Energy Storage

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EnergyStorage2Energy storage is widely acknowledged as a key component of this nation’s future energy portfolio; however, unlike solar electric energy conversion, this area has not been widely explored in terms of basic research that will lead to critically important new materials. SSES is exploring team-based multidisciplinary approaches to energy storage along two paths, namely (a) Compressed Air Energy Storage and (B) Electrochemical Energy Storage. Compressed Air Energy Storage (CAES) is critical to the widespread adoption of renewable (solar and wind) energy. Existing CAES systems are designed to work at large capacities (200-300 MW), and currently small-scale and medium-scale CAES systems, essential for distributed power generation, do not exist. Towards this end, we are developing and designing novel, efficient and scalable CAES systems that can work in conjunction with renewable sources. A significant improvement on past designs is the development of a supercharged hybrid pneumatic/fuel-injection engine that can optimally utilize compressed air stored at higher pressures (> 200 psi). The current CAES prototype is capable of producing scalable power from kW-MW and was developed in collaboration with the Arizona Research Institute for Solar Energy (AzRISE) at the University of Arizona. (Arizona Engineer CAES article). SSES is a strong supporter of the formation of the Laboratory for Electrochemical Energy (LEE) in the Department of Chemistry. This laboratory will provide the resources needed for the development of the next generation of electrochemical energy storage materials, specifically high energy density capacitors/supercapacitors, high energy density batteries and photoelectrochemical (solar fuel) energy conversion platforms. The LEE brings together expertise from the Colleges of Science & Engineering (COS & COE) to enable collaboration into the electrochemistry, interface science, device fabrication and catalysis of novel materials critical in the creation of advanced energy storage and conversion systems. The LEE fosters multidisciplinary interactions to harness the world-class research efforts of individual Principal Investigators at the University of Arizona into cohesive teams that are needed to compete in areas of energy storage and energy conversion. The LEE will provide facilities and research support in the evaluation, testing and development of materials for electrochemical energy storage devices, broadly defined. J. Pyun (Dept. of Chemistry) is currently leading the initiative with strong participation from the College of Engineering/SSES. Expetise represented by this emerging team spans the broad range of energy storage, photocatalysis and nanomaterials. Synergies are being developed in the following areas:

  1. Synthesis and fabrication of novel polymeric, inorganic and nanocomposite materials for components in various energy systems;
  2. Structural, spectroscopy, electrical, and electrochemical characterization of nanomaterials and devices;
  3. Interfacial characterization of electrode-active layer contacts;
  4. Electrical and electrochemical device fabrication & testing;
  5. Computational modeling and simulations of materials, or systems at varying length scales.


Energy Storage Research In The News! 

Core Team Members:
J. Pyun (Chemistry)
D. Gervasio (ChEE)
K. Muralidharan (MSE)
P. Lucas (MSE)
B.G. Potter (MSE)
J. Simmons (MSE/AzRISE)
B. Sternberg (MSE/MGE)
Peiwen Li (AME)
G. Frantziskonis (CEEM)
Qing Hao (AME)
ChoLik Chan (AME)





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