Polymers for Energy and Environmental Applications

A special issue of Polymers (ISSN 2073-4360). This special issue belongs to the section "Circular and Green Polymer Science".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2023) | Viewed by 17451

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Guest Editor
Department of Chemical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Port Said University, Port Said 42526, Egypt
Interests: nanocomposites; separation process; water treatment; renewable energy
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Guest Editor
1. Chemical and Materials Engineering Department, King Abdulaziz University, Rabigh KSA, Saudi Arabia
2. Chemical Engineering Department, Faculty of Engineering, Alexandria University, Alexandria, Egypt
Interests: process intensification; transport phenomena; nanotechnology; polymers; water treatment; polymeric membrane; thermoelectric polymers; elelctrochemical reactors
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Guest Editor
Department of Chemical Engineering, The Egyptian Academy for Engineering and Advanced Technology, Ministry of Military Production, Cairo 3066, Egypt
Interests: polymer nanocomposites; materials processing; synthesis and characterization; biocomposites; renewable energy; water treatment
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Guest Editor
1. Chemical and Materials Engineering Department, King Abdulaziz University, Rabigh KSA, Saudi Arabia
2. Chemistry Departemnt, Faculty of Scienc, Port Said University, Port Fuad, Egypt
Interests: nanotechnology; polymer; solar cells; thermoelectric polymers; water treatment; polymeric membranes; conducting polymers; polymer composites
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
Department of Mechanical Power Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Port Said University, Port Said 42526, Egypt
Interests: membrane technology; desalination; sustainability of desalination processes; PV system and solar thermal system; power generation of renewable energy
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In recent years, polymers and polymer composites have attracted substantial interest as a potential material for environmental and energy applications. This special issue aims to highlight and promote recent advances in  synthesis polymer and polymer composites from different sources, features and uses for improving efficiency and overcoming main manufacturing challenges. This issue presents cutting-edge research findings on the use of polymer and polymers composites in energy and environmental applications, as well as how to acquire material features and considerable improvements in physical, chemical, mechanical, and thermal properties. Subjects like sustainable, recyclable, and eco-friendly ways for highly inventive and applicable materials are recommended.  Topics of particular interest include, but are not limited to:

  • Polymers and polymer composites for significantly enhanced dielectric properties and energy storage capability
  • Polymer and polymer composites for sensor devices
  • Polymer and polymer composites for hydrogen storage
  • Polymer and polymer composites in sensitized solar cells
  • Polymer and polymer composites in supercapacitors application
  • Polymer and polymer composites for wind turbine applications
  • Development of polymer nanocomposites for antifouling applications
  • Nanocomposites membrane for water treatment and desalination
  • Polymer composites for heavy metals removal
  • Polymer composites as adsorbents and their applications in removal of radioactive materials
  • Polymer composites for water treatment
  • Green polymer composites and their environmental applications.

Prof. Dr. Mohamed Bassyouni
Prof. Dr. Mohamed Helmy Abdel-Aziz
Prof. Dr. Shereen M. S. Abdel-Hamid
Prof. Dr. Mohamed Shafick Zoromba
Dr. Yasser Elhenawy
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 submissions that pass pre-check are 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. Polymers 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 2700 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

  • environment
  • water treatment
  • solar cell
  • supercapacitors
  • wind energy
  • desalination
  • sensors

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

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13 pages, 3497 KiB  
Article
The Effects of Solvent on Superhydrophobic Polyurethane Coating Incorporated with Hydrophilic SiO2 Nanoparticles as Antifouling Paint
by Ramesh Kanthasamy, Mohammed Algarni, Leo Choe Peng, Nur Ain Zakaria and Mohammed Zwawi
Polymers 2023, 15(6), 1328; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym15061328 - 7 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2279
Abstract
Polyurethane (PU) paint with a hydrophobic surface can be easily fouled. In this study, hydrophilic silica nanoparticles and hydrophobic silane were used to modify the surface hydrophobicity that affects the fouling properties of PU paint. Blending silica nanoparticles followed by silane modification only [...] Read more.
