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

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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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Gunn DSD (2019) Thermodynamics, Electronic Structure, and Vibrational Properties of Sn (S Se ) 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.
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.
First Year Of Impact 2018
Sector Chemicals,Energy
Impact Types Economic

 
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  
 
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 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 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 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