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A Bio-Inspired, Small Molecule Electron-Coupled-Proton Buffer for Decoupling the Half-Reactions of Electrolytic Water Splitting

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journal contribution
posted on 18.09.2013, 00:00 by Benjamin Rausch, Mark D. Symes, Leroy Cronin
Electron-coupled-proton buffers (ECPBs) allow H2 and O2 evolution to be separated from each other in time during the electrolysis of water. Natural photosynthetic systems achieve an analogous feat during water splitting and employ a range of intermediate redox mediators such as quinone derivatives to aid this process. Drawing on this natural example, we show that a low molecular weight quinone derivative is capable of decoupling H2 evolution from O2 evolution at scale during electrochemical water splitting. This work could significantly lower the cost of ECPBs, paving the way for their more widespread adoption in water splitting.