A critical challenge in the 21st century is to make renewable energy less expensive. Key to achieving this goal is reducing the cost of energy storage technologies that can buffer the renewable energy supply with the grid’s demand. The Department of Energy predicts that system capital cost must drop below $150/kWh with a cycle life exceeding 5,000 cycles to achieve terawatt scale solar penetration in the United States. Suspension-based flow batteries show promise to achieve this goal. A critical engineering challenge, however, is maintaining high electronic transport in the fluid while keeping the viscosity low. Existing strategies require an unacceptable tradeoff between electronic transport and viscosity. Engineering a low-viscosity, high conductivity suspension electrode is therefore critical to system performance. Unfortunately, a lack of scientific understanding of the underlying physics of electrical transport in such suspensions has hindered progress toward realizing this goal. Without fundamentally new insights in this area, suspension-based flow batteries will not impact the economic storage of electricity. This proposed CAREER project will address this challenge by combining new synthesis techniques with advanced structural and electrical characterization to understand electron transport in fluid suspensions of conducting particles. The scientific outcomes of this proposal will provide new insight into this important transport phenomenon and help establish the long-term vision of the PI’s lab: the design of next-generation soft materials purpose-built for emerging electrical and electrochemical energy technologies. The proposed education and outreach program will also impact the next generation of researchers and young scientists interested in pursuing a career in STEM. It does so by inspiring for pre-8th grade learners to adopt STEM attitudes and integrated teaching and outreach activities to address unmet needs in graduate and undergraduate coursework and career readiness.
|Effective start/end date||9/1/21 → 8/31/26|
- National Science Foundation (CBET-2047365)
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