CUNY Energy Institute researchers win National Science Foundation funding to investigate novel rechargeable aluminum-carbon batteries

June 15, 2018 | News

A team of the CUNY Energy Institute researchers, Prof. Rob Messinger (PI) and Dr. Damon Turney (co-PI), won funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for a project entitled, “Molecular Understanding of Ion Intercalation Processes in Rechargeable Aluminum-Carbon Batteries.” Prof. Messinger, Dr. Turney, and a Chemical Engineering Ph.D. Student, Jeff Xu, will investigate the charge storage mechanisms of an emerging battery technology, aluminum-carbon batteries. Aluminum metal is an ideal battery electrode material because it is earth abundant, non-flammable, non-toxic, low cost, and can store more charge per unit volume than other common metals, such as lithium. Recently, rechargeable batteries composed of aluminum metal anodes, graphitic cathodes, and ionic liquid electrolytes have been developed, through mechanistic aspects of how the battery stores charge within the graphitic electrodes are poorly understood. This project seeks to elucidate the fundamental processes underpinning how the graphitic electrodes store and release ions and energy, particularly at the molecular level. These scientific insights will be used to design and synthesize novel carbon electrodes with improved energy storage properties. For educational outreach, high school and undergraduate students will collaborate with the team and receive advanced training on how to make and study rechargeable aluminum-carbon batteries.