Batteries for Energy Storage
In order to meet the challenges of development of energy storage technologies for sustainable energy production (solar and wind, etc), and fast-growing needs of renewable chemical and fuel production from renewable energy, breakthroughs are desired in electrochemical energy converison and storage technologies. To address this big challenge, we design and synthesise next-generation energy materials for electrochemical energy conversion and storage applications.
Ion-transport membranes. We are developing new-generation of ion-selective membranes from advanced microporous materials, such as polymers of intrinsic microporosity (PIMs) and metal-organic frameworks (MOFs), to achieve high ion conductivity and high ionic selectivity, and ultimately improving the performance of rechargeable batteries to achieve high energy efficiency and high stability. One particuarly promising technology is redox flow batteries which can be scaled up towards MW scale energy storage. Microporous polymer membranes with precisely defined molecular-scale porosity and ion-conducting functionality enable rapid and selective ion transport in advanced batteries. We study the stability and performance of membranes in solvent, electrolytes, and electrochemical reaction conditions. By gaining fundamental understandings of macromolecular structures and their relationships with ionic conductivity, selectivity and battery performance, we aim to ultimately develop cost-effective scalable flow battery technology for energy storage. These membranes will also find a wide range of applications for renewable energy development, such as more efficient electrolysis for H2 production, electrochemical conversion of CO2 into chemicals and fuels.