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The 15th Anniversary of Materials—Recent Advances in Energy Materials

A special issue of Materials (ISSN 1996-1944). This special issue belongs to the section "Energy Materials".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 10 August 2024 | Viewed by 10882

Special Issue Editor


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Guest Editor
Department of Applied Science and Technology, Politecnico di Torino, Corso Duca degli Abruzzi 24, 10129 Torino, Italy
Interests: batteries; post-lithium batteries, electrochemical nitrogen reduction; hybrid photovoltaics; biosourced polymers; dye-sensitized solar cells; integrated energy devices polymer electrolytes; sustainable ammonia production
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Launched in 2008, Materials has provided readers with high-quality content edited by active researchers in materials science for 15 years, through a model of sustainable open access and outstanding editorial service. Today, published papers receive more than 1,500,000 views per month, with readers from more than 150 countries and regions.

We would like to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the journal Materials with a Special Issue on the recent advances in energy materials. Right now, we are experiencing an important ecological and energy transition, in order to reduce the impact of anthropogenic action on our planet. In this scenario, the study and development of new materials for energy represents an essential milestone for achieving the set objectives. Trying to use non-critical raw materials, exploiting waste products, developing recycling strategies and functionalizing materials in order to guarantee a longer life are just some of the objectives of the scientific community. This is followed by their testing and validation in energy devices, among which solar cells, batteries, supercapacitors, fuel cells and integrated systems stand out.

In this broad panorama, this Special Issue collects the most important achievements in the field of energy materials.

Prof. Dr. Federico Bella
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Materials is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • batteries
  • solar cells
  • supercapacitors
  • fuel cells
  • integrated energy devices
  • electrode
  • electrolyte
  • anode
  • cathode
  • self-healing
  • efficiency
  • stability
  • recycling
  • sustainability

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

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7 pages, 2446 KiB  
Communication
A Novel Sodium–Potassium Anode Supported by Fluorinated Aluminum Foam
by Jin Lou, Jingan Zhou, Xiaosong Ma, Kanghua Chen and Songyi Chen
Materials 2023, 16(23), 7269; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma16237269 - 22 Nov 2023
Viewed by 703
Abstract
Sodium–potassium (NaK) liquid alloy is a promising candidate for use as an anode material in sodium batteries because of its fluidity, which effectively suppresses the growth of sodium or potassium dendrites. However, the poor wettability of NaK alloy on conventional metal substrates is [...] Read more.
Sodium–potassium (NaK) liquid alloy is a promising candidate for use as an anode material in sodium batteries because of its fluidity, which effectively suppresses the growth of sodium or potassium dendrites. However, the poor wettability of NaK alloy on conventional metal substrates is unfavorable for cell fabrication due to its strong surface tension. In this paper, low-density and low-cost fluorinated aluminum foam is used as a substrate support material for NaK liquid alloy. By combining low-surface-tension NaKC with fluorinated aluminum foam, we obtain a uniformly distributed and structurally stable electrode material. The composite electrode has a cycling stability of more than 3000 h in a symmetrical cell. Furthermore, when coupled with a sulfurized polyacrylonitrile cathode in carbonate electrolyte, it maintains excellent stability even after 800 cycles, with 72% of capacity retention. Full article
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17 pages, 5565 KiB  
Article
Lithium Manganese Sulfates as a New Class of Supercapattery Materials at Elevated Temperatures
by Delyana Marinova, Mariya Kalapsazova, Zlatina Zlatanova, Liuda Mereacre, Ekaterina Zhecheva and Radostina Stoyanova
Materials 2023, 16(13), 4798; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma16134798 - 3 Jul 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1130
Abstract
To make supercapattery devices feasible, there is an urgent need to find electrode materials that exhibit a hybrid mechanism of energy storage. Herein, we provide a first report on the capability of lithium manganese sulfates to be used as supercapattery materials at elevated [...] Read more.
To make supercapattery devices feasible, there is an urgent need to find electrode materials that exhibit a hybrid mechanism of energy storage. Herein, we provide a first report on the capability of lithium manganese sulfates to be used as supercapattery materials at elevated temperatures. Two compositions are studied: monoclinic Li2Mn(SO4)2 and orthorhombic Li2Mn2(SO4)3, which are prepared by a freeze-drying method followed by heat treatment at 500 °C. The electrochemical performance of sulfate electrodes is evaluated in lithium-ion cells using two types of electrolytes: conventional carbonate-based electrolytes and ionic liquid IL ones. The electrochemical measurements are carried out in the temperature range of 20–60 °C. The stability of sulfate electrodes after cycling is monitored by in-situ Raman spectroscopy and ex-situ XRD and TEM analysis. It is found that sulfate salts store Li+ by a hybrid mechanism that depends on the kind of electrolyte used and the recording temperature. Li2Mn(SO4)2 outperforms Li2Mn2(SO4)3 and displays excellent electrochemical properties at elevated temperatures: at 60 °C, the energy density reaches 280 Wh/kg at a power density of 11,000 W/kg. During cell cycling, there is a transformation of the Li-rich salt, Li2Mn(SO4)2, into a defective Li-poor one, Li2Mn2(SO4)3, which appears to be responsible for the improved storage properties. The data reveals that Li2Mn(SO4)2 is a prospective candidate for supercapacitor electrode materials at elevated temperatures. Full article
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Review

