Special Issue "Sustainable Energy Storage Materials"

A special issue of Materials (ISSN 1996-1944). This special issue belongs to the section "Energy Materials".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (29 February 2020).

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Clemens Liedel
Website
Guest Editor
Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces, Potsdam, Germany
Interests: sustainable batteries; functional materials from biomolecules, biobased molecules and bioinspired molecules; hybrid materials; ionic liquids

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Within the last years, the ever-growing demand for energy storage with a high gravimetric and volumetric density provoked the development of a plethora of new materials with superior properties. Unfortunately, concerns regarding their sustainability are often neglected; their environmental impact is rarely considered, whereas the full life cycle from mining to recycling should be taken into account. Additionally, the socio-economic concerns should be regarded more often.

This Special Issue invites contributions from all areas of sustainable energy storage, for example, in the form of electricity, fuel, or heat, in order to provide a platform for alternative approaches. Contributions about the theory, experiment, application, or characterization of sustainable energy storage materials are requested. In particular, sustainable energy storage materials made from waste, biomass, or low-value industrial side products, or processes under benign conditions without toxic, dangerous, or demanding reaction conditions should be presented. Interesting materials may include active and passive components for electrochemical energy storage devices like batteries or supercapacitors (electrodes, electrolytes, post lithium-ion technologies, etc.), with focus on the sustainability of the materials. Additionally, for example, thermoelectric materials or benign catalyst materials for fuel cells, biomass valorization, or biofuel synthesis (hydrogen storage materials, catalysts made from renewable feedstocks, etc.), and so on, may be presented.

Dr. Clemens Liedel
Guest Editor

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. Materials 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 2000 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

  • Energy storage
  • Sustainable materials
  • Batteries
  • Supercpacitors
  • Fuel cells
  • Catalysis
  • Sustainable chemistry
  • Green chemistry
  • Biomaterials
  • Biofuels

