Multiscale tuning of interfaces and surfaces for energy applications

Lead Research Organisation: University of St Andrews
Department Name: Chemistry

Abstract

The aim of this proposal is to establish a Core Activity within the UK Centre for Advanced Materials for Energy Generation and Transmission along the lines of the national Supergen Consortia in Energy Engineering. We anticipate being one of three Cores comprising an overall Centre activity and expect to play an important role in delivering such a Centre. Here, we build our case around the most critical element in many manifestations of Energy Materials applications, the interfaces between the active elements. The interface between active components and, indeed, the surface are usually of great importance in determining the functionality of any energy materials application. For example, the critical region determining the performance and lifetime of most electrochemical systems is normally at the electrode side of the electrode/electrolyte interface.

The proposal is split into three components: (1) Platform Research within the Core (60%); (2) Flexible Funding for collaborative research with University & Industry Partners outside the Core (30%), using which we will seek to build up capability through pump-priming and proof of concept studies. Thirdly, this will be strongly supported through interactions and collaborations through (3) Networking and Outreach (10%). The grouping not only offers strong expertise in a broad range of Energy Materials, but also brings together diverse skills and disciplines in a highly complementary manner to address exciting research challenges at Energy Materials interfaces.

Planned Impact

Global warming and the finite nature of fossil fuels conspire to present one of the greatest threats to humankind in the 21st century. If we are to maintain our technological society and leave a planet fit for our grandchildren we must develop fundamentally different ways of generating and storing electrical energy. This application is made in response to the recent call from EPSRC for proposals to set up virtual research centres for energy materials and aims to form one of the core teams, bringing together leading research groups across a broad range of energy and materials technologies which will form a basis from which to develop applications driven solutions to problems related to interfaces in energy devices.

The application is strongly aligned to two of the eight Great Technologies: Advanced Materials and Energy. Many of the investigators in this core group have significant industrial experience and collaborative history, providing a large existing network through which to explore new partnerships and drive knowledge transfer and outreach activities The breadth of these collaborations create the potential for exciting new partnerships to be developed, especially across industries which would maybe not traditionally work together but may have complimentary goals cutting across disciplinary boundaries. This has the potential to forrn the foundation of sustainable new activities in this area which can make a substantive contribution both to academic understanding of the fundamental issues but also tangible real world solutions to industrial problems and roadblocks to full commercialisation of promising energy systems.

The interface between active components and, indeed, the surface are usually of great importance in determining the functionality of any energy materials application. For example, the critical region determining the performance and lifetime of most electrochemical systems is normally at the electrode side of the electrode/electrolyte interface. In the Core activity of this project we bring together complimentary skills to address this key element of the Energy Materials portfolio. Not only is this a particularly important area of research, it also transcends well beyond the normal barriers between topics and disciplines. We aim to study critical interfaces from atomistic to mm scale with perspectives from chemical functionality to structural stability. This will form the underpinning knowledge from which we can buils the industrially facing solutions driven projects within the flexible funding projects.

The key output will be the creation of a solid knowledge foundation working in close partnership with other cores within the proposed centre, engaging with other EPSRC Hubs and industrial partnerships to create a sustainable development portfolio which ultimately leads to new commercially viable energy technologies which can make a tangible impact on the energy trilema of sustainability, cost and security.

Publications

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Clough AJ (2017) Metallic Conductivity in a Two-Dimensional Cobalt Dithiolene Metal-Organic Framework. in Journal of the American Chemical Society

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Clough AJ (2019) Room Temperature Metallic Conductivity in a Metal-Organic Framework Induced by Oxidation. in Journal of the American Chemical Society

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Gunn DSD (2019) Thermodynamics, Electronic Structure, and Vibrational Properties of Sn n (S1-x Se x ) m Solid Solutions for Energy Applications. in Chemistry of materials : a publication of the American Chemical Society

