Energy storage using nanophase materials | The American Ceramic Society

Energy storage using nanophase materials

The University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh reported that inorganic chemistry professor Charles Gibson received a nearly $150K grant from the National Science Foundation’s Small Business Technology Transfer program. $83,400 went to the university research project, while $66,600 went to Gibson’s startup company, Oshkosh Nanotechnology.

Gibson is developing high-performance electrical energy storage devices with nanophase (i.e., grain sizes under 100 nanometers) mixed ionic/electronic ceramic conductors.

Gibson’s NSF application sheds more light on this project:

MIEC conductors are attractive candidates for use in EES devices because their high electrical conductivity facilitates double-layer formation, and their high ionic conductivity facilitates redox chemistry. Recent studies suggest that surface defect density in MIECs is enhanced significantly at nanoscales owing to space-charge or similar effects which can be effectively utilized for charge storage. The goal of this project is to provide convincing quantitative proof of concept of nanoscale MIEC’s ability to enhance charge storage above existing materials. Main research objectives include: (1) screen MIEC conductors for performance; (2) evaluate electrodes containing MIEC conductors; (3) evaluate prototype EES devices; and (4) optimize performance of electrodes and prototypes. These objectives will be accomplished by: (1) synthesis and characterization of a series of MIECs; (2) fabrication of electrode blends containing MIECs; (3) evaluation of electrode performance and analysis by electrochemical methods; and (4) construction/evaluation of prototypes. Anticipated results include development of pseudocapacitors using MIECs that exhibit enhanced charge storage, novel hybrid battery configurations with higher power and energy density, and their prototypes containing MIECs.

“Dr. Gibson’s work is our best example of how University research and faculty entrepreneurship can be complimentary and synergistic as well as successful in attracting external funds to support both research and product development,” said Linda Freed, UW Oshkosh grants and faculty development director.

Gibson said his research to develop improved batteries and super capacitors from ceramic nanophase materials started in his campus laboratory in August 2008. His work has benefited from the high-quality electron microscopy instrumentation available at UW Oshkosh.

“We bring to this field of study the ability to create entirely new nanomaterials that offer improved energy storage,” he explained.

Gibson says the new nano-MIEC technology offers faster charge/recharge and longer cycle-life and could supplement or replace batteries in these applications. Anticipated markets include transportation (hybrid and all-electric vehicles), cordless power tools, and certain defense applications.