Advanced Photoactive Materials for Solar Energy Conversion and Environmental Protection

Intensive research activity in advanced materials for solar energy conversion and environmental protection is currently underway. Following a holistic approach comprising the design, synthesis and characterization of photoactive materials (molecular and nanostructured), reaction mechanisms elucidation, process engineering and device fabrication/optimization), the investigation is targeting their effective incorporation in third generation photovoltaics and photocatalytic reactors.

This presentation focuses on panchromatic absorbers and nanotubular electrodes compatible with very innovative (liquid and/or solidified) redox electrolytes and their incorporation in dye-sensitized solar cells. In addition, particular emphasis is devoted on hybrid organic-inorganic halide (OD, 1D, and 3D) perovskites (lead-based and lead-free/tin-based) with exceptional structural, optoelectronic and morphological properties synthesized via both solution and solid state chemistry. Very innovative interface engineering strategies (dye sensitization and dimensionality engineering approaches) to functionalize the ETL/absorber and absorber/HTM interfaces and prepare robust and highly efficient perovskite solar cells, are also reported.

In parallel pioneer work in the field of photocatalysis is presented, including the design and synthesis of innovative visible light activated (VLA) nanostructured photocatalysts, the evaluation of their performance in both oxidation and reaction reactions against a large number of emerging water contaminants, and the elucidation of the corresponding degradation mechanisms. In parallel, recent developments in the field of advanced oxidation processes and technologies (AOPs/AOTs) are discussed, with special focus on a novel water detoxification technology which takes advantage of solar light and advanced titania photocatalysts for the destruction of extremely hazardous toxins and pollutants in natural waters and water supplies. This activity is further highlighted with the implementation of the scaling-up of a new technology for the purification, reuse and sustainable management of wastewater effluents generated in fruit and steel industries.

Acknowledgments

P.F. acknowledges funding by Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz International Prize for Water (PSIPW)-Alternative Water Resources Prize 2014, the Action ‘Flagship Research Projects in challenging interdisciplinary sectors with practical applications in Greek Industry’ (implemented through the National Recovery and Resilience Plan Greece 2.0 and funded by the European Union – NextGenerationEU (project code: TAEDR-0537347)), the EC Environment Programme (EU: H2020 LIFE17 ENVGR 000357 PureAgroH2O Project), and the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 958274” within the framework of iWAYS (Innovative WAter recoverY Solutions) project.