 
Description A new mechanism for exsolution of nanoparticles from a perovskite surface has been discovered, this follows from doping of nickel atoms onto the unexpected larger A-site of the perovskite. The resulting stuctures have been found to perform well in alkaline fuel cell electrode mode.
Important advances have been made in relation to various families of energy materials ranging from perovskite photovoltaics, through piezoelectric ceramics, battery materials to fuel cell electrodes.
Exploitation Route There has been a significant amout of pump-priming funding to accelerate new capabilities across the UK
Sectors Energy,Environment

URL https://advancedmaterialsnetwork.wp.st-andrews.ac.uk/
 
Description This project has been very successful in bringing together and expanding a strong community in Energy Materials. Workshops have been held in Edinburgh, Bath and Birmingham and seven flexible funding projects have been supported. The collaboration and integration of the core team has grown and strengthened, especially through the lockdown period where we were able to enhance dialogue through frequent worksdhops.
First Year Of Impact 2020
Sector Chemicals,Energy
Impact Types Economic

 
Description Novel ceramic matrix composites produced with microwave assisted chemical vapour infiltration process for energy-intensive industries
Amount € 403,343 (EUR)
Organisation European Commission H2020 
Sector Public
Country Belgium
Start 10/2020 
End 09/2024
 
Title Data to accompany the article "Lattice dynamics of the tin sulphides SnS2, SnS and Sn2S3: vibrational spectra and thermal transport" 
Description This repository contains key raw data from the calculations performed in the manuscript, including the optimised structures, data from the lattice-dynamics calculations, the simulated spectra and the thermal-conductivity tensors. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2017 
Provided To Others? Yes  
 
Title Dataset for "Intrinsic flexibility of the EMT zeolite framework under pressure" 
Description A collection of the data used, and reported in the article "Intrinsic flexibility of the EMT zeolite framework under pressure". This includes high pressure powder X-ray diffraction data collected on the ID15B and ID27 beamlines at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF). It also includes the data from first-principles comparative DFT and lattice-dynamics calculations to calculate the lattice energy and vibrational entropy of the EMT and FAU frameworks. The purpose of this research was to gain a more coherent understanding as to the role of the organic additive 18-crown-6 ether to differentiate between synthesis of EMT and FAU-type zeolites. From the results, it is demonstrated that the 18-crown-6 ether molecule plays a crucial role in the free-energy of crystallisation, driving the framework assembly process towards the EMT topology. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2019 
Provided To Others? Yes  
 
Title Predictive formulation of high-solid content complex dispersions (EPSRC Project EP/N024982/1) 
Description Full dataset from EPSRC project (09/16-10/19) 'Predictive formulation of high solid-content complex dispersions'. Data represents rheological measurements under various conditions of flow: Shear flow - as measured in DHR rheometer: all in folder 'Shear Data' and subfolders Squeeze flow - as measured in DHR rheometer and Anton Paar rheometer: all in folder 'squeeze flow data' Creep and relaxation tests - as measured in Haake Caber: all in folder 'squeeze flow data'/subfolder 'creep and relaxation tests'. Data is represented in xlsx format. Some 'raw data' is in .cbr Caber proprietary format but is all represented in the xlsx compiled/analysed data files. Materials: the majority of work is on cornstarch suspensions in glycerol/water mixed solvent, as indicated by subfolder and file nomenclature. There is some base data using pure glycerol for testing: in folder 'squeeze flow data'/subfolder 'glycerol'. The majority of data are in xlsx (Excel) format or in opj (Origin Project) format. Open source/free readers are available for these formats although further analysis and editing would require the full software versions. There are some additional representations of results in pdf and pptx formats. The above info is also available in a readme file. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2020 
Provided To Others? Yes  
URL https://pureportal.strath.ac.uk/en/datasets/4cb453c4-c3d5-4725-b266-7ede4ef39d14
 
Title Replacement of Ca by Ni in a Perovskite Titanate to Yield a Novel Perovskite Exsolution Architecture for Oxygen-Evolution Reactions (dataset) 
Description Supplementary Information 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2020 
Provided To Others? Yes  
URL https://risweb.st-andrews.ac.uk:443/portal/en/datasets/replacement-of-ca-by-ni-in-a-perovskite-titan...
 
