Novel nanostructured membranes for energy storage applications

Research area: Polymer science, nanomaterials
Supervisors: Prof Namita Roy Choudhury, Prof Bill Skinner and Prof Naba Dutta

Description: Energy consumption/production in today's world relies almost entirely on non-renewable sources and continuation of this trend will impact severely on the world economics and ecology.

The need for advanced energy storage systems is thus steadily increasing. Electrochemical energy production is an alternative energy/power source, which is designed to be more sustainable and environmentally friendly. Zinc Bromine batteries (ZBB) are secondary battery systems and are classified as advanced energy storage systems. The polymeric membrane is one of the key components in ZBB battery.

Current and primary demands on the membrane are high conductivity of zinc, bromide, potassium and chloride ions in both directions, whilst also keeping the rate of bromine transfer minimum, excellent mechanical strength; dimensional stability; chemical stability towards oxidation, reduction and hydrolysis and low cost.

The primary aim of the proposed collaborative project is to develop novel polymer based microporous and ion exchange membranes for long-term use in ZBB batteries and optimise the process to produce such cost effective, high performance systems. The project will also examine the novel materials - mass transport properties on battery's power density and efficiency and develop fundamental understanding and correlate materials - performance with their structure and composition.

This proposal represents a comprehensive interdisciplinary research involving inorganic modification of novel polymers and synthesis of organic-inorganic hybrid, their processing, and a range of novel characterization methods to establish microstructure-morphology-electrochemical property relationship. The researcher will have the opportunity to carry out research in different national and international laboratories.

This is a collaborative project with industry and the research methodology will primarily cover investigations carried out at The Wark and on-site at industry, when required.

Funding: A grant application to the Australian Research Council is currently being assessed. If successful, this grant will support two Wark fully funded scholarship. International students should also apply for an International Postgraduate Research Scholarship (IPRS) and a UniSA President's Scholarship (UPS).

Australian students should also apply for an Australian Postgraduate Award (APA) and a UniSA Australian Postgraduate Research Award (USAPRA). Project maintenance costs will be met from internal funding.

Areas of study and research

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