7

Generation and Storage of Energy

The Electrochemical Sciences Program in the Chemistry Division of ONR has made major contributions to developing a fundamental understanding of electrochemical processes related to the generation and storage of energy. Future Navy and Marine Corps systems will rely on this research for many of their energy needs. At this time, progress in the field is rapid, owing in part to the electric automobile initiative, and many opportunities for new research programs are evident.

Examples of specific areas of interest may be summarized as follows.

  1. Electrochemical fundamentals of energy storage and conversion. Development of a fundamental understanding of electrochemical processes relating to energy storage and conversion is a research area of prime interest. Research should be directed toward elucidating the processes occurring at electrode-electrolyte and electrode-dielectric interfaces that are critical in controlling system performance. Needed are studies of fundamental electron transfer mechanisms, the electric double-layer, electron and ion transport, diffusion, electrocatalysis, the redox chemistry of electrochemically active materials, reaction mechanisms and kinetics, electrode passivation, and corrosion or self-discharge reactions that are responsible for diminished performance.

  2. Use of fundamental techniques to probe battery reactions and phase changes. New theoretical and experimental techniques must be developed to explore reactions and structure-property relationships in electrochemical systems of importance to energy conversion, including primary and secondary batteries, fuel cells, and energy storage capacitors.

  3. Ultramicro batteries and capacitors for device applications. The objective of this research is to apply our understanding of electrode processes at ultramicroelectrodes to new energy storage and conversion devices. Electrode processes in small domains can take place in unconventional media at ultramicroelectrodes, ultramicroelectrode arrays, and electrode dispersions. The fundamental understanding of these processes gained through previous and ongoing research can now be applied to new and innovative energy storage devices, including batteries and capacitors.

  4. High- and low-permittivity materials. Research directed toward the tailored materials required for high-efficiency, high-capacity energy storage and conversion devices and storage capacitors is covered well in the existing and continuing electrochemical sciences programs. This research is directed toward naval applications such as dielectric missiles and electrochemical rail guns. Fundamental chemical studies directed to the discovery of high-dielectric-constant, high-dielectric-strength materials that can store large quantities of energy and discharge the energy rapidly represent an area of opportunity.



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OCR for page 16
ONR Research Opportunities in Chemistry 7 Generation and Storage of Energy The Electrochemical Sciences Program in the Chemistry Division of ONR has made major contributions to developing a fundamental understanding of electrochemical processes related to the generation and storage of energy. Future Navy and Marine Corps systems will rely on this research for many of their energy needs. At this time, progress in the field is rapid, owing in part to the electric automobile initiative, and many opportunities for new research programs are evident. Examples of specific areas of interest may be summarized as follows. Electrochemical fundamentals of energy storage and conversion. Development of a fundamental understanding of electrochemical processes relating to energy storage and conversion is a research area of prime interest. Research should be directed toward elucidating the processes occurring at electrode-electrolyte and electrode-dielectric interfaces that are critical in controlling system performance. Needed are studies of fundamental electron transfer mechanisms, the electric double-layer, electron and ion transport, diffusion, electrocatalysis, the redox chemistry of electrochemically active materials, reaction mechanisms and kinetics, electrode passivation, and corrosion or self-discharge reactions that are responsible for diminished performance. Use of fundamental techniques to probe battery reactions and phase changes. New theoretical and experimental techniques must be developed to explore reactions and structure-property relationships in electrochemical systems of importance to energy conversion, including primary and secondary batteries, fuel cells, and energy storage capacitors. Ultramicro batteries and capacitors for device applications. The objective of this research is to apply our understanding of electrode processes at ultramicroelectrodes to new energy storage and conversion devices. Electrode processes in small domains can take place in unconventional media at ultramicroelectrodes, ultramicroelectrode arrays, and electrode dispersions. The fundamental understanding of these processes gained through previous and ongoing research can now be applied to new and innovative energy storage devices, including batteries and capacitors. High- and low-permittivity materials. Research directed toward the tailored materials required for high-efficiency, high-capacity energy storage and conversion devices and storage capacitors is covered well in the existing and continuing electrochemical sciences programs. This research is directed toward naval applications such as dielectric missiles and electrochemical rail guns. Fundamental chemical studies directed to the discovery of high-dielectric-constant, high-dielectric-strength materials that can store large quantities of energy and discharge the energy rapidly represent an area of opportunity.

OCR for page 16
ONR Research Opportunities in Chemistry Transition from research to battery and fuel cell applications. Particular attention should be paid to the process of achieving a transition from the fundamental understanding of processes, factors limiting performance, new materials, and energy storage and conversion devices evolving from the research laboratory to the development of systems that satisfy Navy requirements. Systems engineering activities would benefit from the development of a database on energy storage and conversion devices, performance characteristics and limitations, economic and environmental factors, and other parameters. Studies on trade-offs could then be performed to select the best options for a particular application. The methodology for performing such studies should be captured and continually updated along with the technical database itself to aid system planners and engineers in the design of devices that will satisfy Navy needs.