Energy storage

We have been actively involved in research on energy storage techniques. Our Electrochemical Characterisation Lab, Printed Electronics Lab and Cleanroom at the Advanced Technology Institute (ATI) have the capacity of the preparation, assembly and characterisation of rechargeable batteries, supercapacitors and on-chip/flexible energy storage devices. ATI also owns a full suite of material characterisation tools for energy storage materials and devices characterisation.


Developing high-performance electrochemical energy storage devices such as metal-ion batteries, supercapacitors and metal-air batteries are important for portable electronics, vehicle electrification and smart grid, while developing techniques for electrochemical monitoring that offer higher spatial and temporal resolution would open up new ways to study electrochemical interfaces and reaction kinetics for further developing novel energy storage devices.

Meanwhile, electrochemical conversion of energy stored chemically or biologically (“fuels”) into electrical energy is possible with leading-edge fuel cell technologies such as polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells (near room temperature), ceramic fuel cells (high temperature) and biological fuel cells (using microbial or enzymatic electrodes).

Academic and industrial collaborations

We have strong cross-disciplinary collaborations with:

Focus areas

The current research areas are shown as follows:

By the integration of a series of state-of-the-art characterisation equipment at ATI and with the collaboration with the National Physical Laboratory (Electrochemistry Group and Electronic and Magnetic Materials Group), we aim to develop advanced electrochemical characterisation technologies for understanding the reaction kinetics and degrading mechanism in electrochemical energy storage devices [1, 2].

  1. Liqiang Mai, Mengyu Yan, and Yunlong Zhao. "Track batteries degrading in real time." Nature 546.7659 (2017): 469.
  2. Xuhui Yao, Tan Sui, Yunlong Zhao, et al. "Understanding the Chemical Evolution at the Subsurface of Lithium-Ion Battery Electrode." Submitted (2020).

Get in contact

If you would like to learn more about this research, please contact Dr Yunlong Zhao and Dr Vlad Stolojan.

Polymer electrolyte membranes are developed using radiation grafting and tested locally for alkaline membrane fuel cells [1], electrolysers (the electrochemical route to energy stored as hydrogen fuel) and harvesting energy from salinity gradients. Enzymatic biofuel cell developments produce electricity from glucose as fuel [2] and microbial fuel cells utilise the energy stored in biomass and in waste streams [3].

  1. Lianqin Wang, Robert C. T. Slade, Daniel K. Whelligan and John R. Varcoe, et al. “An optimised synthesis of high-performance radiation-grafted anion-exchange membranes”.  Green Chemistry 19 (2017): 831-843
  2. Ross D. Milton, Robert C. T. Slade, et al.  “Bilirubin oxidase bioelectrocatalytic cathodes: the impact of hydrogen peroxide”. Chemical Communications 50 (2014): 94-96.
  3. Xuee Wu, Feng Zhao, Nelli Rahunen, John R. Varcoe, Claudio Avignone-Rossa, Alfred E. Thumser, and Robert C. T. Slade.  “A Role for Microbial Palladium Nanoparticles in Extracellular Electron Transfer”. Angewandte Chemie Int. Ed. 50 (2011), 427 - 430.

Get in contact

If you would like to learn more about this research, please contact Professor Bob Slade.

We also collaborate with Dr Qiong Cai from School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering on multiscale materials modelling (including density functional theory, molecular dynamics, and lattice Boltzmann method) with experimental approaches, to understand the fundamental mechanisms, design and optimise materials for high-performance energy storage and conversion devices [1, 2].

  1. Emilia Olsson, Qiong Cai, et al. "Elucidating the Effect of Planar Graphitic Layers and Cylindrical Pores on the Storage and Diffusion of Li, Na, and K in Carbon Materials." Advanced Functional Materials (2020),
  2. Utsab Guharoy, Qiong Cai, et al. et al. "Theoretical Insights of Ni2P (0001) Surface toward Its Potential Applicability in CO2 Conversion via Dry Reforming of Methane." ACS Catalysis 9.4 (2019): 3487-3497.

Get in contact

If you would like to learn more about this research, please contact Dr Qiong Cai.

We aim to develop novel materials and strategies to address the critical performance parameters related to energy density, power density, cycle, calendar life of novel electrochemical energy storage devices. Our achievements include development of a self-adaptive strain-relaxed electrode and complex structures for high-energy battery and supercapacitors[1-4], synthesis of high-performance electrocatalyst for metal-air battery [5], development of novel electrode materials by activating ions diffusion channels through alkali metal ion intercalation [6,7].

