The BIST Ignite Project InWOC aimed to answer fundamental questions about water splitting and solar fuels. Water oxidation is considered the bottleneck in the development of an efficient and cost-effective water splitting technology for the production of renewable fuels. One of the challenges resides in substituting heterogeneous noble metal catalysts by earth-abundant counterparts, maintaining the efficiency and performance required for technological applications. InWOC aimed to tackle this important problem.
With this objective, the groups of ICREA Prof. J.R. Galán Mascarós at ICIQ and ICREA Prof. J. Arbiol at ICN2 joined efforts thanks to the BIST Ignite Programme. The collaboration started in 2016, with PhD students PengYi Tang and LiJuan Han, who simultaneously started their work in both groups. The collaboration was rapidly very fruitful with both students, who already knew each other from their Master studies in China, acting as a wonderful and strong link between both teams. The complementary expertise in electrochemistry and catalysis from the ICIQ side created a perfect symbiosis with the advanced materials characterization skills reaching atomic scale at ICN2.
InWOC, through the BIST Ignite Programme‘s first and second phase grants, was the catalyzer that helped start a successful love story. Now, both of our main actors, PengYi Tang and LiJuan Han, have already graduated, with PhD awards, a promising future in academics, and with wedding plans in the near future.
After three years of hard work and several outstanding scientific results together (1, 2, 3), it is clear our collaboration is a long term project, and we are in an excellent position to look for other funding opportunities, hopefully at the European level.
We are grateful for this new collaboration, where the BIST Ignite Programme was the catalyst and catalysis has been our joint working plan ever since. We are more than happy with the overall experience and wish all other BIST Ignite Projects as fruitful of an experience as we have had.
 Lijuan Han, Pengyi Tang, Alvaro Reyes-Carmona, Barbara Rodriguez-Garcia, Mabel Torrens, Joan Ramon Morante, Jordi Arbiol, Jose Ramon Galan-Mascaros. Enhanced activity and acid pH stability of Prussian blue-type oxygen evolution electrocatalysts processed by chemical etching. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 138, 16037-16045 (2016)
 Pengyi Tang, HaiBing Xie, Carles Ros, LiJuan Han, Martí Biset-Peiró, Yongmin He, Wesley Kramer, Alejandro Perez-Rodriguez, Edgardo Saucedo, Jose Galan-Mascaros, Teresa Andreu, Joan R. Morante, Jordi Arbiol. Enhanced Photoelectrochemical Water Splitting of Hematite Multilayer Nanowires Photoanode with Tuning Surface State via Bottom-up Interfacial Engineering. Energy & Environmental Science, 10, 2124-2136 (2017)
 Peng-Yi Tang, Li-Juan Han, Franziska Simone Hegner, Paul Paciok, Martí Biset-Peiró, Hong-Chu Du, Xian-Kui Wei, Lei Jin, Hai-Bing Xie, Qin Shi, Teresa Andreu, Mónica Lira-Cantú, Marc Heggen, Rafal E. Dunin-Borkowski, Núria López, José Ramón Galán-Mascarós, Joan Ramon Morante, Jordi Arbiol. Boosting Photoelectrochemical Water Oxidation of Hematite in Acidic Electrolytes by Surface States Modification. Advanced Energy Materials, In press, DOI: 10.1002/aenm.201901836 (2019)