Electrode Materials for Ionic Liquid Based-Supercapacitors

Lazzari, Mariachiara (2010) Electrode Materials for Ionic Liquid Based-Supercapacitors , [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Scienze chimiche, 22 Ciclo. DOI 10.6092/unibo/amsdottorato/2718.
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The development of safe, high energy and power electrochemical energy-conversion systems can be a response to the worldwide demand for a clean and low-fuel-consuming transport. This thesis work, starting from a basic studies on the ionic liquid (IL) electrolytes and carbon electrodes and concluding with tests on large-size IL-based supercapacitor prototypes demonstrated that the IL-based asymmetric configuration (AEDLCs) is a powerful strategy to develop safe, high-energy supercapacitors that might compete with lithium-ion batteries in power assist-hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs). The increase of specific energy in EDLCs was achieved following three routes: i) the use of hydrophobic ionic liquids (ILs) as electrolytes; ii) the design and preparation of carbon electrode materials of tailored morphology and surface chemistry to feature high capacitance response in IL and iii) the asymmetric double-layer carbon supercapacitor configuration (AEDLC) which consists of assembling the supercapacitor with different carbon loadings at the two electrodes in order to exploit the wide electrochemical stability window (ESW) of IL and to reach high maximum cell voltage (Vmax). Among the various ILs investigated the N-methoxyethyl-N-methylpyrrolidinium bis(trifluoromethanesulfonyl)imide (PYR1(2O1)TFSI) was selected because of its hydrophobicity and high thermal stability up to 350 °C together with good conductivity and wide ESW, exploitable in a wide temperature range, below 0°C. For such exceptional properties PYR1(2O1)TFSI was used for the whole study to develop large size IL-based carbon supercapacitor prototype. This work also highlights that the use of ILs determines different chemical-physical properties at the interface electrode/electrolyte with respect to that formed by conventional electrolytes. Indeed, the absence of solvent in ILs makes the properties of the interface not mediated by the solvent and, thus, the dielectric constant and double-layer thickness strictly depend on the chemistry of the IL ions. The study of carbon electrode materials evidences several factors that have to be taken into account for designing performing carbon electrodes in IL. The heat-treatment in inert atmosphere of the activated carbon AC which gave ACT carbon featuring ca. 100 F/g in IL demonstrated the importance of surface chemistry in the capacitive response of the carbons in hydrophobic ILs. The tailored mesoporosity of the xerogel carbons is a key parameter to achieve high capacitance response. The CO2-treated xerogel carbon X3a featured a high specific capacitance of 120 F/g in PYR14TFSI, however, exhibiting high pore volume, an excess of IL is required to fill the pores with respect to that necessary for the charge-discharge process. Further advances were achieved with electrodes based on the disordered template carbon DTC7 with pore size distribution centred at 2.7 nm which featured a notably high specific capacitance of 140 F/g in PYR14TFSI and a moderate pore volume, V>1.5 nm of 0.70 cm3/g. This thesis work demonstrated that by means of the asymmetric configuration (AEDLC) it was possible to reach high cell voltage up to 3.9 V. Indeed, IL-based AEDLCs with the X3a or ACT carbon electrodes exhibited specific energy and power of ca. 30 Wh/kg and 10 kW/kg, respectively. The DTC7 carbon electrodes, featuring a capacitance response higher of 20%-40% than those of X3a and ACT, respectively, enabled the development of a PYR14TFSI-based AEDLC with specific energy and power of 47 Wh/kg and 13 kW/kg at 60°C with Vmax of 3.9 V. Given the availability of the ACT carbon (obtained from a commercial material), the PYR1(2O1)TFSI-based AEDLCs assembled with ACT carbon electrodes were selected within the EU ILHYPOS project for the development of large-size prototypes. This study demonstrated that PYR1(2O1)TFSI-based AEDLC can operate between -30°C and +60°C and its cycling stability was proved at 60°C up to 27,000 cycles with high Vmax up to 3.8 V. Such AEDLC was further investigated following USABC and DOE FreedomCAR reference protocols for HEV to evaluate its dynamic pulse-power and energy features. It was demonstrated that with Vmax of 3.7 V at T> 30 °C the challenging energy and power targets stated by DOE for power-assist HEVs, and at T> 0 °C the standards for the 12V-TSS and 42V-FSS and TPA 2s-pulse applications are satisfied, if the ratio wmodule/wSC = 2 is accomplished, which, however, is a very demanding condition. Finally, suggestions for further advances in IL-based AEDLC performance were found. Particularly, given that the main contribution to the ESR is the electrode charging resistance, which in turn is affected by the ionic resistance in the pores that is also modulated by pore length, the pore geometry is a key parameter in carbon design not only because it defines the carbon surface but also because it can differentially “amplify” the effect of IL conductivity on the electrode charging-discharging process and, thus, supercapacitor time constant.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di dottorato
Lazzari, Mariachiara
Dottorato di ricerca
Scuola di dottorato
Scienze chimiche
Settore disciplinare
Settore concorsuale
Parole chiave
supercapacitor; double-layer; ionic liquid; room temperature molten salt; EDLC; activated carbon; xerogel carbon; template carbon; hybrid electric vehicle
Data di discussione
3 Giugno 2010

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