Description Effect of rare-earth doping elements on the mechanical and oxidation resistance performance of SiC coated C fibre / ZrC composites for high temperature applications 
Organisation European Commission H2020
Country Belgium 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution This was a programme undertaken by Dr Murthy and led to the discovery that it was possible to avoid the oxidation of Cf-based ultra-high temperature CMCs even without an interfacial coating.
Collaborator Contribution No partners.
Impact Several papers have been published; see publications list.
Start Year 2018
 
Description Novel ceramic matrix composites produced with microwave assisted chemical vapour infiltration process for energy-intensive industries 
Organisation European Commission H2020
Country Belgium 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution We are part of a large consortium of 13 partners; the total budget is 4,878,720 euro and the lead partner is the Univ of Pisa.
Collaborator Contribution Many and varied!
Impact None yet.
Start Year 2020
 
Description Novel ceramic matrix composites produced with microwave assisted chemical vapour infiltration process for energy-intensive industries 
Organisation University of Pisa
Country Italy 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We are part of a large consortium of 13 partners; the total budget is 4,878,720 euro and the lead partner is the Univ of Pisa.
Collaborator Contribution Many and varied!
Impact None yet.
Start Year 2020
 
Description A conference poster presentation by GuoYang (Victoria) Ye (PhD student) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact A poster at Material Science & Technology 2018 of the American Ceramics Society (MS&T18), Columbus, American, 17-19th October 2018.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description A conference poster presentation by GuoYang (Victoria) Ye (PhD student) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact A poster presented at the 3rd Annual Energy Harvesting Society Meeting, Virginia, American, 4 - 6th September 2019
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description A conference presentation by GuoYang (Victoria) Ye (PhD student) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Victoria gave her first conference presentation at the 16th Conference and Exhibition of the European Ceramic Society (ECERS 2019), Torino, Italy. 16 - 19th June 2019.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Energy Materials at The Edge 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The 3rd Annual workshop at the University of Bath's The Edge on Tuesday 29th October 2019. The symposium covered both experimental and computational work on interfaces in materials for energy applications, including materials for fuel cells, batteries, solar cells and thermoelectric devices.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://advancedmaterialsnetwork.wp.st-andrews.ac.uk/2019/09/12/advanced-materials-network-mise-3rd-...
 
Description Fundamental Properties of Interfaces for Energy Storage and Conversion 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The workshop brought together the core and flexible funding partners showcasing the strong links within the MISE network. The workshop formed a focus for issues on the fundamental properties of interfaces in energy conversion and storage published in the Journal of Physics Energy.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://advancedmaterialsnetwork.wp.st-andrews.ac.uk/2018/06/17/advanced-materials-network-mise-2nd-...
 
Description Inaugural Workshop 31st October 2017, Royal Society of Edinburgh 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact his meeting is an important community building event and we will use this to launch a call for a programme of research to collaborate with University and Industry partners outside of the network core using flexible funding on topics such as scaling up exciting new materials, facility sharing, etc. We will seek to pump prime collaborations through this call and will be able to make funds available to resource some activities at Academic partners outside the Network core.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://advancedmaterialsnetwork.wp.st-andrews.ac.uk/2017/06/27/inaugral-workshop/
 
Description Invited Talk 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The greatest challenge facing Solid oxide cells (SOC), in both fuel and electrolysis cell modes (i.e SOFCs and SOECs) is to deliver high, long-lasting electrocatalytic activity while ensuring cost and time-efficient electrode manufacture. Ultimately, this can best be achieved by growing appropriate nanoarchitectures under operationally relevant conditions, rather than through intricate ex situ procedures.

