Nanostructured transition Metal Phosphides for Electrochemical Energy Storage
The ever-growing world population and their increasing needs for improving living standards have posed an accelerating demand for energy. Presently, fossil fuels are still dominating the energy consumption worldwide. However, fossil fuels are nonrenewable energy sources; continuous consumption of fossil fuels will not only diminish their global reserves but also cause serious environmental pollution and global climate change. In 2015 Paris Climate Summit, 195 countries in the world adopted the first ever universal, legally-binding deal, agreeing to reduce carbon emissions to keep the global average temperature increase well below 2 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial levels by 2100. The European Parliament had ratified the Paris Agreement and the emission-cutting plans are now entering into force. This means that in the coming decades renewable energy must be deployed on a greater scale than ever to reduce carbon emissions. Given that most renewable energy sources are intermittent, large-scale deployment of renewable energy will not be made viable without appropriate energy storage technologies.
Among the available storage solutions, rechargeable lithium (Li)-ion battery (LIB) is one of key enablers for renewable energy storage. However, for large-scale deployment the Li storage performance of LIBs must be substantially improved and costs significantly be reduced. To improve Li storage performance, it is critically important to develop new electrode materials that can provide high storage capacity, excellent rate capability, and long cycle life; to reduce costs, a viable approach is to develop new battery chemistry where expensive Li compounds can be replaced by much cheaper ones. In this regard, sodium (Na)-ion battery (SIB) has been proposed to be a promising alternative to LIB and recently drawn considerable research attention.
This project aims to develop new nanostructured transition metal phosphides (TMPs) and investigate their electrochemical performance for use as anode materials in electrochemical energy storage, i.e., in LIBs/SIBs. TMPs have high theoretical capacity, high electrical conductivity, and relatively low redox potential versus Li/Li+ or Na/Na+ compared to transition metal sulfides, fluorides, and oxides, and therefore hold substantial promise for improving Li and Na storage performance.
The main objectives include: (i) Synthesis of nickel phosphide (Ni-P) and cobalt phosphide (Co-P) nanostructures; (ii) Fabrication of carbon nanotube (CNT)/TMP nanocomposite electrodes; (iii) Investigation of Li/Na storage performance of
synthesized TMP nanostructures as well as CNT/TMP nanocomposite electrodes in collaboration with UT-Austin partner.
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