Florian has been awarded an Erwin Schrödinger Fellowship by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) for the project Conjugated macrocycles for battery electrodes. The fellowship provides funding for his work at Imperial College London for the next ~2 years and will start in September 2020. Florian will continue to be hosted by Prof. Martin Heeney in the Department of Chemistry and Centre for Processable Electronics.
I am very grateful for the support from the Austrian Science Fund and I look forward to continuing my work on conjugated macrocycles at Imperial College. The Department of Chemistry and Centre for Processable Electronics provide the perfect setting to make this project a full success. I look forward to continuing to work with outstanding colleagues at Imperial College and around the world and to further expand my scientific network.
Florian has previously been awarded an Erwin Schrödinger Fellowship in 2018 but had to turn it down in favour of his Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship.
The project is based on preliminary results that were recently published in Angewandte Chemie.
Short summary of the project:
Organic materials hold great promise for becoming the next generation of battery electrode materials. This project explores a fundamentally new concept for such materials, significantly improving their chemical stability and electronic conductivity. It bridges the gap between research on fundamental effects in organic materials and development of ground-breaking applications.
Batteries can help to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by storing clean electricity from renewable sources for periods with high demand and by making the clean electricity available for the transport sector. However, while batteries and electric vehicles can help to reduce emissions, the widespread use of batteries also comes at a cost. There are severe environmental and ethical issues associated with lithium-ion batteries, the type of batteries dominating the electric vehicle market. Furthermore, the future supply of materials required for battery manufacturing is a concern. Most notably, lithium-ion batteries usually require cobalt for their positive electrode, which is often mined under terrible working conditions.
Organic materials are a promising alternative to electrode materials based on cobalt and other heavy metals, considering their advantages of recyclability, structural diversity, flexibility, and compatibility with sodium (replacing the less abundant lithium). In fact, they hold great promise for becoming the next generation of battery electrode materials. However, limited electronic properties and insufficient chemical stability under fast-charge/discharge conditions still impede commercial application of these materials.
To solve these issues, this project explores a fundamentally new concept for storing electricity in organic materials, based on so-called conjugated macrocycles. In particular, the research addresses the challenges of achieving high stability and capacity with organic materials. It will further provide new synthetic strategies and design guidelines for the path towards large-scale application, with the ultimate goal of decreasing carbon dioxide emissions in an ethical and sustainable way.