 nanofibers showed significant enhancement in the amount of hydrogen evolved during the photocatalytic water splitting process. This enhancement can be related to the distinct characteristics of the material including, high surface area and increasing the life time of the photogenerated charge carriers that results in efficient charge separation. The fabricated TiO2-CuO composite nanofibers showed 117% enhancement in the amount of hydrogen evolved during the photocatalytic water splitting process compared to TiO2 nanofibers. On the other hand, TiO2-Cu composite nanofibers showed 344% enhancement compared to that of TiO2 nanofibers. The study showed that Cu is a promising alternative to noble metals as a catalyst in photocatalytic water splitting, with the advantage of being an earth abundant element and a relatively cheap material.
MS in Nanotechnology
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(2018).Unbiased spontaneous solar fuel production using stable composite nanofiber photocatalysts [Master's Thesis, the American University in Cairo]. AUC Knowledge Fountain.
Hasan, Menna. Unbiased spontaneous solar fuel production using stable composite nanofiber photocatalysts. 2018. American University in Cairo, Master's Thesis. AUC Knowledge Fountain.