This project will develop high-performance next generation batteries towards multifunctional applications of providing both mechanical support and electrochemical energy storage and delivery.
Rechargeablebatteries have been considered as the most promising disruptive technology in alleviatingreliance on fossil fuels for transportation and power generation, allowing oursocieties’ transition to a sustainable energy future. State-of-the-art lithium-ionbatteries have been established as a dominant technology in daily life, poweringsmall devices such as smart watches and tablets. However, there are nextgeneration options that have the potential to have better performance, greatersafety, and lower cost than current lithium-ion systems. In addition, futuretechnologies will benefit from the efficiency advantages of multifunctionaltechnologies. For example, a battery that can be integrated into a structuralcomponent of a vehicle eliminates the need to design and install bothcomponents independently, saving both materials and weight. In this project, wepropose a new collaboration between experts from Chemical Engineering,Mechanical Engineering and Chemistry, to develop high-performance, low-cost,and multifunctional next generation batteries that are suitable to work underbroad working temperatures, and for a diversity of applications. Torealize such a breakthrough, research will pursue appropriate electrolytes and anode/cathodematerials structures. The research groups will collaborate to develop new typesof metal oxide cathode materials, non-corrosive and non-flammable electrolyteswhich possesses a large working potential window and a wide working temperature,ordered porous carbon/metal oxide composites, and integrate these materialsinto flexible/bendable designs, allowing the resulting batteries to be used inbroad applications.
Success of this proposed research willsignificantly impact the current rechargeable battery industry by demonstratinga new and advanced multifunctional, high performance, battery platform. Theoutput of this research will align with the broad goals of multiple research fundingagencies to diversify energy supply and reduce the dependence on non-renewableenergy sources. Our goal is ambitious as we target a program that to place UVAas a national leader in sustainable energy storage and conversion technologies.The themes of this project align well with larger scale multidisciplinarycollaborative initiatives at UVA, in particular the Multifunctional MaterialsIntegration initiative. This funding is expected to seed the cross-disciplinarycollaboration between the participant researchers and result in new researchscholarship, publications, and potentially intellectual property. The resultswill be used to write grants to external funding agencies and there are callsat DOE-EERE, DOE-EFRC, DARPA, ARPA-E, and NSF which are appropriate. Someagencies, such as AFOSR, have explicit multifunctional battery funding opportunities.Success in this project will increase knowledge in material design, energyconversion, electrochemistry, and battery fabrication; and will also promote teaching,training, and learning at UVA.
Three graduate students (one from eachdepartment) and several undergraduate students will participate in this projectand develop expertise in synthesis of solid materials and electrolytes,structural characterization, and fabrication and testing of electrochemicaldevices. This interdisciplinary training will endow students with a unique andinnovative skill set that will enable them to pursue careers in academia,national labs, or industry in either basic or applied sciences/engineering.Students will also gain experiences and strengthen their communication skillsby presenting their work at national and international meetings and by beinginvolved with outreach activities.