CuO–TiO2 pilot-plant system performance for solar photocatalytic hydrogen production

J. G. Villachica-Llamosas, A. Ruiz-Aguirre, G. Colón, J. Peral, S. Malato*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The main goal of the present study was to explore photocatalytic performance of the TiO2–CuO mixture, for solar to hydrogen conversion at pilot plant scale under two different irradiation conditions (sunny and partly cloudy), focusing on high-temperature pretreatment of the catalyst mixture to try to improve TiO2 doping with copper. P25–TiO2 and commercial CuO were used with different amounts of Cu (2 wt% or 7 wt% Cu) calcined at 200–400 °C during several hours. Catalysts were tested at pilot plant scale using solar compound parabolic collectors, with glycerol as the sacrificial agent. The photocatalyst prepared after heating at 200 °C for 3 h and with 7 wt% Cu, resulted in higher hydrogen production than under the other heating conditions, and results were slightly better (5–10%) than the reference values with the untreated catalysts. Photocatalytic efficiency was slightly lower at the higher calcination temperature (400 °C). CO2 production and formation of formate and glycolate clearly demonstrated glycerol photoreforming. The Cu from the calcined catalyst remaining on the solid was significantly less (2.5%) than on the non-calcined catalyst (4.2%), with an important fraction of lixiviated copper and copper deposition on the reactor walls. This is a critical drawback that must be considered for large-scale applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1069-1077
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Hydrogen Energy
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2024


  • Calcined photocatalyst
  • CuO
  • Photocatalytic hydrogen
  • Solar hydrogen generation
  • Solar reactor


Dive into the research topics of 'CuO–TiO2 pilot-plant system performance for solar photocatalytic hydrogen production'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this