From Designing and Characterizing Multifunctional Nanoarchitectures to Commercializing Zinc Sponge–Based Alkaline Batteries That Refuse to Launch Dendrites

Tuesday, 3 October 2017: 08:55
Chesapeake G (Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center)
D. R. Rolison, J. W. Long, and J. F. Parker (U.S. Naval Research Laboratory)
Our team at the Naval Research Laboratory looks at rate-critical processes where events per second are required for high performance in such areas as energy storage, energy conversion, (electro)catalysis, and sensing. We then design next-generation systems built around pore–solid nanoarchitectures that seamlessly embody all of the requisite rate functions for high-performance electrochemistry: molecular mass transport, ionic/electronic/thermal conductivity, and electron-transfer kinetics. We have taken the lessons from 20 years of probing the operational and design characteristics of energy-relevant nanoarchitectures to create a zinc sponge—a stand-alone, 3D-wired anode that improves current distribution within the electrode structure during charge–discharge cycling and thwarts dendrite-formation. With this breakthrough, we can now address the family of zinc-based rechargeable alkaline batteries: nickel–3D zinc, silver–3D zinc, MnO2–3D zinc, and even rechargeable 3D zinc–air. The route taken to move from a creative concept to fabricated reality to fundamental characterization to development within a Federal laboratory to commercialization by outside companies will be discussed.