One of the keys to developing a successful electric vehicle relies on energy storage technology. For an EV to be successful in the marketplace, it must be able to travel longer distances (i.e. over 300 miles on a single charge).
A team of researchers from Georgia Institute of Technology, including ECS fellow Meilin Liu, has recently created a nanofiber that they believe could enable the next generation of rechargeable batteries, and with it, EVs. The recently published research describes the team’s development of double perovskite nanofibers that can be used as highly efficient catalysts in fast oxygen evolution reactions. Improvements in this key process could open new possibilities for metal-air batteries.
“Metal-air batteries, such as those that could power electric vehicles in the future, are able to store a lot of energy in a much smaller space than current batteries,” Liu says. “The problem is that the batteries lack a cost-efficient catalyst to improve their efficiency. This new catalyst will improve that process.”
This from Georgia Institute of Technology:
During the synthetization process, the researchers used a technique called composition tuning – or “co-doping” – to improve the intrinsic activity of the catalyst by approximately 4.7 times. The perovskite oxide fiber made during the electrospinning process was about 20 nanometers in diameter – which thus far is the thinnest diameter reported for electrospun perovskite oxide nanofibers.
The researchers found that the new substance showed markedly enhanced oxygen evolution reaction capability when compared to existing catalysts. The new nanofiber’s mass-normalized catalytic activity improved about 72 times greater than the initial powder catalyst, and 2.5 times greater than iridium oxide, which is considered a state of the art catalyst by current standards.
“This work not only represents an advancement in the development of highly efficient and durable electrocatalysts for oxygen evolution reactions (OER) but may also provide insight into the effect of nanostructures on the intrinsic OER activity,” the researchers wrote.
Aside from this development’s potential in bolstering next generation metal-air batteries for EVs, the researchers also see potential application in renewable energy systems.
“To store that energy, batteries are still very expensive,” Liu says. “We need a good catalyst in order for the water electrolysis to be efficient. This catalyst can speed up electrochemical reactions in water splitting or metal air batteries.”