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Energy Storage

Energy conversion and storage systems

In the Electrochemical Energy Laboratory and the Electrochemical Energy Systems and Transport Laboratory, faculty members Fuqiang Liu, Ph.D. and Ertan Agar, Ph.D. are designing new energy conversion and storage systems that can make renewable energy more widespread.

Cover of "The State of Grid Energy Storage in Massachusetts" Report. Green block with December 2019 and The State of Grid Energy Storage in Massachusetts text. Smaller images showing a wind turbine, solar panels, ocean/waves tidal power, power lines, and a close up of an electric car being charged. Text saying whom the report was done by along with UMass Lowell and Associated Industries of Massachusetts logos.

The State of Grid Energy Storage in Massachusetts (pdf) was discussed at The Role of Energy Storage in our Carbon-Free Future event at UMass Lowell in Fall 2019.

The Electrochemical Energy Systems and Transport Laboratory (E2STL) has an overarching goal to advance the science and engineering of flow assisted electrochemical energy systems, particularly redox flow batteries. Redox flow battery is a promising, large-scale energy storage technology which is mainly used for intermittent renewable sources like wind and solar. The flow-assisted nature of redox flow batteries presents major challenges that hinder their widespread implementation.

The E2STL seeks to address these critical challenges using its existing, different kinds of research expertise:

  • Developing experimental diagnostic tools to identify the major losses, characterize system performance and provide benchmark data for modeling.
  • Developing a fundamental understanding of the mass, charge, and heat transport that occur in each component and guide component design efforts.
  • Exploring physical and chemical phenomena that occur in these systems using computational studies and establishing links between theory and practice.
Energy Conversion Experiment

The primary research interests of the Electrochemical Energy Laboratory are centered on fundamental materials development and new processes in solving one of the most critical issues of our time, affordable and sustainable energy. In particular, we focus on electrochemical and photoelectrochemical energy generation and storage, solar energy conversion through photoelectrochemical reactions, ion-conductive membranes for electrochemical systems, nanostructured materials, CFD simulation of energy conversion devices, and in situ characterization of advanced batteries.

Current research activities include:

  • Photoelectrochemical cells for efficient solar energy storage.
  • Developing guanidinium based anion exchange membranes for alkaline fuel cells that are potentially more efficient and cost-effective while also offering better conductivity, durability, and efficiency, compared to their acidic counterparts.
  • Synthesis and studies of hollow core-shell Au-based nanoparticles for improved electrochemical activity toward formic acid oxidation, and tuning the long-distance electronic coupling between the core and shell metals.
  • Investigating 2D nanomaterials with core-shell structure to improve lithium-ion battery storage capacity and safety.
  • In situ and operando study of phase transformation in lithium-ion battery materials during charge and discharge using micro-Raman and XRD.