The increased necessity of electrical energy for the human society (from International Energy Agency’s forecast statistics) and global emission restrictions has led researchers to look out for safe and eco-friendly energy devices.
Though renewable (non-conventional) energy devices operating on solar, wind, tidal wave and hydropower have received significant attention as they deliver energy without creating any environmental concern, they are expensive, still in state of development and need storage capabilities to be able to deliver to the consumer.
Among different options, fuel cells and flow batteries are hailed as promising energy storage devices of the future as they convert the chemical energy of fuel directly into electrical energy by simple oxidation-reduction reaction and their place as high specific energy system in the energy/power chart. During the fuel oxidation on anode and oxidant reduction on cathode, electron movement takes place on the external load and ionic movement on the electrolyte side.
The electrochemical mechanism of operation utilizing these fuels results in the release of heat, water, electricity and other side products. In spite of all these advances, the full potential of these devices are not completely utilized due to the need to further improvement of its power/energy density and cycling stability characteristics.
Among the research on materials for improving the performance of these devices, the current is dominated by 2D materials: graphene, molybdenum di sulphide, transition metal carbides, nitrides, layered hydroxides etc. The significance of these materials can be realized by the receipt of the Nobel Prize in 2010 for discovery of graphene jointly by Professor Andre Geim and Professor Konstantin Novoselov in the University of Manchester, United Kingdom. This highest scientific recognition is due to its remarkable physical and chemical properties higher than its most predecessors.
I research on intriguing area of utilizing various classes of 2D crystals to improve these devices’ performance by employing in their engine room as electrodes and membranes. It is this combination of my research experience (PhD from the University of Manchester, UK, post doc in Lancaster University, and presently in Jiangsu University, China), publications on using these 2D structures for improving the power density of energy storage devices, grants and outreach that led me to achieve the Young Researcher finalist award from IChemE and I would like to thank the collaborators for supporting me in all my activities.
The bottlenecks in the complete commercialization of environmental friendly energy storage devices are soon expected to take a major turn with the advent of these 2D materials. Please visit my webpage: www.prabhuraj.co.uk for complete list of publications and other science communication works.