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Quinone Based Materials as Renewable High Energy Density Cathode Materials for Rechargeable Magnesium Batteries
Materials 2020, 13(3), 506; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma13030506 - 21 Jan 2020
Abstract
Organic cathode materials are promising cathode materials for multivalent batteries. Among organic cathodes, anthraquinone (AQ) has already been applied to various metal‒organic systems. In this work, we compare electrochemical performance and redox potential of AQ with 1,4-naphthoquinone (NQ) and 1,4-benzoquinone (BQ), both of [...] Read more.
Organic cathode materials are promising cathode materials for multivalent batteries. Among organic cathodes, anthraquinone (AQ) has already been applied to various metal‒organic systems. In this work, we compare electrochemical performance and redox potential of AQ with 1,4-naphthoquinone (NQ) and 1,4-benzoquinone (BQ), both of which offer significantly higher theoretical energy density than AQ and are tested in two different Mg electrolytes. In Mg(TFSI)2-2MgCl2 electrolyte, NQ and BQ exhibit 0.2 and 0.5 V higher potential than AQ, respectively. Furthermore, an upshift of potential for 200 mV in MgCl2-AlCl3 electrolyte versus Mg(TFSI)2-2MgCl2 was confirmed for all used organic compounds. While lower molecular weights of NQ and BQ increase their specific capacity, they also affect the solubility in used electrolytes. Increased solubility lowers long-term capacity retention, confirming the need for the synthesis of NQ and BQ based polymers. Finally, we examine the electrochemical mechanism through ex situ attenuated total reflectance infrared spectroscopy (ATR-IR) and comparison of ex situ cathode spectra with spectra of individual electrode components. For the first time, magnesium anthracene-9,10-bis(olate), a discharged form of AQ moiety, is synthesized, which allows us to confirm the electrochemical mechanism of AQ cathode in Mg battery system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Energy Storage Materials)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Biocarbon Meets Carbon—Humic Acid/Graphite Electrodes Formed by Mechanochemistry
Materials 2019, 12(24), 4032; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma12244032 - 04 Dec 2019
Abstract
Humic acid (HA) is a biopolymer formed from degraded plants, making it a ubiquitous, renewable, sustainable, and low cost source of biocarbon materials. HA contains abundant functional groups, such as carboxyl-, phenolic/alcoholic hydroxyl-, ketone-, and quinone/hydroquinone (Q/QH2)-groups. The presence of Q/QH [...] Read more.
Humic acid (HA) is a biopolymer formed from degraded plants, making it a ubiquitous, renewable, sustainable, and low cost source of biocarbon materials. HA contains abundant functional groups, such as carboxyl-, phenolic/alcoholic hydroxyl-, ketone-, and quinone/hydroquinone (Q/QH2)-groups. The presence of Q/QH2 groups makes HA redox active and, accordingly, HA is a candidate material for energy storage. However, as HA is an electronic insulator, it is essential to combine it with conductive materials in order to enable fabrication of HA electrodes. One of the lowest cost types of conductive materials that can be considered is carbon-based conductors such as graphite. Herein, we develop a facile method allowing the biocarbon to meet carbon; HA (in the form of a sodium salt) is mixed with graphite by a solvent-free mechanochemical method involving ball milling. Few-layer graphene sheets are formed and the HA/graphite mixtures can be used to fabricate HA/graphite hybrid material electrodes. These electrodes exhibit a conductivity of up to 160 S·m−1 and a discharge capacity as large as 20 mAhg−1. Our study demonstrates a novel methodology enabling scalable fabrication of low cost and sustainable organic electrodes for application as supercapacitors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Energy Storage Materials)
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Open AccessArticle
Comparing Fly Ash Samples from Different Types of Incinerators for Their Potential as Storage Materials for Thermochemical Energy and CO2
Materials 2019, 12(20), 3358; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma12203358 - 15 Oct 2019
Abstract
This study aims to investigate the physical and chemical characterization of six fly ash samples obtained from different municipal solid waste incinerators (MSWIs), namely grate furnaces, rotary kiln, and fluidized bed reactor, to determine their potential for CO2 and thermochemical energy storage [...] Read more.
This study aims to investigate the physical and chemical characterization of six fly ash samples obtained from different municipal solid waste incinerators (MSWIs), namely grate furnaces, rotary kiln, and fluidized bed reactor, to determine their potential for CO2 and thermochemical energy storage (TCES). Representative samples were characterized via simultaneous thermal analysis (STA) in different atmospheres, i.e., N2, air, H2O, CO2, and H2O/CO2, to identify fly ash samples that can meet the minimum requirements, i.e., charging, discharging, and cycling stability, for its consideration as TCES and CO2-storage materials and to determine their energy contents. Furthermore, other techniques, such as inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectroscopy, X-ray fluorescence (XRF) spectrometry, X-ray diffraction (XRD), scanning electron microscopy, leachability tests, specific surface area measurement based on the Brunauer–Emmett–Teller method, and particle-size distribution measurement, were performed. XRF analysis showed that calcium oxide is one of the main components in fly ash, which is a potentially suitable component for TCES systems. XRD results revealed information regarding the crystal structure and phases of various elements, including that of Ca. The STA measurements showed that the samples can store thermal heat with energy contents of 50–394 kJ/kg (charging step). For one fly ash sample obtained from a grate furnace, the release of the stored thermal heat under the selected experimental conditions (discharging step) was demonstrated. The cycling stability tests were conducted thrice, and they were successful for the selected sample. One fly ash sample could store CO2 with a storage capacity of 27 kg CO2/ton based on results obtained under the selected experimental conditions in STA. Samples from rotary kiln and fluidized bed were heated up to 1150 °C in an N2 atmosphere, resulting in complete melting of samples in crucibles; however, other samples obtained from grate furnaces formed compacted powders after undergoing the same thermal treatment in STA. Samples from different grate furnaces showed similarities in their chemical and physical characterization. The leachability test according to the standard (EN 12457-4 (2002)) using water in a ratio of 10 L/S and showed that the leachate of heavy metals is below the maximum permissible values for nonhazardous materials (except for Pb), excluding the fly ash sample obtained using fluidized bed technology. The leachate contents of Cd and Mn in the fly ash samples obtained from the rotary kiln were higher than those in other samples. Characterization performed herein helped in determining the suitable fly ash samples that can be considered as potential CO2-storage and TCES materials. