Energy Conversion and Storage Research

Energy conversion

This work is a continuation of the successful work performed at Berkeley National Lab. Building on the research on Pt-alloy single crystals which was published in Science, research at Argonne focuses on a deeper understanding of the type of surface necessary to facilitate the Oxygen Reduction Reaction (ORR), the troubled cathode reaction of a fuel cell. The anode side of the fuel cell is not neglected and research on the Hydrogen Oxidation Reaction (HOR) and CO oxidation reactions is one of the group’s core priorities. Efforts, however, do not end there. By investigating the effects of anything may be present at or near the electrode surface, such as anions, cations and ionomer, an insight into the mechanism behind charge-transfer reactions will be gained. This insight is a driving force behind the development of novel high-surface-area nanocatalysts for use in on-the-market energy conversion devices. Synthesis of these shape and size controlled nanoparticulate catalysts is performed in the group and tested on laboratory scale for their functionality and stability.

Energy Storage

Fundamental single cell electrochemical studies of reactions central to lithium-air battery research are performed. The processes under investigation are those of importance to lithium battery technology and mainly center on the formation of lithium peroxide (Li2O2) and lithium oxide (Li2O) phases on high surface area carbon and metal oxide cathode materials during the oxygen reduction reaction, as well as those causing electrolytes to decompose. Insights gained will be applied to develop new strategies and catalyst materials that raise capacity and extend cathode cyclability in lithium-air batteries.