The renewable energy revolution, which accelerated in the recent decade opens new opportunities for the generation of eco-friendly electricity without greenhouse gases emission. Free natural energy sources like sun, wind, and hydropower can be utilized and effectively convert into electrical current. While these technologies provide a realistic alternative to the conventional coal-based power plants, their intermittent nature affected by the environmental conditions possesses a major concern regarding their reliability and the ability to generate electricity continuously.
To address this challenge, these renewable technologies should be combined with energy storage capabilities. Such an electricity storage system will be designed to store charge during the energy generation periods (for instance, sun or wind times for solar and wind-based technologies) and deliver it when the energy can not be generated. To date, the most prominent storage technology is the pumped-hydro in which water is pump from a lower reservoir during low demands times and released from the upper reservoir to turn a turbine to generate make-up electricity at high demands. Although this technology is widely spread and well established, it is limited by geographic considerations (water availability, suitable topography, etc.), requires specific conditions and suitable infrastructure, and lacks modularity.
The rapid development of electrochemical energy storage systems, particularly batteries and supercapacitors can provide a sustainable and cost-effective energy storage solution. While Li-ion based technology can deliver and store significantly more energy compare to other electrochemical systems, in the near coming future all the available Li resources are expected to be employed for vehicles propulsion applications In addition, large scale energy storage applications require the use of a massive amount of active materials, hence only abundant element should be considered.
Taking into account the relatively high production cost of aprotic electrolytes, and their associated safety concerns the use of a water-based electrolytes system would be a reasonable choice. To address this need, our study aims to research and development of aqueous batteries and supercapacitors based on abundant and cost-effective elements such as Porotons, Na, K, and Zn for large storage applications. To achieve this goal, our team focuses on the synthesis of new open framework cathodes and anodes suitable for reversible intention of large ions, the design of new aqueous electrolyte solutions formulations with suppressed water splitting activity, and the investigation of advanced current collectors with low catalytic activity for H2 and 02 formations.
1. Shpigel, N., Levi, M. D., Sigalov, S., Girshevitz, O., Aurbach, D., Daikhin, L., ... & Presser, V. (2016). In situ hydrodynamic spectroscopy for structure characterization of porous energy storage electrodes. Nature Materials, 15(5), 570-575.
2. Turgeman, M., Wineman-Fisher, V., Malchik, F., Saha, A., Bergman, G., Gavriel, B., ... & Aurbach, D. (2022). A cost-effective water-in-salt electrolyte enables highly stable operation of a 2.15-V aqueous lithium-ion battery. Cell Reports Physical Science, 3(1), 100688.
3. Gavriel, B., Shpigel, N., Malchik, F., Bergman, G., Turgeman, M., Levi, M. D., & Aurbach, D. (2021). Enhanced Performance of Ti3C2Tx (MXene) Electrodes in Concentrated ZnCl2 Solutions: A Combined Electrochemical and EQCM-D Study. Energy Storage Materials, 38, 535-541.
4. Shpigel, N., Levi, M. D., Sigalov, S., Mathis, T. S., Gogotsi, Y., & Aurbach, D. (2018). Direct assessment of nanoconfined water in 2D Ti3C2 electrode interspaces by a surface acoustic technique. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 140(28), 8910-8917.