Special Issue "Selected papers from Thematic Meeting “Materials for Energy”"

A special issue of Challenges (ISSN 2078-1547).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 January 2017).

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Annalisa Paolone Website E-Mail
Italian National Research Council, Rome, Italy
Interests: materials; material characterization; ionic liquids; hydrogen; energy storage
Guest Editor
Dr. Lorenzo Ulivi Website E-Mail
Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Istituto dei Sistemi Complessi, UOS Sesto Fiorentino, Sesto Fiorentino, Italy

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue is open to the submission of paper presented at the thematic meeting, “Materials for Energy”, in Rome, Italy, on 9 September, 2016. The meeting will be held at the Physics Department of Sapienza University, and is promoted by the Institute of Complex System of the Italian National Research Council (www.isc.cnr.it). As is widely accepted, the storage and transformation of energy is one of the priorities for the future. The meeting intends to present the state-of-the-art and future perspectives and challenges concerning materials for the storage and transformation of energy. In particular, we will focus on materials for hydrogen storage, purification, and its production from graphene, ionic liquids, materials for lithium batteries, PEM and solid oxide fuel cells, electrolyzers, and magnetocaloric and piezoeletric compounds.

text

Dr. Annalisa Paolone
Dr. Lorenzo Ulivi
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

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. Challenges is an international peer-reviewed open access biannual 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 1000 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.

