The use of irradiated semiconductor-liquid interfaces for hydrogen generation is now a mature field of research. Indeed, impressive results have been obtained at the laboratory scale over the past three decades and a myriad of new semiconductor materials have been discovered. On the other hand, much needs to be done to improve the H2 generation efficiencies. The photoelectrolysis process must be engineered and scaled up for routine practical use. In this regard, oxide and chalcogenide semiconductors appear to be particularly promising, especially from a process economics perspective. While interesting chemistry, physics, and materials science discoveries will continue to push this field forward, in the author's crystal ball, two types of R&D will be crucial: the use of combinatorial, high throughput methods for photoca-talyst development368,574 and innovations in reactor/process engineering once efficiencies at the laboratory scale have been optimized at a routinely-attainable ~ 10% benchmark. Only then will the long sought after goal of efficiently making H2 from sunlight and water using inexpensive and stable semiconductors be realized.
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