  1. Ash Stott, Radu A. Sporea, S. Ravi P. Silva, et al. "Exceptional rate‐capability from carbon encapsulated polyaniline supercapacitor electrodes." Energy and Environmental Materials. (2020):
  2. Yunlong Zhao, et al. "Self-adaptive strain-relaxation optimisation for high-energy lithium storage material through crumpling of graphene." Nature Communications 5.1 (2014): 1-8.
  3. Guilherme Kurz Maron, Vlad Stolojan, S. Ravi P. Silva, Neftali LeninVillarreal Carreño et al. "Electrochemical supercapacitors based on 3D nanocomposites of reduced graphene oxide/carbon nanotube and ZnS." Journal of Alloys and Compounds (2020): 155408.
  4. Tianyu Yang, S. Ravi P. Silva, S. Jian Liu et al. "Formation of hollow MoS2/carbon microspheres for high capacity and high rate reversible alkali-ion storage." Journal of Materials Chemistry A 6.18 (2018): 8280-8288.
  5. Yunlong Zhao, et al. "Hierarchical mesoporous perovskite La0.5Sr0.5CoO2.91 nanowires with ultrahigh capacity for Li-air batteries." PNAS 109.48 (2012): 19569-19574.
  6. Xuhui Yao, Yunlong Zhao, et al. “Rational design of preintercalated electrodes for rechargeable batteries.” ACS Energy Letters 4.3 (2019): 771-778.
  7. Yunlong Zhao, et al. "Stable alkali metal ion intercalation compounds as optimised metal oxide nanowire cathodes for lithium batteries." Nano Letters 15.3 (2015): 2180-2185.

Get in contact

If you would like to learn more about this research, please contact Dr Yunlong Zhao, Dr Maxim Shkunov, Dr Vlad Stolojan, Professor Bob Slade, and Professor Ravi Silva.

Due to the rapid growth of the internet of things and health monitoring systems, we aim to develop of flexible, wearable, and conformal embedded electronics with the energy storage systems fully adaptable to diverse form factors.

Our achievements include development of ultra-high-rate and high-energy-density on-chip micro-supercapacitors[1] and wearable micro-batteries[2], water-transferred, inkjet-printed supercapacitors toward conformal and epidermal energy storage[3], conducting films by defunctionalization of amine functionalized carbon nanotubes[4] and electrophysiological and mechanical sensors [5-7] for integrated systems.

  1. Giannakou, Pavlos, Maxim Shkunov et al. "Energy storage on demand: ultra-high-rate and high-energy-density inkjet-printed NiO micro-supercapacitors." Journal of Materials Chemistry A 7.37 (2019): 21496-21506.
  2. Yao Wang, Yunlong Zhao, Liqiang Mai, et al. "Wearable Textile‐Based Co− Zn Alkaline Microbattery with High Energy Density and Excellent Reliability." Small 16.16 (2020): 2000293.
  3. Pavlos Giannakou, Maxim Shkunov et al. "Water-Transferred, Inkjet-Printed Supercapacitors toward Conformal and Epidermal Energy Storage." ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces 12.7 (2020): 8456-8465.
  4. Dear, John W., Maxim Shkunov, et al. "Solution-processable transparent conducting films by defunctionalization of amine functionalized carbon nanotubes." Journal of Photonics for Energy 8, no. 3 (2018): 032221.
  5. Yunlong Zhao, et al. "Scalable ultrasmall three-dimensional nanowire transistor probes for intracellular recording." Nature Nanotechnology 14.8 (2019): 783-790.
  6. Xiao Yang, Yunlong Zhao, et al. "Bioinspired neuron-like electronics." Nature Materials 18.5 (2019): 510.
  7. Mehmet O. Tas, Vlad Stolojan, et al. "Highly Stretchable, Directionally Oriented Carbon Nanotube/PDMS Conductive Films with Enhanced Sensitivity as Wearable Strain Sensors." ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces 11.43 (2019): 39560-39573.

Get in contact

If you would like to learn more about this research, please contact Dr Maxim Shkunov, Dr Yunlong Zhao, and Dr Vlad Stolojan.

We aim to develop robust approaches to the design and processing of interfaces in solid-state batteries and understand the short-circuiting mechanism in the solid-state battery [1].

  1. Xuhui Yao, Yunlong Zhao, et al. " Advanced interfaces engineering in solid-state batteries." In preparation.

Get in contact

If you would like to learn more about this research, please contact Dr Yunlong Zhao.

Get in contact

If you'd like to learn more about this research then please email Professor Ravi Silva.

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Nanoelectronics Centre
Advanced Technology Institute
University of Surrey