Boron Innovation: From energy storage to nanomaterials
Prof. Zhenguo Huang
University of Wollongong, Australia
Boron, hydrogen, and nitrogen form many compounds together (denoted as BHN) that have high hydrogen capacity (weight percent). These compounds typically feature extensive intra- and/or intermolecular N−Hδ+---Hδ-−B dihydrogen interactions, which enable facile dehydrogenation. We have been developing novel synthesis methods and exploring new BHN compounds for hydrogen storage, which has been one of the bottlenecks for wide deployment of hydrogen fuel cell cars. Boron is also a key element of the electrolyte salt for the emerging Na-ion and Mg batteries. Its ability to form large and electrochemically stable ions enables good tuning of the interactions between anions and cations, and the conductivity and electrochemical windows of the corresponding electrolytes. For example, sodium-difluoro(oxalato)borate (NaDFOB) outperforms the most widely used commercial salts for Na-ion batteries in terms of rate capability and cycling performance. This breakthrough in hydrogen storage and Na-ion batteries has been successfully commercialized in partnership with Boron Molecular, a specialist chemical manufacturer. Boron and nitrogen together form a layered compound, hexagonal boron nitride (h-BN), which is isostructural to graphene. By guiding the dehydrogenation, BHN compounds can be made to form few-atomic-layered h-BN. We have been able to grow large few-atomic-layer h-BN nanosheets on Cu substrates. h-BN nanosheets could be an excellent atomically thin protective layer over Cu substrate if it is made with high quality. Our recent findings have seen boron nitride nanosheets dramatically improve the thermal response of temperature-sensitive hydrogels.
Venue:Conference Room of State Key Laboratory of Catalysis
Date and Time: April 24, 2017(Monday) 9:30 a.m