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Reference Number EP/M027066/1
Status Completed
Energy Categories Other Power and Storage Technologies(Energy storage) 100%;
Research Types Basic and strategic applied research 100%
Science and Technology Fields ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY (Chemical Engineering) 100%
UKERC Cross Cutting Characterisation Not Cross-cutting 100%
Principal Investigator Dr Q Cai
No email address given
Civil, Chemical and Environmental Engineering
University of Surrey
Award Type Standard
Funding Source EPSRC
Start Date 01 August 2015
End Date 31 January 2017
Duration 18 months
Total Grant Value £99,085
Industrial Sectors Energy
Region South East
Programme NC : Engineering
Investigators Principal Investigator Dr Q Cai , Civil, Chemical and Environmental Engineering, University of Surrey (100.000%)
  Industrial Collaborator Project Contact , Queen Mary, University of London (0.000%)
Project Contact , Johnson Matthey plc (0.000%)
Project Contact , CIC EnergiGUNE, Spain (0.000%)
Web Site
Abstract The UK faces the challenge to store energy from grid electricity generation (the current storage capacity is around just 3 GW, far short of the demand of around 20 GW). Greater capability (~10 GW) to store electricity will save the UK energy spend of up to 10 billion a year by 2050, and will provide flexibility for energy supply, as pointed out by the Rt Hon David Willetts MP in "Eight Great Technologies". It will also facilitate the increased use of intermittent renewable energies (such as wind, wave and tidal) on the grid to meet binding emission targets (for example, 80% CO2 reduction by 2050) and thus enable the faster transition to a low carbon society. This calls for low cost and sustainable energy storage technologies. Na ion batteries (NIBs) have recently attracted increasing interest worldwide, because of the natural abundance, wide availability and low cost of Na resources. They may be more economically viable than lithium-based batteries in the context of grid storage and can support the UK's and even the world-wide demand for electricity storage. The development of NIBs has, however, been very slow in the UK, compared to other competitors such as USA, Japan and China. This project aims to make advancements in NIBs with a focus on anode materials.This project proposes the use of low cost and aboundant nanoporous carbons materials (particularly biomass derived carbon aerogels) as anode materials in NIBs. This proposal details a necessary step by providing a design tool for selection and optimisation of nanoporous carbons in this application. The hypothesis of the research is that computational models can be used to design desirable porous carbons for NIBs. The model development will be supported and validated by experimental activities including characterisation of real nanoporous carbons, assembly and testing of NIB cells.Molecular models will be developed at two levels - a single pore model and a more complicated virtual porous carbon model. Hetreatoms (such as H, O, B, N, P, S) in the forms of doped atoms in the carbon lattices, and funcational groups, will be introduced, for the first time, to reflect the real atomic structures of porous carbons. Molecular simulations will be performed on the models to reveal Na ion intercalation mechanism in nanoporous carbons and the effects of pore sizes and presence of heteroatoms on the adsorption, diffusion and charge transfer processes. Desirable characteristics of porous carbons will be generated. These desirable charateristics will be used to guide the fabrication and optimisation of real nanoporous carbons.This project is underpinned by a fully funded PhD studentship at Surrey, which will enable the prediction and the understanding from molecular simulations to be directly translated into real applications. Biomass derived nanoporous carbon aerogels, produced at Queen Mary University of London (UK), will be used to manufacture NIB cells at University of Surrey for electrochemical performance testing. Nanoporous carbons of other origin will be produced at CIC-Energigune (Spain) and used in battery cell manufacturing and testing. The project is also strongly supported by Johnson Matthey on materials characterization, battery testing, and advice on prototype opportunities. This project is the natural result of the PI's expertise in molecular simulation, nanoporous carbon materials and electrode design for electrochemical devices. The framework of the proposed work will be underpinned by extensive energy materials characterisation expertise and infrastructure, as well as extensive expertise and facilities in battery manufacturing and testing at Surrey
Publications (none)
Final Report (none)
Added to Database 18/09/15