1Deakin University, Institute for Frontier Materials, Victoria, Australia
2Visiting Ikerbasque Professor, POLYMAT, University of the Basque Country UPV/EHU, Donostia-San Sebastián, Spain
Novel energy storage and energy generation technologies have been extensively supported by taking advantage of the unique properties of ionic liquids. In particular the low volatility, high ionic conductivity and large chemical and electrochemical stability of some ionic liquid chemistries have been key in the development of high performance electrolytes for electrochemical devices including supercapacitors and metal ion batteries (e.g. lithium, sodium, zinc, magnesium and aluminium batteries), often operating at higher voltages than what is possible with traditional organic electrolytes. Protic ionic liquids and their polymeric analogues have also been considered as electrolytes in proton membrane fuel cells. Other energy applications where ILs have provided advantageous properties include CO2 capture and storage, thermal storage and in the production of ammonia through the reduction of N2. Most recently, ILs have also been considered in the recycling and recovery of critical metals that are used in energy technologies including batteries and rare earth magnets. In all of these applications, the wonderful versatility of IL chemistry allows us to design task specific materials with the specific properties required. In the case of electrochemical applications, we are now recognising that the interfacial structure at an electrode can drastically be influenced by subtle changes in IL chemistry (of either anion or cation) and composition of IL mixtures. While the beneficial properties of ILs in energy storage applications has been well demonstrated, there is still a great deal to learn about their interactions both in the bulk and at electrode interfaces in order to facilitate further improvements in their chemical design, for example through MD simulations. This talk will cover some of the recent advances in the use of ILs in energy applications.