Research

SEPARATION OF ALKALINE-EARTH METALS FROM MOLTEN SALT ELECTROLYTES

There are over 80,000 metric tons of nuclear waste that accumulates in different locations across the United States, and a great amount of this waste can be recycled into new fuel for nuclear energy. Currently during the recycling process, some fission products such as barium and strontium build up in the process’s electrolyte, increasing costs and decreasing efficiency. This research is focused on using liquid metal electrodes to remove these fission products and understanding the underlying thermodynamic and electrochemical properties of their interactions.

Principal Investigator | Hojong Kim, Penn State University

Publications associated with this work

  • Thermodynamic Properties of Strontium-Lead Alloys Determined by Electromotive Force Measurements [Journal of the Electrochemical Society]

  • Thermodynamic Properties of Barium-Antimony Alloys Determined by Emf Measurements [Electrochimica Acta]

  • Determination of Thermodynamic Properties of Alkaline Earth-Liquid Metal Alloys Using the Electromotive Force Technique [Journal of Visualized Experiments]

  • Electrochemical deposition of alkaline-earth elements (Sr and Ba) from LiCl-KCl-SrCl2-BaCl2 solution using a liquid bismuth electrode [Electrochimica Acta]

  • Thermodynamic properties of Sr-Sb alloys via emf measurements using solid CaF2-SrF2 electrolyte [Electrochimica Acta]

  • Thermodynamic Properties of Ba-Pb Alloys Determined by Emf Measurements Using Binary CaF2-BaF2 Electrolyte [Journal of Electrochemical Society]

COMPUTATIONAL MODELING OF Li CATHODE MATERIALS

Lithium ion batteries are ubiquitous in powering our world, ranging from mobile phones to grid-scale energy storage. With exponential growth in energy storage applications, there is a demand for novel battery chemistries to increase energy density and cycle life. Computational modeling of these materials greatly reduces the time and resources necessary to further battery development. This work focused on modeling the defect chemistry of Li cathode materials using atomistic siumulations to gain insight into new cathode materials for batteries.

Principal Investigator | Sanghun Lee, Gachon University ()

Research summary

  • To reduce the resources required to investigate promising lithium ion cathode materials, computation modeling is employed to model the potential properties of potential compounds.

  • Encouraging experimental results from a sodium ion battery cathode material prompted mechanistic understanding of the material’s properties.

  • Using GULP code, I modeled the crystal structure, defect chemistry, and ion transport of the material to understand the mechanisms behind the properties of the material

HIGH TEMPERATURE, CORROSION RESISTANT OXIDE CERAMIC FOR LIQUID METAL BATTERY ENERGY STORAGE

Grid-scale energy storage is imperative to promoting widespread penetration of renewable energy sources into the electrical grid. One long-term energy storage technology is the liquid metal battery, an electrochemical cell with no mechanical moving parts and low capacity fade rate, leading to operating lifetimes of 20-30 years. Constructing containment of the active battery components requires novel engineering solutions, including a high temperature, corrosion resistant seal to store the active components under an inert atmosphere. This work focused on developing one part of the seal, a ceramic insulator, that is resistant to high temperature degradation, resistant to oxidation, and resistant to corrosion from moisture and cell contents.

Principal Investigator | David Bradwell, AMBRI, Inc. 

Research summary

  • The electrochemical cells contained corrosive chemicals and operated at high temperatures (>450°C).

  • Commercially available ceramic composites were ineffective at containing the cell components while maintaining high (>99%) coulombic efficiency. We examined various oxide ceramics as candidate materials for a ceramic insulator to be used in the high temperature seal of the electrochemical cell.

  • Using robust test methods, we developed ceramic composites that insulated the electrodes of the cell while separating the inner and outer atmospheres and containing the cell chemistry

NOVEL MCM ADSORBENT AS HIGH EFFICIENCY CARBON DIOXIDE CAPTURE PLATFORM

Carbon dioxide capture and sequestration is a viable method of mitigating carbon emissions from industrial point sources as low-carbon energy sources are implemented. CO2 does not effectively adsorb onto current carbon dioxide capture materials for the price at which it would cost to implement them at scale. Mesoporous materials with increased surface area and large diffusion channels can lead to increased carbon dioxide capture per unit material, thereby driving down cost. This work focused on pillaring MCM-36 with titanium oxide to increase the amount of carbon dioxide adsorbed onto the surface of the material.

Principal Investigator | Sunho Choi (Northeastern University) 

Publications associated with this work

  • Generation and use of a pure titanium pillared MCM-36 structure as a high
    efficiency carbon dioxide capture platform and amine loaded solid
    adsorbent 
    [Microporous and Mesoporous Materials]