Energy insecurity and environmental pollution forces us for the development of a clean and sustainable energy technology. In this regards, fuel cell, battery, supercapacitor and solar cell have attracted much attention by the researchers. My research is focused on the design of environmentally green materials which will help in the progress for accomplishing the demand for clean and sustainable energy technology. Specifically I have worked on the design and synthesis of electrolyte for proton exchange and anion exchange membrane for application in fuel cell.
Solid Electrolyte for Proton exchange membrane fuel cell:
Graphene oxide (GO) construct a sheet-like graphene network utilizing its various polar functional groups such as epoxy, carboxylic and hydroxyl group. The ion conduction primarily occurs utilizing the epoxy groups throughout the edge and pinholes of the GO nanosheets. Although, GO shows very high proton conductivity value in the in-plane direction but the through plane proton conductivity value is comparatively low. Especially, highly stacked GO nanosheet during film fabrication using vacuum assisted method results in longer conduction track and results in low cell performance. To conquer this, we have fabricated three dimensional graphene oxide (3DGO) using freeze-drying method which represent efficient proton conduction ability and proton exchange membrane fuel cell performance. Additionally functionalization and intercalation also results in enhancing the transportation ability of the synthesized solid electrolyte.
Additionally, we have established the synergy between GO and oxidized carbon nanotube (CNTOX) and both of these component acts synergistically to strengthen the structure and conducting ability in the resulting hybrid.
In a different study, we have also demonstrated that the specific structural arrangement of atom in different crystalline phases of a polymorph material has significant effect on their ion conduction ability. Specifically, we have synthesized titanium oxide nanosheets (TiO2) in different crystalline phases for instance, rutile, anatase and brookite having nanometer sized sheet. The difference in the proton conductivity of these crystal phases arises from the difference in their water absorption ability.
Apart from this I have worked on the design and fabrication of catalyst based on metal oxide, phosphide, sulfide, and nitride for application as catalyst for overall water splitting. Moreover, I have synthesized hybrid of metal organic framework, molybdenum disulfide, hexagonal boron nitride, layered double hydroxide, graphene oxide with metal oxide, nitride, phosphide, sulfide etc. as electrode for battery and supercapacitor. Furthermore, I have designed some carbon based electrolyte and hybrid of different layered materials for application as membrane in proton and anion exchange membrane fuel cell.