Fuel battery - a new high-performance battery in development

Fuel battery - a new high-performance battery in development

Energy is the material basis of human activities, a common concern of the whole world and all mankind, and an eternal proposition of human development. The development of human society is inseparable from the emergence of high-quality energy and the use of advanced energy technologies. The universe is the world of energy, and energy is the basic guarantee for all energy. How to find and utilize energy as much as possible in a limited material world determines the direction of sustainable development of human civilization. Today, with the gradual depletion of fossil energy and the urgent need to solve environmental pollution problems, the development of new energy sources such as solar batterys and lithium batteries has become the focus of attention around the world.
Fuel battery is a form of clean energy with broad application prospects. Fuel (such as hydrogen and oxygen) reacts chemically in the presence of catalyst to efficiently convert chemical energy into electrical energy. The only by-product is water. Fuel batterys are seen by many scientists as the ultimate solution to the energy crisis. As for the electric vehicles that are widely promoted in China, the lithium battery vehicles that are widely studied at present have low energy density and poor endurance, which makes the prospect of large-scale marketization full of uncertainty, and the fuel battery is open system. Its traits make it much more energy efficient than lithium batteries. Japan's Toyota's "Mirai (Future)" oxyhydrogen fuel battery vehicle, which was launched in 2015, has a very high energy density (350Wh/Kg, the lithium battery system of the Tesla Model S is only 156Wh/Kg). It has achieved exbatteryent endurance (about 650 kilometers in 3 minutes of inflation). Professor Li Wei's research focuses on improving the efficiency of fuel battery catalysts while reducing their cost, and making them safe and efficient for use in automotive, backup power, portable equipment and many other fields.
The knocking of scientific research - a solid theoretical foundation
In 2001, Li Wei entered the chemical base of the Department of Chemistry of Wuhan University and started his own research life. The life of the undergraduate stage enriched his knowledge, opened up his horizons and cultivated Good independent scientific research ability has strengthened the determination to go further and further on the road of scientific research. In 2005, Li Wei was sent to the School of Chemistry and Molecular Engineering of Peking University for a Ph.D. with exbatteryent results. Peking University's first-class academic and working environment gave him profound influence. Under the guidance of Professor Shao Yuanhua, he was mainly engaged in electroanalytical chemistry. The work further deepened the understanding of electrochemistry and laid a solid theoretical foundation for the later research on electrochemical energy.

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(Los Alamos National Laboratory). The laboratory is the birthplace of the world's first atomic bomb. It is also the integration of contemporary cutting-edge technology in the United States. It is the most famous fuel battery research and development center in the world. Hydrogen and oxygen on the US Apollo 11 moon landing spacecraft in 1969. The fuel battery power supply is manufactured by the laboratory. At the Los Alamos National Laboratory, Dr. Li has conducted a series of researches on low-temperature fuel battery catalysts and portable fuel batterys from Dr. Piotr Zelenay, an internationally renowned fuel battery expert.

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Low temperature fuel batterys have not been widely marketed, and expensive prices are one of the factors. Among them, the oxygen reduction reaction occurring at the cathode requires a noble metal platinum catalyst, which is a major factor for increasing its cost, so it is essential to develop a high-performance non-precious metal oxygen reduction catalyst. The transition metal-nitrogen-carbon (MNC) non-noble metal oxygen reduction catalyst developed by Dr. Li Wei is a cracking transition metal (iron, cobalt, nickel, etc.), nitrogen-containing precursor and carbon black at high temperature (\u003e800 ° C). Income. Such catalysts have been recognized by the academic community as the most active non-noble metal oxygen reduction catalysts. Because more than 90% of its components are carbon, the cost is very low, and it is easy to mass-produce, which has a good market prospect. Dr. Li Wei has done a series of work in regulating the morphology, structure and performance of non-precious metal oxygen reduction catalysts. The results were published in the international top journals such as Advanced Materials, and received the assistant editor of ACS Catalysis magazine Prof. Boqing Xu. Such as peer evaluation.

