electrochemical energy storage

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The battery technology that currently dominates rechargeable energy storage applications, especially in mobile applications, is the Li-ion battery. In conventional Li-ion batteries, Li-ions shuttle, or intercalate, into solid-state host lattices at two electrodes, an anode and cathode. Upon discharge, the removal of Li   from the anode is accompanied by oxidation of the host lattice to satisfy charge neutrality. The electrolyte separating the anode from the cathode is ionically conductive but electronically insulating forcing the freed electrons to conduct from the anode to the cathode through an external circuit, thus providing electrical energy when the circuit is closed. The opposite process occurs at the cathode where Li   intercalation is accompanied by reduction of the host lattice. Although this process is very reversible, the capacity of Li-ion cells is inherently limited by the bulky host lattices required to support intercalation processes.

Significant opportunities for new battery technologies lie in alternative chemistries that go beyond conventional intercalation mechanisms. We are interested in exploring next-generation electrochemical energy storage systems using a bottom-up approach. By first understanding the fundamental limitations and developing the structure-property relationships governing cell performance, we develop rules that inform the design of next-generation energy storage chemistries.

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A conventional Li-ion battery is made up of a graphite anode, LiCoO2 cathode, and an electrolyte composed of a combination of carbonate solvents with inorganic Li salts.

current research themes

Ionics

Ionics

understanding ion diffusion of next-generation working ions

Electrolytes

Electrolytes

probing interactions at the electrode-electrolyte interface

Multi-Electron Cathodes

Multi-Electron Cathodes

probing structural distortions in multi-electron cathodes

Batteries in Space (!)

Batteries in Space (!)

developing batteries for aerial missions to Venus (image courtesy of nasa.gov)

Conversion Chemistry

Conversion Chemistry

exploring the reversibility of redox reactions that cause phase transitions in materials

Operando Spectroscopy

Operando Spectroscopy

evaluating and understanding structural changes in materials and solutions during redox

synthetic control across length-scales for advancing rechargeables

   a DOE EFRC

We are excited to be part of the Synthetic Control Across Length-Scales for Advancing Rechargeables (SCALAR) team! SCALAR is an Energy Frontier Research Center (EFRC) made up of 17 PIs from 6 universities and institutions. 

mission

To design materials, interfaces, and architectures that revolutionize the performance of energy storage systems by dramatically expanding the range of materials systems and chemistries that can be employed in next generation batteries.

 

research plan

The SCALAR center aims to rethink battery materials to take advantage of a much broader set of reactions and materials than traditional transition metal cation redox approaches. This is combined with new methods to control and characterize architectures and interfaces with the goal of bridging atomistic and nanometer length-scales in the quest to improve cycling stability and electron and ion transport over broad working ranges.

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Learn more about our research and the team here: http://www.chem.ucla.edu/scalar/

center for synthetic organic electrochemistry

   an NSF CCI

We are thrilled to be part of the Center for Synthetic Organic Electrochemistry (CSOE) team! CSOE is an Center for Chemical Innovation (CCI) made up of 15 PIs from 10 universities and institutions. 

mission

To make synthetic organic electrochemistry mainstream through the invention of enabling, green, safe, and economic new reactions, the demystification of fundamental electrochemical reactivity, vibrant partnerships with industry, education of a diverse set of scientists and engineers, and by engaging in community-wide education and outreach.

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Learn more about our research and the team here: https://cci.utah.edu

liquid sunlight alliance

   a DOE hub

We are thrilled to be part of the Liquid Sunlight Alliance (LiSA) team! LiSA is an Energy Innovation Hub made up of 38 PIs from several universities and institutions. 

mission

LiSA’s Mission is to establish the science principles by which durable coupled microenvironments can be co-designed to efficiently and selectively generate liquid fuels from sunlight, water, carbon dioxide, and nitrogen. These principles will guide the creation of microenvironment assemblies co-designed to harness diverse sunlight-driven phenomena with unprecedented catalytic selectivity, durability, and efficiency under a fluctuating solar resource, using pure or impure feedstocks.

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Learn more about our research and the team here: https://www.liquidsunlightalliance.org