Nano- and Microscale Material and Reactor Engineering for Electrochemical Energy Storage 

2:00pm - 3:00pm

Renewable electricity, coupled with electrochemical energy storage, is a pathway to alleviate our dependence on fossil fuel and enable carbon neutrality. Unfortunately, the cost of storing electricity is still higher than generating electricity. In addition to cost, the current version of lithium-ion batteries is unlikely to meet the requirements of all existing and future applications with different energy-to-power ratios and safety sensitivities. Since 2017, our lab at Georgia Tech has been working on several rechargeable battery technologies that have unique advantages over lithium-ion as well as their own challenges. Targeting those challenges, we designed, fabricated and analyzed new materials and reactors with enhanced reaction and transport properties at the nano- and microscale. 

For example, metallic zinc as a rechargeable anode material for aqueous batteries has gained tremendous attention with merits of intrinsic safety, low cost, and high theoretical volumetric capacity (5,854 mAh/cm3). Among zinc-based batteries, Zn-air batteries are promising with the highest theoretical volumetric energy density (4,931 Wh/L). Rechargeable zinc anode has recently achieved progress in neutral electrolytes, yet developed slowly in alkaline electrolytes, which are kinetically favorable for air cathodes. Passivation, dissolution, and hydrogen evolution are three main reasons for irreversibility of zinc anodes in alkaline electrolytes, which limits the rechargeability and usable energy density. We carried out material engineering at the nanoscale to overcome these three challenges of zinc anode. We have also used gas chromatography quantitative analysis and operando microscopy to quantify gas evolution side reaction and visualize the reaction on electrodes during operation, respectively. In this talk, I will present our findings on zinc-based batteries, as well as solid-state batteries and redox flow batteries, which could potentially expand the portfolio of electrochemical energy storage technologies for sustainable energy.

講者/ 表演者:
Prof. Nian LIU

Nian Liu is an Assistant Professor at School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Georgia Tech. He received B.S. in 2009 from Fudan University, and Ph.D. in 2014 from Stanford University, where he worked on the structure design for Si anodes for high-energy Li-ion batteries. From 2014 to 2016, he worked at Stanford University as a postdoc, where he developed in situ optical microscopy to probe beam-sensitive battery reactions. Dr. Liu’s lab at Georgia Tech is broadly interested in the combination of materials, electrochemistry, and operando microscopy for studying the global energy challenges. Specifically, the Liu’s lab is focusing on electric vehicle battery and stationary battery science and technologies. His publications have been cited over 30,000 times, he is recognized as a Highly Cited Researcher by Clarivate™. He is the recipient of the Electrochemical Society (ECS) Daniel Cubicciotti Award (2014), American Chemical Society (ACS) Division of Inorganic Chemistry Young Investigator Award (2015), Chemistry of Materials Up-and-Coming Researcher (2017), Journal of Materials Chemistry A Emerging Investigator (2018), Jim Pope CREATE-X Faculty Fellow (2021), and Nanoscale Emerging Investigator (2022).

Department of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering