Review of photocatalytic water-splitting methods for sustainable hydrogen production

Canan Acar, Ibrahim Dincer, Greg F. Naterer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

404 Citations (Scopus)


This paper examines photocatalytic hydrogen production as a clean energy solution to address challenges of climate change and environmental sustainability. Advantages and disadvantages of various hydrogen production methods, with a particular emphasis on photocatalytic hydrogen production, are discussed in this paper. Social, environmental and economic aspects are taken into account while assessing selected production methods and types of photocatalysts. In the first part of this paper, various hydrogen production options are introduced and comparatively assessed. Then, solar‐based hydrogen production options are examined in a more detailed manner along with a comparative performance assessment. Next, photocatalytic hydrogen production options are introduced, photocatalysis mechanisms and principles are discussed and the main groups of photocatalysts, namely titanium oxide, cadmium sulfide, zinc oxide/sulfide and other metal oxide‐based photocatalyst groups, are introduced. After discussing recycling issues of photocatalysts, a comparative performance assessment is conducted based on hydrogen production processes (both per mass and surface area of photocatalysts), band gaps and quantum yields. The results show that among individual photocatalysts, on average, Au–CdS has the best performance when band gap, quantum yield and hydrogen production rates are considered. From this perspective, TiO2–ZnO has the poorest performance. Among the photocatalyst groups, cadmium sulfides have the best average performance, while other metal oxides show the poorest rankings, on average.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1449-1473
JournalInternational journal of energy research
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2016
Externally publishedYes


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