Polyurethane (PU) paint with a hydrophobic surface can be easily fouled. In this study, hydrophilic silica nanoparticles and hydrophobic silane were used to modify the surface hydrophobicity that affects the fouling properties of PU paint. Blending silica nanoparticles followed by silane modification only resulted in a slight change in surface morphology and water contact angle. However, the fouling test using kaolinite slurry containing dye showed discouraging results when perfluorooctyltriethoxy silane was used to modify the PU coating blended with silica. The fouled area of this coating increased to 98.80%, compared to the unmodified PU coating, with a fouled area of 30.42%. Although the PU coating blended with silica nanoparticles did not show a significant change in surface morphology and water contact angle without silane modification, the fouled area was reduced to 3.37%. Surface chemistry could be the significant factor that affects the antifouling properties of PU coating. PU coatings were also coated with silica nanoparticles dispersed in different solvents using the dual-layer coating method. The surface roughness was significantly improved by spray-coated silica nanoparticles on PU coatings. The ethanol solvent increased the surface hydrophilicity significantly, and a water contact angle of 18.04° was attained. Both tetrahydrofuran (THF) and paint thinner allowed the adhesion of silica nanoparticles on PU coatings sufficiently, but the excellent solubility of PU in THF caused the embedment of silica nanoparticles. The surface roughness of the PU coating modified using silica nanoparticles in THF was lower than the PU coating modified using silica nanoparticles in paint thinner. The latter coating not only attained a superhydrophobic surface with a water contact angle of 152.71°, but also achieved an antifouling surface with a fouled area as low as 0.06%. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymers for Energy and Environmental Applications)
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14 pages, 8333 KiB  
Article
FeV LDH Coated on Sandpaper as an Electrode Material for High-Performance Flexible Energy Storage Devices
by Jihyeon Park, Youngsu Kim, Narasimharao Kitchamsetti, Seungju Jo, Seungjae Lee, Jubin Song, Wook Park and Daewon Kim
Polymers 2023, 15(5), 1136; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym15051136 - 24 Feb 2023
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1739
Abstract
Recently, considerable research efforts to achieve advanced design of promising electroactive materials as well as unique structures in supercapacitor electrodes have been explored for high-performance energy storage systems. We suggest the development of novel electroactive materials with an enlarged surface area for sandpaper [...] Read more.
Recently, considerable research efforts to achieve advanced design of promising electroactive materials as well as unique structures in supercapacitor electrodes have been explored for high-performance energy storage systems. We suggest the development of novel electroactive materials with an enlarged surface area for sandpaper materials. Based on the inherent micro-structured morphologies of the sandpaper substrate, nano-structured Fe-V electroactive material can be coated on it by facile electrochemical deposition technique. A hierarchically designed electroactive surface is covered with FeV-layered double hydroxide (LDH) nano-flakes on Ni-sputtered sandpaper as a unique structural and compositional material. The successful growth of FeV-LDH is clearly revealed by surface analysis techniques. Further, electrochemical studies of the suggested electrodes are carried out to optimize the Fe-V composition as well as the grit number of the sandpaper substrate. Herein, optimized Fe0.75V0.25 LDHs coated on #15000 grit Ni-sputtered sandpaper are developed as advanced battery-type electrodes. Finally, along with the negative electrode of activated carbon and the FeV-LDH electrode, it is utilized for hybrid supercapacitor (HSC) assembly. The fabricated flexible HSC device indicates high energy and power density by showing excellent rate capability. This study is a remarkable approach to improving the electrochemical performance of energy storage devices using facile synthesis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymers for Energy and Environmental Applications)
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12 pages, 1726 KiB  
Article
Non-Conjugated Copoly(Arylene Ether Ketone) for the Current-Collecting System of a Solar Cell with Indium Tin Oxide Electrode
by Alexey N. Lachinov, Danfis D. Karamov, Azat F. Galiev, Sergey N. Salazkin, Vera V. Shaposhnikova, Tatiana N. Kost and Alla B. Chebotareva
Polymers 2023, 15(4), 928; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym15040928 - 13 Feb 2023
Viewed by 1289
Abstract
The mechanism of charge carrier transport in the indium tin oxide (ITO)/polymer/Cu structure is studied, where thin films of copoly(arylene ether ketone) with cardo fluorene moieties are used. This copoly(arylene ether ketone) is non-conjugated polymer which has the properties of electronic switching from [...] Read more.
