Development of a Microfluidic Chip for Internal H2 and O2 Generation and Seperation Driven by Solar Light

Y. Pihosh, Y. Kajita, K. Mawatari and T. Kitamori
The University of Tokyo, JP

Keywords: microfluidic device, nano structured TiO2, integration, H2 and O2 generation


Here, we report on the development of water splitting and the gas separation microfluidic device driven by the solar light energy for internal H2 and O2 generation. Firstly, we proposed two-dimensional nano-channels made in fused silica plate for efficient proton (H+) transport and separation. The maximum value of H+ diffusion coefficient was detected when the nano-channels size decreased to 180 nm, and the result was~5 times higher in comparison with the bulk value. Next, a photocatalytic water splitting system was developed and integrated directly into a microfluidic chip made in fused silica plate, with the TiO2 nanostructured photoanode, Pt cathode, nano-channels array as the H+ transfer system and hydrophobic modified micro-channels as the gas-liquid separation system, and the working principle was confirmed. Under solar light irradiation we observed the H2/O2 generation, which was confirmed by the GC-MS technique. In summary, we have proven the fundamentals of the light-driven micro fuel cell fabrication and verified the fuel generation and the gas liquid separation processes in the proposed microfluidic device.