We’re working to improve the effectiveness of electrochemical and thermal energy storage systems, and designing novel interfacial structures and compositions to increase the energy density of energy storage devices. Applications include lithium and sodium metal batteries, solid-state batteries, aqueous (“beyond-lithium”) batteries, hybridized battery-capacitor and other fast-charge systems, and battery recycling processes. We also work to improve phase-change materials and thermochemical energy storage for applications such as concentrated solar power, building technologies, or pumped thermal energy storage.
Sustainable Fuels and Chemicals
Our researchers are working to make chemical production more sustainable through process intensification, integration of renewable energy to displace fossil fuels, and use of more sustainable feedstocks. Some recent projects have focused on microtechnology for distributed chemical production, conversion of concentrated solar thermal energy into fuels and chemicals, and activation of difficult chemical reactions of industrial relevance using plasmas.
Bioenergy and Bioproducts
Our research teams harness biological systems to sustainably produce energy-dense molecules for biofuels, and value-added products such as biopolymers and biogenic semiconductor materials. Recent projects focus on use of photosynthetic organisms to capture CO2 from air, intensification of macroalgae cultivation for biofuels and food ingredients, and development of bioreactor systems to control production of bioproducts.
Research in this area is aimed at developing novel materials, processes, devices, and systems to harvest solar energy. Applications include multifunctional solar energy materials, digital printing of solar energy materials, scalable manufacturing of solar cells, novel solar energy conversion devices, and solar thermal energy storage systems.