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Tying up materials for electrochemical energy storage and catalysis

Abstract

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), 80% of the global energy demand is derived from fossil fuels which are non-renewable energy sources and their use implicate in environmental consequences contribuiting to pollution and climate change effect. To address these problems, much effort has been made towards a clean energy development and some reactions are at the core of the energy conversion technologies such as the water electrolysis, CO2 reduction, biomass upgrade and N2 reduction. Also, highly efficiency and low-cost rechargeable batteries have become cornerstone technologies. Lithium ion batteries (LIBs) are currently the most popular mobile storage device while Sodium Ion Batteries (SIBs) are promising alternative to stationary storage due their similarities with LIBs and Na availability. New technological devices require more powerful and long living batteries, which motivates the search for the improvement of their components. This project proposes the use of different, versatile and environmentally friendly methodologies for the development and study of nanomaterials (inorganic, organic and/or their hybrids) with size, shape, composition, structure (solid or empty interiors) well-defined and controllable architectures, targeting a variety of relevant applications. Specifically, we are interested in applications aiming energy storage devices (batteries and electrochemical capacitors), electrocatalysis for the transformation of energy vectors and nanocatalysts (heterogeneous catalysis and plasmonic catalysis/biocatalysis). In all of these applications, the use of controlled nanomaterials will allow to make an accurate correlation between the observed performances and all the physico-chemical parameters that define the material, opening the possibility not only for the optimization of properties in relation to conventional nanomaterials, but also for the design and development of advanced nanomaterials presenting desirable characteristics for the applications of interest to this project. For a complete understanding of these phenomena, it is essential to associate experimental developments with theoretical calculations and molecular modeling that allows a complete and more detailed insigth of the systems.This proposal associates Profs Roberto M. Torresi and Susana I. Córdoba de Torresi (IQ/USP), who will contribute with their experience in the field of Electrochemistry, Profa. Liane M. Rossi (IQ/USP) of renowned research in heterogeneous catalysis, strongly acting in the synthesis/development of controlled and plasmonic nanomaterials and Prof. Antonio G. Sampaio de Oliveira Filho (FFCLRP / USP), who will provide support in performing Quantum Chemistry calculations. (AU)

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