The mechanism of charge carrier transport in the indium tin oxide (ITO)/polymer/Cu structure is studied, where thin films of copoly(arylene ether ketone) with cardo fluorene moieties are used. This copoly(arylene ether ketone) is non-conjugated polymer which has the properties of electronic switching from the insulating to the highly conductive state. The dependence on the polymer film thickness of such parameters as the potential barrier at the ITO/polymer interface, the concentration of charge carriers, and their mobility in the polymer is studied for the first time. The study of this system is of interest due to the proven potential of using the synthesized polymer in the contact system of a silicon solar cell with an ITO top layer. The parameters of charge carriers and ITO/polymer barrier are evaluated based on the analysis of current–voltage characteristics of ITO/polymer/Cu structure within the injection current models and the Schottky model. The thickness of the polymer layer varies from 50 nm to 2.1 µm. The concentration of intrinsic charge carriers increases when decreasing the polymer film thickness. The charge carrier mobility depends irregularly on the thickness, showing a maximum of 9.3 × 10−4 cm2/V s at 210 nm and a minimum of 4.7 × 10−11 cm2/V s at 50 nm. The conductivity of polymer films first increases with a decrease in thickness from 2.1 µm to 210 nm, but then begins to decrease upon transition to the globular structure of the films at smaller thicknesses. The dependence of the barrier height on polymer thickness has a minimum of 0.28 eV for films 100–210 nm thick. The influence of the supramolecular structure and surface charge field of thin polymer films on the transport of charge carriers is discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymers for Energy and Environmental Applications)
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19 pages, 3315 KiB  
Article
Microwave-Assisted Hierarchically Grown Flake-like NiCo Layered Double Hydroxide Nanosheets on Transitioned Polystyrene towards Triboelectricity-Driven Self-Charging Hybrid Supercapacitors
by Seungju Jo, Narasimharao Kitchamsetti, Hyunwoo Cho and Daewon Kim
Polymers 2023, 15(2), 454; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym15020454 - 15 Jan 2023
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 1817
Abstract
Recently, there is a need to explore the utilization of various heterostructures using the designed nanocomposites and tuning the surfaces of electrodes for improving the electrochemical performance of supercapacitors (SC). In this work, a novel approach is successfully employed through a facile two-step [...] Read more.
Recently, there is a need to explore the utilization of various heterostructures using the designed nanocomposites and tuning the surfaces of electrodes for improving the electrochemical performance of supercapacitors (SC). In this work, a novel approach is successfully employed through a facile two-step synthetic route with the assistance of a microwave for only 1 min. Depending on the glass transition of a polystyrene (PS) substrate and electrochemical deposition (ECD) of electroactive Ni-Co layered double hydroxides (LDHs), a hierarchically designed flake-like morphology can be readily prepared to enhance the surface-active sites, which allows a rhombohedral Ni-Co LDHs electrode to obtain superior electrochemical properties. Further, the interactions between electrode and electrolyte during the diffusion of ions are highly simplified using multiple enhanced electroactive sites and shorter pathways for electron transfer. The unique surface architecture of the PS substrate and the synergistic effect of the bimetallic components in Ni-Co LDHs enable this substrate to obtain desired electrochemical activity in charge storage systems. The optimized MWC Co0.5Ni0.5 electrode exhibited an areal capacity of 100 µAh/cm2 at a current density of 1 mA/cm2 and a remarkable capacity retention of 91.2% over 5000 continuous charging and discharging cycles due to its remarkable synergistic effect of abundant faradaic redox reaction kinetics. The HSC device is assembled with the combination of optimized MWC Co0.5Ni0.5 and activated carbon as a positive and negative electrode, respectively. Further, the electrochemical test results demonstrated that MWC Co0.5Ni0.5 //AC HSC device showed a high areal capacitance of 531.25 mF/cm2 at a current density of 5 mA/cm2. In addition, the fabricated an aqueous HSC device showed a power density of 16 mW/cm2 at an energy density of 0.058 mWh/cm2, along with the remarkable capacity retention of 82.8% even after 10,000 continuous charging and discharging cycles. Moreover, the assembled hybrid supercapacitor (HSC) device is integrated with a triboelectric nanogenerator (TENG) for the development of energy conversion and storage systems. Not only an extensive survey of materials but also an innovative solution for recent progress can confirm the wide range of potential SC applications. Remarkably, this study is a new way of constructing self-powered energy storage systems in the field of sustainable wearable electronics and future smart sensing systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymers for Energy and Environmental Applications)
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20 pages, 4901 KiB  
Article
High-Precision Thin Wall Bipolar Plates for Fuel Cell Applications via Injection Compression Molding with Dynamic Mold Temperature Control
by Benedikt Roth, Rainer Frank, Tobias Kleffel, Kevin Schneider and Dietmar Drummer
Polymers 2022, 14(14), 2799; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14142799 - 8 Jul 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2336
Abstract
In recent years, the demand for polymer compound solutions for the application of bipolar plates in polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells (PEMFC) has increased continuously due to significant cost and lifetime advantages compared to metallic solutions. The main challenge of the compounds is [...] Read more.
