Published: 07 January 2021

Surrey academic publishes key research on energy storage devices

Professor Huiming Cheng, the Vice-Chancellor’s Fellow at the Advanced Technology Institute (ATI), who works on carbon-based materials for energy applications, recently published his work on advanced electrochemical energy storage devices (EESDs) based on carbon nanofibres.

EESDs that can store electrical energy efficiently while being miniature, flexible, wearable and load-bearing are much needed for various applications. These range from flexible, wearable and portable electronics to lightweight electric vehicles and aerospace equipment.

Carbon-based fibres hold great promise in the development of these advanced EESDs and they could be a key material for the creation of energy storage devices such as supercapacitors and batteries. Key reasons for this include the fact they’re lightweight, possess high electrical conductivity, excellent mechanical strength and flexibility, and they have tunable electrochemical performance.

Journal publications 

In his paper, Carbon-Based Fibers for Advanced Electrochemical Energy Storage Devices, published in Chemical Reviews, a top journal of the American Chemical Society, Professor Cheng and co-workers summarise the fabrication techniques of carbon-based fibres and various strategies for improving their mechanical, electrical, and electrochemical performance. The design, assembly, and potential applications of advanced EESDs from these carbon-based fibres are also highlighted.

Last year, Professor Cheng jointly published a research article entitled Ligand-assisted cation-exchange engineering for high-efficiency colloidal Cs1−xFAxPbI3 quantum dot solar cells with reduced phase segregation in Nature Energy with researchers at the University of Queensland. This reported on the breakthrough of perovskite quantum dot solar cells in achieving a record efficiency of 16.6%.

Transparent skin

The new quantum dot technology has the advantage of low cost, lightweight, transparency and flexibility, and it could also be used in applications ranging from LEDs to flexible electronics. This work opens up a huge range of potential applications, including the possibility to use it as a transparent skin to power cars, planes, homes and wearable technology.

This work has been highlighted by BBC, ABC, The Times and The Guardian, and it attracted attention from several industry figures. The development represents a significant step towards making the technology commercially viable and supporting global renewable energy targets.

Wonderful research

Professor Ravi Silva, Director of the ATI at the University of Surrey, said: “We’re happy to see this wonderful research coming out and look forward to continuing our collaboration on energy harvesting and storage, which are the prioritised research areas of the University and ATI.”

Learn more about studying at our Advanced Technology Institute.