Integrating Hierarchical-Nanostructured Pseudocapacitor on Screen-Printed Solar Cells for Hybrid Energy Harvesting and Storage Systems

Supervisors: Shi Nee Lou Dr Zi Ouyang Prof Rose Amal Dr Yun Hau Ng Dr Da-Wei Wang A/Prof Alison Lennon

Abstract:

Effective harnessing of solar energy potential requires direct coupling with an advanced energy storage system to mitigate the fluctuating availability of sunlight and the actual energy demand. This project aims to integrate photovoltaic (PV) systems with energy storage to manage power generation and delivery at a module level. The student undertaking this project will work as part of a team which is investigating the use of hierarchical-nanostructured transition metal oxides as pseudocapacitve electrode materials for direct integration on the rear-side of industrial screen-printed Si solar cells.

Novelty and Contribution:

Supercapacitors with desirable properties of high power density, fast charge/discharge rates and long cycling life represent an important class of electrical energy storage systems. Compared with conventional battery systems, supercapacitors have higher power density. Furthermore their fast responses to current changes can provide effective buffering to the ever-changing sunlight conditions [1]. However, supercapacitors are limited by their low energy density. One pathway towards increasing the amount of energy stored is to explore the use of Faradaic pseudocapacitance using two-dimensional transition metal oxides such as MnO2 and MoO3. In these materials, electrosorption, shallow ion insertion and redox processes can enhance the amount of charge stored [2]. This study will investigate the kinetic behaviours and capacitance of such surface processes during charging or discharging of a pseudocapacitance using cycling voltammetry (CV) conducted over a range of sweep rates and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS).

Expected Outcome:

This research work is a collaboration between UNSW’s School of Chemical Engineering and School of Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering. The research outcome is expected to contribute to the publication of a research paper in a peer-reviewed journal. Students will be exposed to nanostructure thin film synthesis techniques, two-dimensional materials, photovoltaic systems, energy storage technologies, electrochemical analyses (CV and EIS) and various material characterisation techniques (including X-ray diffraction, Raman spectroscopy, electron microscopy and surface area and porosity analysis). More importantly, student will gain multidisciplinary skills giving them a competitive edge in their future career. Contact Dr Yun Hau Ng for more information

NOTE: Possibility to continue project for THESIS A

References:

[1]        Schmidt, D., Hager, M.D. and Schubert, U.S., 2016. Photo‐Rechargeable Electric Energy Storage Systems. Advanced Energy Materials6(1).

[2]        Conway, B.E., Birss, V. and Wojtowicz, J., 1997. The role and utilization of pseudocapacitance for energy storage by supercapacitors. Journal of Power Sources66(1), pp.1-14.