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
About the Purification Route of Ionic Liquid Precursors
Challenges 2017, 8(1), 11; https://doi.org/10.3390/challe8010011 - 27 Mar 2017
Cited by 4
Abstract
In this work a purification route of precursors for ionic liquids tailored to electrochemical energy storage systems is reported and described. The study was carried out on the N-butyl-N-methylpyrrolidinium bromide (PYR14Br) precursor, which represents the intermediate product of [...] Read more.
In this work a purification route of precursors for ionic liquids tailored to electrochemical energy storage systems is reported and described. The study was carried out on the N-butyl-N-methylpyrrolidinium bromide (PYR14Br) precursor, which represents the intermediate product of the synthesis process of the N-butyl-N-methylpyrrolidinium bis(trifluoromethanesulfonyl)imide (PYR14TFSI) hydrophobic ionic liquid. The target is to develop an easy and cost-effective approach for efficiently purifying several kinds of ionic liquid precursors and determining their purity content. The PYR14Br precursor was synthesized through an eco-friendly preparation procedure, which requires water as the only processing solvent, and purified through sorbent materials, such as activated charcoal and alumina. The effect of the treatment/nature/content of sorbents and processing temperature/time was investigated. The impurity content was detected by UV-VIS spectrophotometry measurements. Additionally, a correlation between the measured absorbance and the content of impurities within the precursor was obtained. The purity level of the precursor was seen to play a key role in the electrochemical performance of the ionic liquids. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Selected papers from Thematic Meeting “Materials for Energy”)
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Open AccessArticle
Case Studies of Energy Storage with Fuel Cells and Batteries for Stationary and Mobile Applications
Challenges 2017, 8(1), 9; https://doi.org/10.3390/challe8010009 - 22 Mar 2017
Cited by 10
Abstract
In this paper, hydrogen coupled with fuel cells and lithium-ion batteries are considered as alternative energy storage methods. Their application on a stationary system (i.e., energy storage for a family house) and a mobile system (i.e., an unmanned aerial vehicle) will be investigated. [...] Read more.
In this paper, hydrogen coupled with fuel cells and lithium-ion batteries are considered as alternative energy storage methods. Their application on a stationary system (i.e., energy storage for a family house) and a mobile system (i.e., an unmanned aerial vehicle) will be investigated. The stationary systems, designed for off-grid applications, were sized for photovoltaic energy production in the area of Turin, Italy, to provide daily energy of 10.25 kWh. The mobile systems, to be used for high crane inspection, were sized to have a flying range of 120 min, one being equipped with a Li-ion battery and the other with a proton-exchange membrane fuel cell. The systems were compared from an economical point of view and a life cycle assessment was performed to identify the main contributors to the environmental impact. From a commercial point of view, the fuel cell and the electrolyzer, being niche products, result in being more expensive with respect to the Li-ion batteries. On the other hand, the life cycle assessment (LCA) results show the lower burdens of both technologies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Selected papers from Thematic Meeting “Materials for Energy”)
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Open AccessArticle
A Study of the Conformers of the (Nonafluorobutanesulfonyl)imide Ion by Means of Infrared Spectroscopy and Density Functional Theory (DFT) Calculations
Challenges 2017, 8(1), 7; https://doi.org/10.3390/challe8010007 - 22 Feb 2017
Cited by 3
Abstract
Pyrrolidinium-based ionic liquids with anions of the per(fluoroalkylsulfonyl)imide family are particularly interesting for their use as electrolytes in lithium batteries. These ions have several geometric isomers and the presence of different ion conformers and their distribution affects the ILs (Ionic liquids) physical and [...] Read more.
Pyrrolidinium-based ionic liquids with anions of the per(fluoroalkylsulfonyl)imide family are particularly interesting for their use as electrolytes in lithium batteries. These ions have several geometric isomers and the presence of different ion conformers and their distribution affects the ILs (Ionic liquids) physical and chemical properties. In the present work, we report the temperature dependence of the infrared spectra of the N-butyl-N-methyl-pyrrolidinium(trifluoromethanesulfonyl)(nonafluorobutanesulfonyl)imide (PYR14IM14) ionic liquid; DFT (Density Functional Theory) calculations performed with different models provides indications about the IM14 conformers and their vibrational spectra. Moreover the temperature dependence of the intensity of the lines identified as markers of different conformers provide indications about the conformers’ distribution and the difference of their enthalpy in the liquid phase. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Selected papers from Thematic Meeting “Materials for Energy”)
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Open AccessArticle
Ionic Mobility and Phase Transitions in Perovskite Oxides for Energy Application
Challenges 2017, 8(1), 5; https://doi.org/10.3390/challe8010005 - 13 Feb 2017
Cited by 3
Abstract
Perovskite oxides find applications or are studied in many fields related to energy production, accumulation and saving. The most obvious application is oxygen or proton conductors in fuel cells (SOFCs), but the (anti)ferroelectric compositions may find application in high energy capacitors for energy [...] Read more.