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28 pages, 10078 KiB  
Review
Dry Electrode Processing Technology and Binders
by Kaiqi Zhang, Dan Li, Xuehan Wang, Jingwan Gao, Huilin Shen, Hao Zhang, Changru Rong and Zheng Chen
Materials 2024, 17(10), 2349; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma17102349 - 15 May 2024
Viewed by 350
Abstract
As a popular energy storage equipment, lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) have many advantages, such as high energy density and long cycle life. At this stage, with the increasing demand for energy storage materials, the industrialization of batteries is facing new challenges such as enhancing [...] Read more.
As a popular energy storage equipment, lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) have many advantages, such as high energy density and long cycle life. At this stage, with the increasing demand for energy storage materials, the industrialization of batteries is facing new challenges such as enhancing efficiency, reducing energy consumption, and improving battery performance. In particular, the challenges mentioned above are particularly critical in advanced next-generation battery manufacturing. For batteries, the electrode processing process plays a crucial role in advancing lithium-ion battery technology and has a significant impact on battery energy density, manufacturing cost, and yield. Dry electrode technology is an emerging technology that has attracted extensive attention from both academia and the manufacturing industry due to its unique advantages and compatibility. This paper provides a detailed introduction to the development status and application examples of various dry electrode technologies. It discusses the latest advancements in commonly used binders for different dry processes and offers insights into future electrode manufacturing. Full article
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33 pages, 6725 KiB  
Review
Suppressing the Shuttle Effect of Aqueous Zinc–Iodine Batteries: Progress and Prospects
by Mengyao Li, Juan Wu, Haoyu Li and Yude Wang
Materials 2024, 17(7), 1646; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma17071646 - 3 Apr 2024
Viewed by 1129
Abstract
Aqueous zinc–iodine batteries are considered to be one of the most promising devices for future electrical energy storage due to their low cost, high safety, high theoretical specific capacity, and multivalent properties. However, the shuttle effect currently faced by zinc–iodine batteries causes the [...] Read more.
Aqueous zinc–iodine batteries are considered to be one of the most promising devices for future electrical energy storage due to their low cost, high safety, high theoretical specific capacity, and multivalent properties. However, the shuttle effect currently faced by zinc–iodine batteries causes the loss of cathode active material and corrosion of the zinc anodes, limiting the large-scale application of zinc–iodine batteries. In this paper, the electrochemical processes of iodine conversion and the zinc anode, as well as the induced mechanism of the shuttle effect, are introduced from the basic configuration of the aqueous zinc–iodine battery. Then, the inhibition strategy of the shuttle effect is summarized from four aspects: the design of cathode materials, electrolyte regulation, the modification of the separator, and anode protection. Finally, the current status of aqueous zinc–iodine batteries is analyzed and recommendations and perspectives are presented. This review is expected to deepen the understanding of aqueous zinc–iodide batteries and is expected to guide the design of high-performance aqueous zinc–iodide batteries. Full article
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28 pages, 6524 KiB  
Review
Multifunctionality Analysis of Structural Supercapacitors— A Review
by Willi Zschiebsch, Yannick Sturm, Michael Kucher, Davood Peyrow Hedayati, Thomas Behnisch, Niels Modler and Robert Böhm
Materials 2024, 17(3), 739; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma17030739 - 3 Feb 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1245
Abstract
Structural supercapacitors (SSCs) are multifunctional energy storage composites (MESCs) that combine the mechanical properties of fiber-reinforced polymers and the electrochemical performance of supercapacitors to reduce the overall mass in lightweight applications with electrical energy consumption. These novel MESCs have huge potentials, and their [...] Read more.
Structural supercapacitors (SSCs) are multifunctional energy storage composites (MESCs) that combine the mechanical properties of fiber-reinforced polymers and the electrochemical performance of supercapacitors to reduce the overall mass in lightweight applications with electrical energy consumption. These novel MESCs have huge potentials, and their properties have improved dramatically since their introduction in the early 2000’s. However, the current properties of SSCs are not sufficient for complete energy supply of electrically driven devices. To overcome this drawback, the aim of the current study is to identify key areas for enhancement of the multifunctional performance of SSCs. Critical modification paths for the SSC constituents are systematically analyzed. Special focus is given to the improvement of carbon fiber-based electrodes, the selection of structural electrolytes and the implementation of separators for the development of more efficient SSCs. Finally, current SSCs are compared in terms of their multifunctionality including material combinations and modifications. Full article
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30 pages, 12559 KiB  
Review
Application and Development of Silicon Anode Binders for Lithium-Ion Batteries
by Huilin Shen, Qilin Wang, Zheng Chen, Changru Rong and Danming Chao
Materials 2023, 16(12), 4266; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma16124266 - 8 Jun 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 5158
Abstract
The use of silicon (Si) as a lithium-ion battery’s (LIBs) anode active material has been a popular subject of research, due to its high theoretical specific capacity (4200 mAh g−1). However, the volume of Si undergoes a huge expansion (300%) during [...] Read more.
The use of silicon (Si) as a lithium-ion battery’s (LIBs) anode active material has been a popular subject of research, due to its high theoretical specific capacity (4200 mAh g−1). However, the volume of Si undergoes a huge expansion (300%) during the charging and discharging process of the battery, resulting in the destruction of the anode’s structure and the rapid decay of the battery’s energy density, which limits the practical application of Si as the anode active material. Lithium-ion batteries’ capacity, lifespan, and safety can be increased through the efficient mitigation of Si volume expansion and the maintenance of the stability of the electrode’s structure with the employment of polymer binders. The main degradation mechanism of Si-based anodes and the methods that have been reported to effectively solve the Si volume expansion problem firstly are introduced. Then, the review demonstrates the representative research work on the design and development of new Si-based anode binders to improve the cycling stability of Si-based anode structure from the perspective of binders, and finally concludes by summarizing and outlining the progress of this research direction. Full article
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