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Portable fuel batterys that power mobile devices such as laptops and mobile phones are another type of low-temperature fuel battery. At present, the portable fuel batterys mainly studied in the industry are mainly direct methanol fuel batterys (DMFC), but methanol as a fuel has serious problems of methanol penetration and toxicity. As a new type of fuel, dimethyl ether has the advantages of high energy density, low fuel penetration and almost no toxicity, and is highly valued and researched by the US Department of Energy. After optimizing the operating conditions of the battery, the energy density of the DME fuel battery developed by Dr. Li Wei exceeded any previously reported levels. Subsequently, by analyzing the reaction mechanism, Dr. Li Wei developed a platinum-palladium-palladium catalyst to reduce the activation energy of carbon-oxygen bond cleavage during the oxidation of dimethyl ether (Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2015, 127, 7634. ). When the battery potential is greater than 0.65V, the performance of dimethyl ether fuel battery has surpassed the current commercial direct methanol fuel battery, and it is very promising to become the leading product in the next generation portable fuel battery market. This series of work applied for the US patent (No. 20130292260 A1), and was highly recognized by the highest score of similar projects and the judges in the US Department of Energy's Annual Merit Review.
The work experience in Los Alamos laid the research direction of Dr. Li Wei, which is to develop high-activity new non-precious metal catalysts and improve the activity of existing precious metal catalysts.
In August 2013, Li Wei ended his journey to the far-reaching national laboratory and came to Brown University, one of the Ivy League schools in the United States, to follow the famous Chinese material chemist Sun Shouheng. The new scientific research road mainly studies the morphology and structure control of monodisperse precious metal nanocrystalline oxygen reduction catalysts. Although the development of non-precious metal catalysts is extremely rapid, the activity in the acidic environment is still slightly lower than that of platinum. Therefore, reducing the amount of platinum and increasing the activity of the catalyst is also one of the research directions of many scholars. Dr. Li Wei synthesized a fully structured, face-centered tetragonal iron-platinum (fct-FePt) nanocrystalline oxygen reduction catalyst, which demonstrated the ability to protect iron atoms from corrosion in extremely high activity and acidic environments (Nano Lett. , 2015, 15, 2468.). The nanocrystalline fuel battery catalyst was highly evaluated by Dr. Ohma, head of the fuel battery vehicle division of Nissan, Japan, and is currently working closely with Professor Li Wei's team to try to use the catalyst in the company's fuel battery development.
Looking to the Future——The Wish of “Thousands of Young People”

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In March 2016, Li Wei was selected as the “Ten Thousand Youths” program of the 12th batch of the Central Organization Department, and received the honor of priority funding. He gave up many foreign countries. The unit's hospitality invites to return to China for development, and joins the School of Materials Science and Engineering of Huazhong University of Science and Technology full time, preparing to continue to explore the fuel battery road in a new environment. With a solid professional foundation and overseas cutting-edge knowledge background, young scientists and technicians have opened a new journey with the international vision and international thinking of a returnee teacher. Dr. Li Wei hopes that in the next few years, the relevant new catalyst materials and their membrane electrodes will be promoted from fuel battery single battery testing to tens to hundreds of kilowatts of high-power stacks, and related to new energy companies such as electric vehicle companies. In-depth cooperation, and strive to achieve a certain major breakthrough in the relevant application areas, to make battery products with international and domestic competitiveness, market prospects. At the same time, it develops new methods and technologies for synthesizing high-quality doped carbon material catalysts, metal nanocrystals, magnetic nanocrystals and composite materials with independent intellectual property rights, realizing the industrialization of key functional materials and expanding the application in the international market. The road is long and the road is long, and I will search for it. The road to scientific research is destined to continually repeat failure to usher in the road of hope. Professor Li Wei is passionate and confident in his work. He hopes that his work will promote the development of fuel batterys in China at an early date and contribute to China's clean energy industry. .

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