Special Issue "Design of Advanced Materials for Energy Conversion and Storage Applications"

A special issue of Applied Sciences (ISSN 2076-3417). This special issue belongs to the section "Chemistry".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 September 2020.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Dongkyu Lee
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Mechanical Engineering, College of Engineering and Computing, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208, USA
Interests: oxide thin films and nanostructures; oxide heterostructures and interfaces; oxide electrocatalysis; electrochemical devices; thermoelectrics; photovoltaics
Dr. Dahyun Oh
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering, Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering, San Jose State University, San Jose, CA 95192, USA
Interests: high energy density storage system development; in situ gas evolution analysis; bioinspired energy materials; 1D and 2D materials and energy devices

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Due to the growing concerns about the finite supply of fossil fuels and the environmental damage caused by carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels, there has been an increasing demand for sustainable and eco-environmental energy conversion and storage applications, including fuel cells, batteries, solar cells, and thermoelectric generators, in which materials play a crucial role. The design and development of new cost-effective and highly active materials are thus highly desirable for the development of energy applications.

This Special Issue on the “Design of Functional Materials for Energy Conversion and Storage Applications” aims to assess the current state of the art and to identify future directions in research, design, and applications of functional energy materials. This Special Issue provides a platform and an opportunity to promote mutual interaction, information dissemination, and exchange between researchers and hence to promote fruitful collaborations with respect to advanced, state-of-the-art energy materials research and development.

We invite authors to submit original research articles, review articles, and significant preliminary communications covering (but not limited to) the following topics and scopes:

  • Functional materials for fuel cells and electrochemical cells;
  • Battery materials and supercapacitors;
  • Thermoelectric materials;
  • Solar energy and materials;
  • Bioenergy and materials;
  • Hydrogen energy production technologies;
  • Electrocatalyst and electrochemical reactions;
  • Carbon nanomaterials and energy applications;
  • Nanomaterials and nanostructures for energy applications;
  • 2D materials for energy conversion and storage;
  • Polymer membranes for energy applications.

Dr. Dongkyu Lee
Dr. Dahyun Oh
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Applied Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Functional energy materials
  • Energy conversion and storage devices
  • Energy conversion and storage mechanisms

