Carbon Nanostructures for Energy Conversion and Storage: From Li-S battery, Supercapacitor, to Nitrogen Fixation

J. Huang, B.G. Sumpter
Oak Ridge National Laboratory,
United States

Keywords: MXene, nanoporous carbon, nanodiamond, carbon nanospike, Li-S battery, supercapacitor, nitrogen fixation

Summary:

With the world facing the growing demand for energy and the adverse impact of fossil fuels on environment, new materials and technologies for electrical energy conversion and storage are crucially needed to harness sustainable and renewable energy sources. In this talk, we will briefly introduce our research on different types of carbon materials with applications in the field of electrical energy conversion and storage. We exploit modeling, simulation, and theory to enable fundamental understandings of 1) the catalytic mechanism of electrolyte additive for cycle life improvement of nanoporous carbon based Li-S battery, 2) the energy storage mechanism of MXene, nanoporous carbon, and nanodiamond in supercapacitor, and 3) the electroreduction mechanism of N2 to NH3 on carbon nanospike. These various carbon nanostructures offer favorable characteristics including confinement for active species, positive/negative surface curvatures, and even 1-nm sharp spikes, which serve to enhance the residence time of reactant, double-layer capacitance, and activation of inert reactant by strong electric field. The fundamental understandings thus obtained provide deep insight that may help scientists to further optimize carbon nanostructure materials toward practical technology applications.