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Holey Batteries Batman, Can Chemists Really Help Solve Our Energy Problems? - Livestream

This talk explores how materials chemistry can help address challenges in improving our energy security and efficiency. Using chemically synthesized nanoporous materials as our building blocks, we will see how these ‘holey’ materials can help solve problems ranging from grid-level energy storage for renewable energy to fast-charging batteries for vehicle electrification to building efficiency.

We begin with an introduction to battery technology and then consider how nanoporous materials can improve battery performance. We first focus on a family of fast-charging materials known as pseudocapacitors. When conventional electrode materials are synthesized in nanoporous form, they can be used to produce batteries that charge much faster than those made with conventional bulk materials. This arises because of a very desirable combination of electrical connectivity throughout each porous grain, liquid electrolyte access to the interior of the material, and short solid-state ion diffusion lengths within the walls of the nanoporous network. In some materials, the nanoscale wall dimensions can also suppress intercalation-induced phase transitions, further improving kinetics. Nanoscale porosity can also help increase stability in other types of battery electrodes, particularly those that have large volume changes upon cycling.

Focusing on high-capacity alloy anodes, we show that nanoscale porosity can help mitigate structural degradation due to volume changes. Finally, we consider how porous materials can be used as insulation to improve building efficiency. Here we focus on both optically clear porous materials that can be used for window insulation, and on materials with strong infrared emission that can be used for passive daytime radiative cooling.

Speaker: Sarah Tolbert, UC Los Angeles

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Thursday, 04/25/24


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California Section American Chemical Society

, CA