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Energy Storage Materials)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Lithium Attachment to C60 and Nitrogen- and Boron-Doped C60: A Mechanistic Study
Materials 2019, 12(13), 2136; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma12132136 - 03 Jul 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Fullerene-based materials including C60 and doped C60 have previously been proposed as anodes for lithium ion batteries. It was also shown earlier that n- and p-doping of small molecules can substantially increase voltages and specific capacities. Here, we study [...] Read more.
Fullerene-based materials including C60 and doped C60 have previously been proposed as anodes for lithium ion batteries. It was also shown earlier that n- and p-doping of small molecules can substantially increase voltages and specific capacities. Here, we study ab initio the attachment of multiple lithium atoms to C60, nitrogen-doped C60 (n-type), and boron doped C60 (p-type). We relate the observed attachment energies (which determine the voltage) to changes in the electronic structure induced by Li attachment and by doping. We compare results with a GGA (generalized gradient approximation) functional and a hybrid functional and show that while they agree semi-quantitatively with respect to the expected voltages, there are qualitative differences in the electronic structure. We show that, contrary to small molecules, single atom n- and p-doping will not lead to practically useful modulation of the voltage–capacity curve beyond the initial stages of lithiation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Energy Storage Materials)
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Open AccessArticle
LiFePO4-Graphene Composites as High-Performance Cathodes for Lithium-Ion Batteries: The Impact of Size and Morphology of Graphene
Materials 2019, 12(6), 842; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma12060842 - 13 Mar 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
In this work, we investigated three types of graphene (i.e., home-made G, G V4, and G V20) with different size and morphology, as additives to a lithium iron phosphate (LFP) cathode for the lithium-ion battery. Both the LFP and the two types of [...] Read more.
In this work, we investigated three types of graphene (i.e., home-made G, G V4, and G V20) with different size and morphology, as additives to a lithium iron phosphate (LFP) cathode for the lithium-ion battery. Both the LFP and the two types of graphene (G V4 and G V20) were sourced from industrial, large-volume manufacturers, enabling cathode production at low cost. The use of wrinkled and/or large pieces of a graphene matrix shows promising electrochemical performance when used as an additive to the LFP, which indicates that the features of large and curved graphene pieces enable construction of a more effective conducting network to realize the full potential of the active materials. Specifically, compared to pristine LFP, the LFP/G, LFP/G V20, and LFP/G V4 show up to a 9.2%, 6.9%, and 4.6% increase, respectively, in a capacity at 1 C. Furthermore, the LFP combined with graphene exhibits a better rate performance than tested with two different charge/discharge modes. Moreover, from the economic and electrochemical performance view point, we also demonstrated that 1% of graphene content is optimized no matter the capacity calculated, based on the LFP/graphene composite or pure LFP. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Energy Storage Materials)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Beyond Lithium-Based Batteries
Materials 2020, 13(2), 425; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma13020425 - 16 Jan 2020
Abstract
We discuss the latest developments in alternative battery systems based on sodium, magnesium, zinc and aluminum. In each case, we categorize the individual metals by the overarching cathode material type, focusing on the energy storage mechanism. Specifically, sodium-ion batteries are the closest in [...] Read more.
We discuss the latest developments in alternative battery systems based on sodium, magnesium, zinc and aluminum. In each case, we categorize the individual metals by the overarching cathode material type, focusing on the energy storage mechanism. Specifically, sodium-ion batteries are the closest in technology and chemistry to today’s lithium-ion batteries. This lowers the technology transition barrier in the short term, but their low specific capacity creates a long-term problem. The lower reactivity of magnesium makes pure Mg metal anodes much safer than alkali ones. However, these are still reactive enough to be deactivated over time. Alloying magnesium with different metals can solve this problem. Combining this with different cathodes gives good specific capacities, but with a lower voltage (<1.3 V, compared with 3.8 V for Li-ion batteries). Zinc has the lowest theoretical specific capacity, but zinc metal anodes are so stable that they can be used without alterations. This results in comparable capacities to the other materials and can be immediately used in systems where weight is not a problem. Theoretically, aluminum is the most promising alternative, with its high specific capacity thanks to its three-electron redox reaction. However, the trade-off between stability and specific capacity is a problem. After analyzing each option separately, we compare them all via a political, economic, socio-cultural and technological (PEST) analysis. The review concludes with recommendations for future applications in the mobile and stationary power sectors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Energy Storage Materials)
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