Friday, 04 March 2022 12:00

Development of High-Capacity Anodes for Rechargeable Alkali Metal Batteries using Nanostructured Alloying Materials


Alkali metal alloying materials such as Si, Ge and Sn have emerged as the forerunners to replace the current, relatively low-capacity carbonaceous based Li-ion battery anodes. Furthermore, they have applications in more sustainable alternatives to Li-ion technology such as Na-ion and K-ion batteries. Since the initial report of binder-free nanowire electrodes, a vast body of research has been carried out in which the performance and cycle life has significantly progressed. The study of such electrodes has provided invaluable insights into the cycling behaviour of alloying materials, as the effects of repeated alloying and dealloying on the material can be observed without interference from conductive additives or binders. In this seminar, some of the key developments in this area are looked at, focusing on the problems encountered by alloying electrodes in general (e.g., pulverization, loss of contact with current collector etc.) and how the study of nanowire electrodes has overcome these issues. Some nanowire studies that have elucidated the consequences of the alloying/dealloying process on the morphology of the nanowires are also considered, in particular looking at the impact that effects such as pore formation and lithium-assisted welding have on performance. Finally, the challenges for the practical implementation of nanowire anodes within the context of the current understanding of such systems will be discussed.


Dr Tadhg Kennedy is a Lecturer and PI in the Department of Chemical Sciences and Bernal Institute in the University of Limerick. Dr Kennedy is an expert in the development of nanostructured materials for battery applications. His specific research interests lie in the development of nanostructured alloying anode materials. Dr Kennedy has been successful in securing >€2.4M from national, international and industry sources as either PI or co-applicant. He is coordinator of the TRIDENT project, which is a collaborative research project that received funding from the Irish Government through the Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund and involves a consortium consisting of 2 RPOs, 5 SMEs and 1 multinational company. The goal of the project is to develop a low-cost, high-performance sodium-ion smart battery system for residential energy storage. He is also PI on a number of other battery related projects including a grant from the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland for low-cost battery development for grid-scale storage of intermittent renewable energy.

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