In recent years, the demand for polymer compound solutions for the application of bipolar plates in polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells (PEMFC) has increased continuously due to significant cost and lifetime advantages compared to metallic solutions. The main challenge of the compounds is the high filler content required to ensure sufficient electrical conductivity of the bipolar plates. The associated increase in viscosity and simultaneously increased thermal conductivity limit the conventional injection molding process in terms of achievable flow path length to wall thickness ratios (plate aspect ratio). In order to evaluate the extent to which highly modified electrically conductive polymer material systems can be processed into thin-walled and highly dimensionally stable bipolar plates, an injection compression molding process with dynamic mold temperature control (ICM-DT) has been developed. For this purpose, a compound was prepared from polypropylene (PP) and graphite-flakes. The compound was characterized with respect to the achieved filler content, the electrical conductivity, as well as the pressure- and temperature-dependent solidification range. The ICM-DT experiments were carried out by varying the maximum mold temperature and the compression force. In addition, the process was designed with multiple compression and decompression steps to account for a possible pressure-dependent solidification of the compound. The plates were characterized with respect to the achieved plate aspect ratio and the flow-path-dependent dimensional thickness stability. It was shown that the plate aspect ratio could be increased by up to 125% with the maximum filler content compared to conventional injection molding processes provided in the literature. With the multi-stage ICM-DT process, it was also possible to optimize the thickness dimensional stability with a maximum deviation of 3% over the flow path. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymers for Energy and Environmental Applications)
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21 pages, 8202 KiB  
Article
Anionic Dye Removal Using a Date Palm Seed-Derived Activated Carbon/Chitosan Polymer Microbead Biocomposite
by Hani Hussain Sait, Ahmed Hussain, Mohamed Bassyouni, Imtiaz Ali, Ramesh Kanthasamy, Bamidele Victor Ayodele and Yasser Elhenawy
Polymers 2022, 14(12), 2503; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14122503 - 20 Jun 2022
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 2202
Abstract
The discharge of textile wastewater into aquatic streams is considered a major challenge due to its effect on the water ecosystem. Direct blue 78 (DB78) dye has a complex structure. Therefore, it is difficult to separate it from industrial wastewater. In this study, [...] Read more.
The discharge of textile wastewater into aquatic streams is considered a major challenge due to its effect on the water ecosystem. Direct blue 78 (DB78) dye has a complex structure. Therefore, it is difficult to separate it from industrial wastewater. In this study, carbon obtained from the pyrolysis of mixed palm seeds under different temperatures (400 °C and 1000 °C) was activated by a thermochemical method by using microwave radiation and an HCl solution in order to improve its adsorption characteristics. The generated activated carbon was used to synthesize a novel activated carbon/chitosan microbead (ACMB) for dye removal from textile wastewater. The obtained activated carbon (AC) was characterized by a physicochemical analysis that included, namely, particle size, zeta potential, SEM, EDX, and FTIR analyses. A series of batch experiments were conducted in terms of the ACMB dose, contact time, pH, and activated carbon/chitosan ratios in synthetic microbeads for enhancing the adsorption capacity. A remarkable improvement in the surface roughness was observed using SEM analysis. The particle surface was transformed from a slick surface with a minor-pore structure to a rough surface with major-pore structure. The zeta potential analysis indicated a higher improvement in the carbon surface charge, from −35 mv (before activation) to +20 mv (after activation). The adsorption tests showed that the dye-removal efficiency increased with the increasing adsorbent concentration. The maximum removal efficiencies were 97.8% and 98.4% using 3 and 4 g/L of AC400°C MB-0.3:1 and AC1000°C MB-0.3:1, respectively, with initial dye concentrations of 40 mg/L under acidic conditions (pH = 4–5), and an optimal mixing time of 50 min. The equilibrium studies for AC400°C MB-0.3:1 and AC1000°C MB-0.3:1 showed that the equilibrium data best fitted to the Langmuir isothermal model with R2 = 0.99. These results reveal that activated carbon/chitosan microbeads are an effective adsorbent for the removal of direct blue 78 dye and provide a new platform for dye removal. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymers for Energy and Environmental Applications)
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33 pages, 10739 KiB  
Article
Extraction of Nanocellulose for Eco-Friendly Biocomposite Adsorbent for Wastewater Treatment
by Mohamed Bassyouni, Mohamed Sh. Zoromba, Mohamed H. Abdel-Aziz and Ibrahim Mosly
Polymers 2022, 14(9), 1852; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14091852 - 30 Apr 2022
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 2878
Abstract
In the present study, nanocellulose was extracted from palm leaves to synthesize nanocellulose/chitosan nanocomposites for the removal of dyes from textile industrial wastewater. Nanocellulose is of interest in water purification technologies because of its high surface area and versatile surface chemistry. Following bleach, [...] Read more.
