You are invited to a SafeREnergy Seminar
Date: Wednesday 31 May 2023
Time: 12noon – 1pm (AEST)
Dr. Shilin Zhang, School of Chemical Engineering, University of Adelaide
Progress towards the integration of technology into living organisms requires electrical power sources that are biocompatible and mechanically flexible. Traditional lithium batteries employing organic electrolytes were not designed with these criteria in mind. In contrast, aqueous zinc-ion batteries that use hydrogel biomaterials as electrolytes have emerged as a potential solution that operates within biological constraints, however, most of these batteries feature inferior electrochemical properties. Here, we propose a biocompatible hydrogel electrolyte by utilizing commercially available hyaluronic acid (HA), which contains ample hydrophilic functional groups. The HA-based gel electrolyte offers excellent anti-corrosion ability for zinc anodes and regulates zinc nucleation/growth, as demonstrated by electrochemical examinations, in situ spectroscopic techniques, and theoretical computations. As a result, the gel electrolyte provides high battery performance, including a 99.71 % Coulombic efficiency, over 5500 hours of long-term stability at 1 mA cm–2 with a capacity of 1 mAh cm–2, improved cycle life of 250 hours under a high zinc utilization rate of 80 %, and high biocompatibility. Importantly, the flexible Zn//LiMn2O4 pouch cell exhibits 82 % capacity retention after 1000 cycles at a current rate of 3 C. This work presents a novel gel chemistry that controls zinc behavior, thereby offering great potential in biocompatible energy-related applications and beyond.
Dr. Shilin Zhang is now a research fellow in the University of Adelaide. He received his PhD degree from the Institute of Superconducting & Electronic Materials at the University of Wollongong in 2020 under the supervision of Prof. Zaiping Guo. His current research interests focus on the design, synthesis, and characterization of materials in the field of electrochemical devices such as ion batteries and metal batteries.