Carbon Nanomaterials for Aluminum Electrochemical Energy Storage

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At the time of archiving, the student author of this dissertation opted to temporarily restrict access to it. The full text of this dissertation will become available to the public after the expiration of the embargo on 2023-02-02.

The need for accessible, safe and reliable energy storage solutions has been accentuated, in recent years, due to the shift from fossil to renewable energy sources. In this context, aluminum-based electrochemical systems have emerged as strong candidates for energy storage devices. Despite that, the successful translation from the laboratory and the commercialization of the technology faces critical challenges that must be overcome.

This Dissertation explores carbon and carbon-inorganic cathodes for Al-based electrochemical energy storage devices. We start by understanding carbon cathodes in the presence of acidic ionic liquid electrolytes and draw relevant conclusions on how transition metal catalysts affect different facets of the cell's electrochemical performance. Then, we introduce sulfur and draw insights on the origin of poor cycling stability of carbon/sulfur cathodes as well as on how to extend their cycle life. Next, we focus on maximizing the pseudocapacitive contribution of carbons, and thus cathode capacity, through pore size engineering. Finally, we translate our findings to aqueous electrolytes and fabricate, for the first time, a superior rechargeable aluminum-carbon battery cathode by setting forward a hypothesis of a unique charge-storage mechanism.

Smajic, J. (2021). Carbon Nanomaterials for Aluminum Electrochemical Energy Storage. KAUST Research Repository.


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