Friday, 08 April 2022 12:00


On-line via MS Teams Click here to join the meeting

Live event – venue MSG-024/25 (MSSI Building), Bernal Institute.

Nanostructure Induced Lithiophilicity for Li-metal Anodes


The search for sustainable and application tailored energy storage technologies is the most urgent scientific challenge of our age. Energy storage is critical at scales ranging from handheld

devices to electric vehicles and stationary storage. Li-ion batteries remain the powerhouse of current energy storage but are becoming a bottleneck where high energy density (ED) is required (particularly in long range EVs) and are curtailing EV uptake. On the other hand, there is also long-term uncertainty over the sustainability of Li-based technology for large-scale storage, stimulating interest into beyond ‘Li-ion’ technologies such as Na-ion, which are inherently more sustainable.

This seminar will examine the current state of the art for battery materials development, highlighting some of the challenges associated with developing new battery technology. Within this talk, two case studies of research from the Geaney research group will be presented in depth. The first is based on the use of Si, Ge and SixGe1-x nanowires (NWs) for Na-ion batteries.

This mechanistic study sheds light on the need for amorphization of these materials prior to Na[1]ion testing, with a full understanding developed for their operation in Na-ion cells. Secondly, exciting developments in the use of these NWs for Li-metal batteries will be discussed. Unlike conventional LIBs, metal anode batteries rely on reversible metal stripping/plating. These processes are inherently more challenging than conventional intercalation used in LIBs and significant advancement is required in their mechanistic understanding. This study reimagines the use of Li-alloying NWs in batteries, exploiting their lithiophilicity to enhance the cycling stability of hosted Li metal anodes.


Dr Hugh Geaney is a lecturer in the Department of Chemical Sciences and Bernal Institute in UL.  He has a broad interest in materials for energy storage and has focussed on a range of different battery chemistries spanning Li based (Li-ion, Li-O2, Li-S and Li-metal) and beyond Li (Na-ion, Al[1]ion). His aim is to develop active materials level mechanistic understanding within energy storage. Hugh finished a degree in Industrial Chemistry in 2008 and a PhD in Chemistry in 2012  (both from UL). He subsequently moved to UCC as a postdoctoral researcher on the EU FP7 project STABLE, working on Li-O2 batteries. Following that, he was a senior postdoctoral  researcher in UCC, investigating porous materials for Li-ion batteries. In 2016, he returned to UL as a postdoctoral researcher on an Enterprise Ireland commercialization project. In 2019, he received a SIRG (Starting Investigator Research Grant) from SFI and became a Principal Investigator. Since 2020, Hugh has been a lecturer in Chemistry in the Department of Chemical Sciences. To date, he has published 80 peer reviewed papers, with ~3000 citations and a h-index of 28.

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