Perovskite oxides find applications or are studied in many fields related to energy production, accumulation and saving. The most obvious application is oxygen or proton conductors in fuel cells (SOFCs), but the (anti)ferroelectric compositions may find application in high energy capacitors for energy storage, efficient electrocaloric cooling, and electromechanical energy harvesting. In SOFCs, the diffusion of O vacancies and other mobile ionic species, such as H+, are at the base of the functioning of the device, while in the other cases they constitute unwanted defects that reduce the performance and life-time of the device. Similarly, the (anti)ferroelectric phase transitions are a requisite for the use of some types of devices, but the accompanying domain walls can generate extended defects detrimental to the life of the material, and structural phase transformations should be avoided in SOFCs. All these phenomena can be studied by mechanical spectroscopy, the measurement of the complex elastic compliance as a function of temperature and frequency, which is the mechanical analogue of the dielectric susceptibility, but probes the elastic response and elastic dipoles instead of the dielectric response and electric dipoles. The two techniques can be combined to provide a comprehensive picture of the material properties. Examples are shown of the study of structural transitions and hopping and tunnelling processes of O vacancies and H in the ion conductor BaCe1-xYxO3-x and in SrTiO3-x, and of the aging and fatigue effects found in PZT at compositions where the ferro- and antiferroelectric states coexist. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Selected papers from Thematic Meeting “Materials for Energy”)
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Open AccessArticle
New Studies of the Physical Properties of Metallic Amorphous Membranes for Hydrogen Purification
Challenges 2017, 8(1), 4; https://doi.org/10.3390/challe8010004 - 10 Feb 2017
Cited by 2
Abstract
Amorphous metallic membranes display promising properties for hydrogen purification up to an ultrapure grade (purity > 99.999%). The hydrogen permeability through amorphous membranes has been widely studied in the literature. In this work we focus on two additional properties, which should be considered [...] Read more.
Amorphous metallic membranes display promising properties for hydrogen purification up to an ultrapure grade (purity > 99.999%). The hydrogen permeability through amorphous membranes has been widely studied in the literature. In this work we focus on two additional properties, which should be considered before possible application of such materials: the propensity to crystallize at high temperatures should be avoided, as the crystallized membranes can become brittle; the hydrogen solubility should be high, as solubility and permeability are proportional. We investigate the crystallization process and the hydrogen solubility of some membranes based on Ni, Nb, and Zr metals, as a function of Zr content, and with the addition of Ta or B. The boron doping does not significantly affect the crystallization temperature and the thermal stability of the membrane. However, the hydrogen solubility for p ~7 bar is as high as H/M ~0.31 at T = 440 °C and H/M ~0.27 at T = 485 °C. Moreover, the membrane does not pulverize even after repeated thermal cycles and hydrogenation processes up to 485 °C and 7 bar, and it retains its initial shape. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Selected papers from Thematic Meeting “Materials for Energy”)
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Open AccessArticle
Ice XVII as a Novel Material for Hydrogen Storage
Challenges 2017, 8(1), 3; https://doi.org/10.3390/challe8010003 - 08 Feb 2017
Cited by 6
Abstract
Hydrogen storage is one of the most addressed issues in the green-economy field. The latest-discovered form of ice (XVII), obtained by application of an annealing treatment to a H 2 -filled ice sample in the C 0 -phase, could be inserted in the [...] Read more.
Hydrogen storage is one of the most addressed issues in the green-economy field. The latest-discovered form of ice (XVII), obtained by application of an annealing treatment to a H 2 -filled ice sample in the C 0 -phase, could be inserted in the energy-storage context due to its surprising capacity of hydrogen physisorption, when exposed to even modest pressure (few mbars at temperature below 40 K), and desorption, when a thermal treatment is applied. In this work, we investigate quantitatively the adsorption properties of this simple material by means of spectroscopic and volumetric data, deriving its gravimetric and volumetric capacities as a function of the thermodynamic parameters, and calculating the usable capacity in isothermal conditions. The comparison of ice XVII with materials with a similar mechanism of hydrogen adsorption like metal-organic frameworks shows interesting performances of ice XVII in terms of hydrogen content, operating temperature and kinetics of adsorption-desorption. Any application of this material to realistic hydrogen tanks should take into account the thermodynamic limit of metastability of ice XVII, i.e., temperatures below about 130 K. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Selected papers from Thematic Meeting “Materials for Energy”)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Hydrides as High Capacity Anodes in Lithium Cells: An Italian “Futuro in Ricerca di Base FIRB-2010” Project
Challenges 2017, 8(1), 8; https://doi.org/10.3390/challe8010008 - 16 Mar 2017
Cited by 5
Abstract
Automotive and stationary energy storage are among the most recently-proposed and still unfulfilled applications for lithium ion devices. Higher energy, power and superior safety standards, well beyond the present state of the art, are actually required to extend the Li-ion battery market to [...] Read more.
Automotive and stationary energy storage are among the most recently-proposed and still unfulfilled applications for lithium ion devices. Higher energy, power and superior safety standards, well beyond the present state of the art, are actually required to extend the Li-ion battery market to these challenging fields, but such a goal can only be achieved by the development of new materials with improved performances. Focusing on the negative electrode materials, alloying and conversion chemistries have been widely explored in the last decade to circumvent the main weakness of the intercalation processes: the limitation in capacity to one or at most two lithium atoms per host formula unit. Among all of the many proposed conversion chemistries, hydrides have been proposed and investigated since 2008. In lithium cells, these materials undergo a conversion reaction that gives metallic nanoparticles surrounded by an amorphous matrix of LiH. Among all of the reported conversion materials, hydrides have outstanding theoretical properties and have been only marginally explored, thus making this class of materials an interesting playground for both fundamental and applied research. In this review, we illustrate the most relevant results achieved in the frame of the Italian National Research Project FIRB 2010 Futuro in Ricerca “Hydrides as high capacity anodes in lithium cells” and possible future perspectives of research for this class of materials in electrochemical energy storage devices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Selected papers from Thematic Meeting “Materials for Energy”)
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