In the present study, nanocellulose was extracted from palm leaves to synthesize nanocellulose/chitosan nanocomposites for the removal of dyes from textile industrial wastewater. Nanocellulose is of interest in water purification technologies because of its high surface area and versatile surface chemistry. Following bleach, alkali, and acid treatments on palm leaves, nanocellulose is obtained as a white powder. The produced nanocellulose was investigated. The adsorption capacity of chitosan, nanocellulose, and novel synthetic nanocellulose/chitosan microbeads (CCMB) for direct blue 78 dye (DB78) removal was studied. A series of batch experiments were conducted in terms of adsorbent concentration, mixing time, pH, dye initial concentration, and nanocellulose concentration in synthetic microbeads. The CCMB was characterized by using physicochemical analysis, namely Brunauer–Emmett–Teller (BET), scanning electron microscope (SEM), zeta potential analysis, and Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR). It was found that the surface area of synthetic CCMB is 10.4 m2/g, with a positive net surface charge. The adsorption tests showed that the dye removal efficiency increases with an increasing adsorbent concentration. The maximum removal efficiencies were 91.5% and 88.4%, using 14 and 9 g/L of CCMB-0.25:1. The initial dye concentrations were 50 and 100 mg/L under acidic conditions (pH = 3.5) and an optimal mixing time of 120 min. The equilibrium studies for CCMB-0.25:1 showed that the equilibrium data were best fitted to Langmuir isothermal model with R2 = 0.99. These results revealed that nanocellulose/chitosan microbeads are an effective eco-adsorbent for the removal of direct blue 78 dye and provide a new platform for dye removal. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymers for Energy and Environmental Applications)
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Review

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27 pages, 5747 KiB  
Review
Effect of Sulfonated Inorganic Additives Incorporated Hybrid Composite Polymer Membranes on Enhancing the Performance of Microbial Fuel Cells
by Gowthami Palanisamy, Sadhasivam Thangarasu and Tae Hwan Oh
Polymers 2023, 15(5), 1294; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym15051294 - 3 Mar 2023
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2046
Abstract
Microbial fuel cells (MFCs) provide considerable benefits in the energy and environmental sectors for producing bioenergy during bioremediation. Recently, new hybrid composite membranes with inorganic additives have been considered for MFC application to replace the high cost of commercial membranes and improve the [...] Read more.
Microbial fuel cells (MFCs) provide considerable benefits in the energy and environmental sectors for producing bioenergy during bioremediation. Recently, new hybrid composite membranes with inorganic additives have been considered for MFC application to replace the high cost of commercial membranes and improve the performances of cost-effective polymers, such as MFC membranes. The homogeneous impregnation of inorganic additives in the polymer matrix effectively enhances the physicochemical, thermal, and mechanical stabilities and prevents the crossover of substrate and oxygen through polymer membranes. However, the typical incorporation of inorganic additives in the membrane decreases the proton conductivity and ion exchange capacity. In this critical review, we systematically explained the impact of sulfonated inorganic additives (such as (sulfonated) sSiO2, sTiO2, sFe3O4, and s-graphene oxide) on different kinds of hybrid polymers (such as PFSA, PVDF, SPEEK, SPAEK, SSEBS, and PBI) membrane for MFC applications. The membrane mechanism and interaction between the polymers and sulfonated inorganic additives are explained. The impact of sulfonated inorganic additives on polymer membranes is highlighted based on the physicochemical, mechanical, and MFC performances. The core understandings in this review can provide vital direction for future development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymers for Energy and Environmental Applications)
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