Engineering High Capacity Alternative Ion Battery Electrodes Through Mechanistic Insight
Share, Keith Edward
Renewable energy from wind and solar are no longer solely motivated by their environmental benefits but are now also economically competitive. Batteries are a key component in both the renewable grid infrastructure and in electric vehicles but with increased demand comes amplified concern of limited lithium resources leading to increased costs. Responding to this challenge, researchers have investigated alternative ion batteries from abundant elements such as sodium and potassium that can offer low cost alternatives to lithium ion batteries. In this dissertation, I present my research tackling the major challenges in sodium ion and potassium ion batteries. I demonstrate the first use of WSe2 as a high capacity, low overpotential sodium ion battery electrode. Using in-situ techniques I characterize the staging of K+ in few layer graphene and use that knowledge to produce the highest performance potassium ion battery anode to date, with capacities on par with lithium ion batteries. Finally, I apply knowledge gained from my battery research to another crucial field, water desalination, by using battery electrodes to remove ions from salt water. I was able to reduce energy consumption by 40% by studying the relationship between particle size and the resistive and kinetic limitations of silver electrodes during chloride ion removal.
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