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Advances in battery technology are enabling the transformation of existing applications and the realization of new devices, from wearable medical devices and portable electronics to electric vehicles and grid-scale energy storage. For many of these technologies, the need remains for increased energy densities and durability, higher safety and lower cost, whereas for others, factors such as miniaturization, flexibility and conformability are crucial. Through advances in materials science, tremendous progress is being made in addressing these requirements. This Collection showcases some of the most promising next-generation battery systems, and the materials and computational models that make them possible.
Post-lithium-ion batteries are reviewed with a focus on their operating principles, advantages and the challenges that they face. The volumetric energy density of each battery is examined using a commercial pouch-cell configuration to evaluate its practical significance and identify appropriate research directions.
This Review details recent advances in battery chemistries and systems enabled by solid electrolytes, including all-solid-state lithium-ion, lithium–air, lithium–sulfur and lithium–bromine batteries, as well as an aqueous battery concept with a mediator-ion solid electrolyte.
Density functional theory has become an indispensable tool in the design of new materials. This Review details the principles of computational materials design, highlighting examples of the successful prediction and subsequent experimental verification of materials for energy harvesting, conversion and storage.
Flow-battery technologies open a new age of large-scale electrical energy-storage systems. This Review highlights the latest innovative materials and their technical feasibility for next-generation flow batteries.
Ionic liquids and their solid-state analogues, organic ionic plastic crystals, have recently emerged as important materials for renewable energy applications. This Review highlights recent advances in the synthesis of these materials and their application as electrolytes for batteries, capacitors, photovoltaics, fuel cells and CO2 reduction.
More than twenty 2D carbides, nitrides and carbonitrides of transition metals (MXenes) have been synthesized and studied, and dozens more predicted to exist. Highly electrically conductive MXenes show promise in electrical energy storage, electromagnetic interference shielding, electrocatalysis, plasmonics and other applications.
Mesoporous materials are finding increasing uses in energy conversion and storage devices. This Review highlights recent developments in the synthesis of mesoporous materials and their applications as electrodes and/or catalysts in solar cells, solar fuel production, rechargeable batteries, supercapacitors and fuel cells.
Graphene has now enabled the development of faster and more powerful batteries and supercapacitors. In this Review, we discuss the current status of graphene in energy storage, highlight ongoing research activities and present some solutions for existing challenges.