Advancing Energy Storage through Materials: The need for multiscale investigation from the molecular to the mesoscale

E.S. Takeuchi, A.C. Marschilok, K.J. Takeuchi
Brookhaven National Laboratory,
United States

Keywords: energy storage

Summary:

Batteries are application driven, scientifically complex electrical energy storage (EES) systems used for portable devices, electric transportation and stationary electrical storage. While theoretical energy estimates, including theoretical capacity and voltage, are often provided in the literature, a material’s efficiency and function under working conditions can be quite different. The diversity and intricacies of new and modified battery materials inherently reduces the probability of optimization experiments resulting in marketable products because operation mechanisms are unknown. Still undefined are the fundamental issues influencing ion and electron transport and electron transfer, how phenomena changes across multiple domains including interfaces, and how transport phenomena evolves under flux in systems not at equilibrium. Thus, investigation over multiple length scales can provide the fundamental understanding that will lead to scientific insights. This requires multiple characterization and theory approaches used in concert, to tie together information gathered at the local or atomic level through methods like TEM and EELS, with mesoscale information such as structure of the composite electrode with the systems level performance. This presentation will provide examples illustrating that combining synthesis, characterization, electrochemistry, theory and modeling expertise to study batteries from the molecular to mesoscale level is the appropriate approach and is needed to reach a complete understanding of battery function.