Harnessing Renewable Energy – Dongguk University Develops a Powerful New Catalyst Process for Electrolysis – Converting Renewable Energy Sources into Chemical Energy


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An international collaboration of Scientists at Dongguk University developed a novel nickel-based hydroxide compound that can be used as a powerful catalyst for the electrolysis of water. This material could also be useful for developing …more

Finding and improving renewable energy sources is becoming increasingly important. One strategy to generate energy is breaking water molecules (H2O) apart in an electrochemical reaction known as electrolysis.

This process allows us to convert energy from the sun or other renewable sources into chemical energy. However, electrochemically splitting water molecules requires an overpotential—an excess voltage that has to be applied in addition to the theoretical voltage (1.23V vs. reversible hydrogen electrode or RHE) so that the necessary reactions can occur.

Electrocatalysts are materials that, because of their electrical and morphological features, facilitate electrochemical processes. Researchers have been searching for electrocatalysts that can aid in the electrolysis of water, and some of the best catalysts are noble-metal oxides, which are rare and costly. Nickel-based hydroxide (Ni(OH)2) compounds are, fortunately, a better alternative.

the kims dongguk u 1_wyb8mqvyqopjj-qli01iiaA team of scientists, including Profs. Hyunsik Im and Hyungsang Kim from Dongguk University, intercalated polyoxovanadate (POV) nanoclusters into Ni(OH)2 arranged in ordered layers and found that doing this improves its conducting and morphological properties, which in turn enhances its .

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 File Photo: Dongguk University

They employed a promising method called chemical solution growth (CSG), wherein a highly saturated solution is prepared, and the desired material structure naturally forms as the solutes precipitate in a predictable and controlled fashion, creating a layer-by-layer structure with POV nanoclusters intercalated between the Ni(OH)2 layers.

The team demonstrated that the resulting house-of-cards-like structure greatly reduced the overpotential needed for the electrolysis of water. They attributed this to the morphological features of this material; the POV nanoclusters increase the spacing between the Ni(OH)2 layers and induce the formation of micropores, which increases the surface area of the final material and the number of catalytic sites where  can be split. “Our results demonstrate the advantages of the CSG method for optimizing the pore structure of the resulting material,” explains Prof. Im.

Facilitating the electrolysis of  using novel catalysts is a step toward achieving a greener future. What’s more, the CSG method could be useful in many other fields. “The facile CSG deposition of nanohybrid  may be useful for applications such as the production of Li-ion batteries and biosensors,” states Prof. Kim. Only time will tell what new uses CSG will find.

 Explore further: Defects in nanoparticles help to drive the production of hydrogen, a clean-burning fuel

More information: Jayavant L. Gunjakar et al, Two-Dimensional Layered Hydroxide Nanoporous Nanohybrids Pillared with Zero-Dimensional Polyoxovanadate Nanoclusters for Enhanced Water Oxidation Catalysis, Small (2018). DOI: 10.1002/smll.201703481

Journal reference: Small search and more info website

Provided by: Dongguk University

 

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Startup scales up graphene production, develops biosensors and supercapacitors


An official of a materials technology and manufacturing startup says his company is addressing the challenge of scaling graphene production for commercial applications.Startup scales up graphene production, develops biosensors and supercapacitors

Glenn Johnson, CEO of BlueVine Graphene Industries Inc., said many of the methodologies being utilized to produce graphene today are not easily scalable and require numerous post-processing steps to use it in functional applications. He said the company’s product development team has developed a way to scale the production of graphene to meet commercial volumes and many different applications.

“Our graphene electrodes are created using a roll-to-roll chemical vapor deposition process, and then they are combined with other materials utilizing a different roll-to-roll process,” he said. “We can give the same foundational graphene electrodes entirely different properties, utilizing standard or custom materials that we are developing for our own commercial products. In essence what we’ve done is developed scalable graphene electrodes that are foundational pieces and can be easily customized to unique customer applications.”

Timothy Fisher, founder and Chief Technology Officer of BlueVine Graphene Industries, developed the technology. He also is the James G. Dwyer Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Purdue. The patented technology has been exclusively licensed to BlueVine Graphene Industries through the Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization.

“We’re moving up to roll-to-roll, large-scale manufacturing capabilities. These roll-to-roll systems allow us to increase output by a thousand-fold over the original research-scale processes,” Fisher said. “These state-of-the-art systems allow us to leverage the game-changing properties of graphene and, in particular, our graphene petal technology, called Folium™, at production scales that provide tremendous pricing advantages.”

BlueVine Graphene Industries already is developing and testing two commercial applications for its Folium technology: biosensors and supercapacitors. Johnson said the company’s first-generation glucose monitoring technology could impact the use of traditional testing systems like lancets, which are made with gold and other precious metals. The second-generation technology could allow people to use non-invasive methods to test their glucose levels through saliva, tears or urine.

“Patient non-compliance with doctor-recommended glucose testing frequency can be a problem. By making lancets more affordable and potentially non-invasive, we are addressing a critical global need,” he said. “More frequent tests could lead to better control of the disease, which could lead to an associated reduction in health risks.”

Supercapacitors are BlueVine Graphene Industries’ second application under development for its Folium graphene. Johnson said the company’s graphene supercapacitors are reaching the energy density of lithium-ion batteries without a similar energy fade over time.

“Our graphene-based supercapacitors charge in just a fraction of the time needed to charge lithium-ion batteries. There are many consumer, industrial and military applications,” he said. “Wouldn’t it be great if mobile phones could be fully recharged in only a matter of minutes, and if they kept working like new, year after year?”

Johnson said the company will refine its production and quality assurance processes to produce commercial volumes of the Folium graphene.

“We also are focused on working with potential customers to continue to develop baseline products for both our biosensor and supercapacitor applications,” he said.
Source: http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/…