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IT SOUNDS OXYMORONIC: using the incredibly tiny world of nanomaterials to optimize storage of anything. But look a little deeper: On the nano scale, the right materials have gobs of open spaces, just the ticket for an optimal arrangement of container and stuff contained.

Science, November 22, 2019, has a Review Summary titled “Energy Storage: The Future Enabled by Nanomaterials,” by Ekaterina Pomerantseva, et al. The full article can be read at the Science website. Its nano reasoning reinforces the recent item on nanocatalysts here at SimanaitisSays.

A Matter of Geometry. Both catalysts and energy storage profit from geometric properties at the super minuscule level of nanoparticles. Pomerantseva and her colleagues write, “Nanomaterials offer greatly improved ionic transport and electronic conductivity compared with conventional battery and supercapacitor materials. They also enable the occupation of all intercalation sites available in a particle volume, leading to high specific capacities and fast ion diffusion.”

The Nano Payoff. “Their high surface-to-volume ratio and short diffusion pathways,” researchers say, “provide a solution for simultaneously achieving high energy and power density.”

Applications of such nanomaterials could mitigate a shortcoming of BEVs (Battery Electric Vehicles), namely, their lengthy recharge time relative to fossil fuel fillup and even fuel-cell hydrogen replenishment. Also, efficient storage is a crucial aspect of exploiting intermittent renewable energy from sun and wind.

A Flurry of New Terminology. Evolving technologies have exotic names such as zero-dimensional nanoparticles and quantum dots; one-dimensional nanowires, nanotubes, and nanobelts; two-dimensional nanoflakes and nanosheets; and three-dimensional nanonetworks.

A catalog of nanomaterials, benefits, and challenges. This and the following image from Science, December 22, 2019.

Researchers say these “chemically diverse building blocks are available for creating energy storage solutions such as wearable and structural energy storage technology, which are not achievable with conventional materials.”

Are you ready for energy stored in your car’s bodywork—or your jacket?

Enhancements. Researchers note that nanomaterial electrodes will perform at least an order of magnitude better than conventional ones. Nanostructured materials and nanoarchitectural electrodes can lead to “high-energy, high-power, and long-lasting energy storage devices.”

And jackets that’ll hold a charge. ds

© Dennis, 2019

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