April 26 - May 1, 2015 in Uppsala, Sweden
Poster Presentation (Sesion A, poster 25)
"SHIFT: Solar Harvesting by InFrared to UV-blue Transformation with rare-earth doped up-conversion luminescent materials"
Here we explore the ground-breaking photonic approach to enhance photocatalytic activity and solar energy harvesting. Within this research we have been studying upconversion luminescence processes in rare-earth (RE) doped materials, with the ability to transform the unused red and near-infrared solar radiation into available UV-blue light, to satisfy the large band-gap requirements of main water-splitting semiconductor electrodes. These highly efficient up-converting RE-doped materials have recently become the hot focus of studies, aimed at increasing the efficiency in solar-driven hydrogen generation, solar fuels, CO2 storage and fine chemicals production.
Thus we have synthesized and comparatively studied a battery of luminescent RE-doped samples, namely fluoride ZBLAN glasses, nano-glass-ceramics, nano-particles hydrothermal KYF4 and K2YF5 fluoride crystals. Also novel 3D cost-effective luminescent organic resins are presented, for an endless range of technological applications in plastics, paintings and coatings targeted to module-scale solar-chemical energy harvesting devices. In this context, our approach aims at optimizing the incident radiation, turning the sun into blue, by up-converting the infrared part of the solar spectrum into UV-blue photons. Up-conversion wavelength SHIFT happens because there is plenty of energy at the bottom. Finally, we envisage a semi-industrial exploitation for sustainable hydrogen production by means of solar seawater splitting within the existing infrastructure of traditional solar salt flats, as a system of shallow seawater pools operating like sun-driven slurry-type photo-reactors, available in Canary Islands, ideal host territory for a sustainable and renewal energy community