• Daniel Mason

  • Theme:Low Carbon Fuels
  • Project:Chemical vapor deposition for advanced lithium ion batteries and supercapacitors
  • Supervisor: Andrew Johnson
  • The Gorgon's Head - Bath University Logo

Bio

Dan graduated from the University of Bath in 2021, with a Master's degree in Chemistry, during which he spent a year on an industrial placement with Shell Global Solutions as a Fuel Innovations Intern. As part of this internship, Dan worked on projects associated with diesel and Gas-To-Liquid (GTL) fuels. This included creating a database for diesel vehicles that could be used for assessing additives in diesel fuel, as well as creating a tool to provide a quick scope into this data and help in the determination of whether the tested additive could feasibly be used. He also worked on a project which aimed to show benefits of GTL fuel compared to diesel, when used in a heavy-duty vehicle. Dan's final year project was looking into developing a suitable catalyst for the dehydrogenation of a Liquid Organic Hydrogen Carriers. Dan chose to further his studies at the AAPS CDT in the hopes of applying his knowledge to improve sustainability associated with the production and use of fuels. Outside of University, Dan enjoys playing and watching rugby, as well as spending time in the gym. He also enjoys cooking and travelling and experiencing new places.

FunFacts

  • I am learning to speak Turkish
  • I have a twin
  • I make a mean cheesecake
  • I have played rugby at the Rec, winning the cup final!

Chemical vapor deposition for advanced lithium ion batteries and supercapacitors

The age of the electric car is here. Advanced electrochemical energy storage is internationally considered as one of the disruptive technologies of the future. Early in 2021, the US automobile giant General Motors announced that it aims to stop selling petrol-powered and diesel models by 2035. Audi, based in Germany, plans to stop producing such vehicles by 2033. Many other automotive multinationals have issued similar road maps. Suddenly, the prevaricating and foot-dragging displayed by major carmakers on the electrifying their fleets is turning into a rush for the exit. Anticipating a world dominated by electric vehicles, chemists and materials scientists are working toward the development of new materials which will provide the structural frameworks of better electrodes and electrolytes for the next generation of batteries and supercapacitors.

The application of non-line-of-sight deposition techniques, such as chemical vapor deposition (CVD) and atomic layer deposition (ALD), offer unique opportunities to produce well-defined high surface area current collectors, thin films, or various nanostructures of active (ion-storage) materials. Low electrical and ionic conductivities, high volume changes during charging, various types of mechanical, electrochemical or chemical degradation of electrodes and the resulting degradation are among the most frequently faced problems. To overcome these challenges, the formation of nanostructured composites with finely tuned microstructure, morphology and chemistry is required.

The research proposed here will focus on the development of advanced nanostructured 3D solid host networks for the formation of lithium chalcogenide-based intercalation cathode materials of the form MXn, including M-oxides, sulfides or selenides such as SnO SnO2, SnS2 SnSe2, SnSeS, SnSe0.5S0.5, MoSe2, GeS, MoS2 and WS2, all of which show an excellent ability to intercalate metals such as lithium or sodium.

By focusing on the development of these materials by CVD and ALD we hope to maximise and improve cell performance by virtue of the advantages that these processes provide, specifically (I) the ability to deposit conformally active materials onto highly structured scaffolds such as nano-carbon rods, tubes and flakes, (II) the ability to deposit dense uniform coatings onto electrode materials as protective shells (e.g. against chemical degradation) (III) the ability to form new materials, with a high degree of control over stoichiometry, new phases of materials by virtue of the judicious choice of CVD/ALD precursor, deposition parameters and through chemical doping (IV) the applicability of these deposition techniques to an industrial high throughput scale.

Throughout this research, Dan will pay particular attention to the application of sustainable materials avoiding metals in batteries that are scarce, expensive, problematic, or difficult to recycle.

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