In our approach, metal particles are grown directly from the oxide support though in situ redox exsolution. We demonstrated that by understanding and manipulating the surface chemistry of an oxide support with adequately designed bulk (non)stoichiometry, one can control the size, distribution and surface coverage of produced particles. We also revealed that the emergent particles are generally epitaxially socketed in the parent perovskite which appears to be the underlying origin of their remarkable stability, including unique resistance of metal particles to agglomeration and to hydrocarbon coking, whilst retaining catalytic activit.

Operando redox treatments yield emergent nanomaterials at potentials in excess of 2V. Here we apply this technique to drive steam, CO2 and coelectrolysis processes at emergent metals and alloy particles.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://ecs.confex.com/ecs/prime2020/meetingapp.cgi/Paper/143913
 
Description Invited Talk 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact European School on Ceramics for Energy Conversion and Storage (EnergyCeram)
The online school aims at presenting a current overview of ceramic materials and technologies for selected energy applications. A topical focus is put on high-temperature power generation (gas turbines, concentrated solar power) and electrochemical applications based on ionic transport (solid oxide fuel cells, gas separation membranes, electrochemical storage).
After a brief introduction of each application field including targets for properties, the relevant ceramic materials will be reviewed and evaluated. In order to be integrated in real devices, they need to fulfil numerous, often contradictory conditions, such as highest ionic and/ or electronic conductivity, stability during operation, processability, etc.

The used online platform will allow for personal interactions (including video chat and screen sharing). Enough breaks are foreseen to stimulate exchanges, offering the opportunity to chat with other participants and meet new people face-to-face or in small groups!
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://congress.dkg.de/event/eu_spring_school_001/
 
Description Invited paper 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact J. Zou, W. Hillman and J. Binner, Ablation behavior of ZrB2 based ceramics and composites at ultra-high temperature, Invited presentation at the 43th International Conference & Exposition on Advanced Ceramics & Composites (ICACC), Hilton Daytona Beach Resort, USA, 29 Jan-2 Feb, 2019.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Invited paper by Dr Ji Zou, postdoc 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact J. Zou and J. Binner, Flash sintering of difficult-to-densify ceramics for nuclear application, Invited presentation, 10th International Conference on High-Performance Ceramics (CICC10), Nanchang, China, 4-7 Nov, 2017.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Keynote paper 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact 11th International Conference on High Performance Ceramics, CICC11, Kunming, China, May 2019
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Oral presentation by Dr Ji Zou, postdoc 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact J. Zou, M. Porter and Jon Binner, Microstructural Study of SiCf/SiC composites densified by conventional and microwave assisted chemical vapour infiltration. Oral presentation during the 16th conference and exhibition of the European Ceramic Society (ECERS 2019), Torino, Italy. 16 - 19th June 2019.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Presentation to Early Career Researchers: Frontiers on Advanced Ceramic Materials (3rd International Rhine Round Table) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact I gave a talk and then sat on a Round Table where a variety of issues relevant to Early Career Researchers were debated along with a number of other international individuals. It was the 3rd International Rhine Round Table and was organised by the German Chapter of the American Ceramic Soc.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://ceramics.uni-koeln.de/aktivitaeten/internationaler-rhine-round-table/3rd-international-rhine...
 
Description Presentation to International Industry 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact In Feb 2020 I was the guest of the Japanese Fine Ceramic Association in Tokyo, meeting and giving a talk to ~25 of Japan's leading ceramics companies. I visited the internationally renowned Centre for Ceramic Matrix Composites and met with both the Head of Technology and the Director of the Aerospace and Defence Industry Division of the Japanese Government's Manufacturing Industries Bureau. A 2-day meeting at the Univ. of Birmingham between Japanese and European experts in the field of CMCs, originally planned for July 2020, will now occur during 2022 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, a Collaboration Agreement between the Japanese Centre for CMCs, the University of Birmingham and the University of California at Los Angeles has already been signed.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020