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Intercalating Sn/Fe Nanoparticles in Compact Carbon Monolith for Enhanced Lithium Ion Storage
Appl. Sci. 2020, 10(7), 2220; https://doi.org/10.3390/app10072220 - 25 Mar 2020
Abstract
Given its high-capacity of multielectron (de-)lithiation, SnO2 is deemed as a competitive anode substance to tackle energy density restrictions of low-theoretical-capacity traditional graphite. However, its pragmatic adhibition seriously encounters poor initial coulombic efficiency from irreversible Li2O formation and drastic volume [...] Read more.
Given its high-capacity of multielectron (de-)lithiation, SnO2 is deemed as a competitive anode substance to tackle energy density restrictions of low-theoretical-capacity traditional graphite. However, its pragmatic adhibition seriously encounters poor initial coulombic efficiency from irreversible Li2O formation and drastic volume change during repeated charge/discharge. Here, an applicable gel pyrolysis methodology establishes a SnO2/Fe2O3 intercalated carbon monolith as superior anode materials for Li ion batteries to effectively surmount problems of SnO2. Its bulk-like, micron-sized, compact, and non-porous structures with low area surfaces (14.2 m2 g−1) obviously increase the tap density without compromising the transport kinetics, distinct from myriad hierarchically holey metal/carbon materials recorded till date. During the long-term Li+ insertion/extraction, the carbon matrix not only functions as a stress management framework to alleviate the stress intensification on surface layers, enabling the electrode to retain its morphological/mechanic integrity and yielding a steady solid electrolyte interphase film, but also imparts very robust connection to stop SnO2 from coarsening/losing electric contact, facilitating fast electrolyte infiltration and ion/electron transfer. Besides, the closely contacted and evenly distributed Fe2O3/SnO2 nanoparticles supply additional charge-transfer driving force, thanks to a built-in electric field. Benefiting from such virtues, the embedment of binary metal oxides in the dense carbons enhances initial Coulombic efficiency up to 67.3%, with an elevated reversible capacity of 726 mAh/g at 0.2 A/g, a high capacity retention of 84% after 100 cycles, a boosted rate capability between 0.2 and 3.2 A g−1, and a stable cycle life of 466 mAh/g over 200 cycles at 1 A g−1. Our scenario based upon this unique binary metal-in-carbon sandwich compact construction to achieve the stress regulation and the so-called synergistic effect between metals or metal oxides and carbons is economically effective and tractable enough to scale up the preparation and can be rifely employed to other oxide anodes for ameliorating their electrochemical properties. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Porous Doped Carbons from Anthracite for High-Performance Supercapacitors
Appl. Sci. 2020, 10(3), 1081; https://doi.org/10.3390/app10031081 - 06 Feb 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Carbon-based materials, as some of the most important electrode materials for supercapacitors (SC), have spurred enormous attentions. Now, it is highly desirable but remains an open challenge to design stable and high-capacity carbons for further enhancing supercapacitive function. Here, a facile chemical activation [...] Read more.
Carbon-based materials, as some of the most important electrode materials for supercapacitors (SC), have spurred enormous attentions. Now, it is highly desirable but remains an open challenge to design stable and high-capacity carbons for further enhancing supercapacitive function. Here, a facile chemical activation recipe is introduced to develop biomass-derived functional carbons using cheap and abundant natural resources, anthracite, as the heteroatom-rich carbon sources, and potassium hydroxide (KOH) as activator. These porous carbons have high BET surface areas of roughly 2814 m2 g−1, large pore volumes of up to 1.531 cm3 g−1, and a high porosity that combines micro- and small-sized mesopores. The optimal nanocarbon features two additional outstanding virtues: an appropriate N-doping level (2.77%) and a uniform pore size distribution in the narrow range of 1–4 nm. Synergy of the above unique structural traits and desirable chemical composition endows resultant samples with the much boosted supercapacitive property with remarkable specific capacitance at varied current densities (e.g., 325 F g−1 at 0.5 A/g), impressive energy/power density, and long cycling stability over 5000 cycles at 10 A g−1 (92% capacity retention). When constructing the symmetric supercapacitor utilizing a common neutral Na2SO4 electrolyte that can strongly circumvent the corrosion effect occurring in the strong acid/alkaline solutions, both an elevated operation voltage at 1.8 V and a fascinating energy density of 23.5 Wh kg−1 are attained. The current study paves the way to explore the stable, efficient, and high-voltage SC assembled by the anthracite-derived porous doped nanocarbons for a wide spectrum of applications like automobiles, vehicle devices, and so on. Full article
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Advances in Materials Design for All-Solid-state Batteries: From Bulk to Thin Films
Appl. Sci. 2020, 10(14), 4727; https://doi.org/10.3390/app10144727 - 09 Jul 2020
Abstract
All-solid-state batteries (SSBs) are one of the most fascinating next-generation energy storage systems that can provide improved energy density and safety for a wide range of applications from portable electronics to electric vehicles. The development of SSBs was accelerated by the discovery of [...] Read more.
All-solid-state batteries (SSBs) are one of the most fascinating next-generation energy storage systems that can provide improved energy density and safety for a wide range of applications from portable electronics to electric vehicles. The development of SSBs was accelerated by the discovery of new materials and the design of nanostructures. In particular, advances in the growth of thin-film battery materials facilitated the development of all solid-state thin-film batteries (SSTFBs)—expanding their applications to microelectronics such as flexible devices and implantable medical devices. However, critical challenges still remain, such as low ionic conductivity of solid electrolytes, interfacial instability and difficulty in controlling thin-film growth. In this review, we discuss the evolution of electrode and electrolyte materials for lithium-based batteries and their adoption in SSBs and SSTFBs. We highlight novel design strategies of bulk and thin-film materials to solve the issues in lithium-based batteries. We also focus on the important advances in thin-film electrodes, electrolytes and interfacial layers with the aim of providing insight into the future design of batteries. Furthermore, various thin-film fabrication techniques are also covered in this review. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Recent Advances in Lithiophilic Porous Framework toward Dendrite-Free Lithium Metal Anode
Appl. Sci. 2020, 10(12), 4185; https://doi.org/10.3390/app10124185 - 18 Jun 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Rechargeable lithium metal anode (LMA) based batteries have attracted great attention as next-generation high-energy-density storage systems to fuel the extensive practical applications in portable electronics and electric vehicles. However, the formation of unstable solid-electrolyte- interphase (SEI) and growth of lithium dendrite during plating/stripping [...] Read more.
Rechargeable lithium metal anode (LMA) based batteries have attracted great attention as next-generation high-energy-density storage systems to fuel the extensive practical applications in portable electronics and electric vehicles. However, the formation of unstable solid-electrolyte- interphase (SEI) and growth of lithium dendrite during plating/stripping cycles stimulate safety concern, poor coulombic efficiency (CE), and short lifespan of the lithium metal batteries (LMBs). To address these issues, the rational design of micro/nanostructured Li hosts are widely adopted in LMBs. The high surface area of the interconnected conductive framework can homogenize the Li-ion flux distribution, lower the effective current density, and provides sufficient space for Li accommodation. However, the poor lithiophilicity of the micro/nanostructure host cannot govern the initial lithium nucleation, which leads to the non-uniform/dendritic Li deposition and unstable SEI formation. As a result, the nucleation overpotential and voltage hysteresis increases, which eventually leads to poor battery cycling performance. Thus, it is imperative to decorate a micro/nanostructured Li host with lithiophilic coatings or seeds for serving as a homogeneous nucleation site to guide the uniform lithium deposition. In this review, we summarize research progress on porous metal and non-metal based lithiophilic micro/nanostructured Li hosts. We present the synthesis, structural properties, and the significance of lithiophilic decorated micro/nanostructured Li host in the LMBs. Finally, the perspectives and critical challenges needed to address for the further improvement of LMBs are concluded. Full article
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