Ion-Conductive Polymers for Energy Conversion Devices

Friday, February 17, 2017 - 12:00pm
3110 Etcheverry Hall
Dr. Ahmet Kusoglu

Energy Conversion Group, Energy Technologies Area

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, CA


LBNL + ME Seminar Series


Research activities and interests in electrochemical energy-storage and conversion devices (e.g., fuel cells, solar-fuel generators, batteries, etc.) have been continuously increasing due to their great potential to provide clean and renewable energy technologies for stationary, transportation, and solid-state applications. Common to all these devices is the electrolyte/separator, which is an ion-conductive polymer (ionomer), providing key roles such as ion/solvent transport and gas/reactant separation. For the desired new clean-energy paradigm, sustainable performance of electrochemical devices requires optimized ionomer functionalities with a mechanically robust matrix. However, improving the transport properties usually undermines the mechanical stability and separator functionality. This requires an understanding of how the ionomer’s transport and mechanical properties are interrelated through the interactions between morphology, electrochemical state, hydration and deformation. In such a complex structure, it becomes critical, yet challenging, to balance the mechanical properties for stability and the chemical properties for high performance. In this talk, our research activities on state-of-the-art ionomers’ structure/property relationship and morphological characterization will be highlighted to provide insight into optimization of their functionalities and chemical-mechanical durability. Structure/property relationship of ionomers is investigated based on their multi-scale characterization via synchrotron X-ray techniques at the Advanced Light Source (ALS), and then modeled using mechanistic approaches. These correlations are also examined in the nanometer-thick film regime to study the polymer interfaces in the electrode structures. The results will be discussed to develop a holistic view of the ion-conductive polymers within the context of performance and durability of polymer-electrolyte fuel-cells, but also to explore new avenues for tuning and exploiting chemical-mechanical interactions for electro-active polymers as well as next-generation energy and environmental technologies.



Dr. Ahmet Kusoglu is a research scientist at Berkeley Lab, working on polymeric materials for energy devices and related electrochemical-mechanical phenomena for energy applications. He received his PhD from University of Delaware and did his post-doctoral research at LBNL on transport and durability of fuel-cell membranes. He has published over 35 peer-reviewed journal publications and a book chapter, and given various invited talks and tutorials. He is also the recipient of 2016 Srinivasan Young Investigator Award of the Electrochemical Society. His current research involves experimental characterization and modeling of structure/function relationships and degradation of ionomer membranes and thin films.


Hosted by: Assistant Professor Hayden Taylor, 6159 Etcheverry Hall, 510-642-4901,