CHEMISTRY AND ENERGY
Energy Conversion , Harvesting and Storage
Batteries, systems for the storage and release of electrical energy.
The development of efficient and reliable technologies that allow energy to be stored and released cyclically is of fundamental importance for the optimal exploitation of intermittent renewable sources and for their integration into distribution networks. Nowadays, Lithium-ion batteries (LIB) are among the leading technologies for the accumulation/use of electricity. The activities carried out in this field by SCITEC include the study of pseudocapacitive organic redox systems to be employed as sustainable cathodes for LIB, and of organic components applicable through controlled deposition or electropolymerization in metal-air batteries to prevent materials degradation and to reduce the large recharge overpotentials due to the precipitation of metal oxides on the cathode surface. From this point of view, computational modeling assumes a role of primary importance in the rationalization of the relationships between chemical functionalization and electrode potential.
Piezoelectric and thermoelectric materials for energy harvesting
Piezoelectric generators that convert mechanical energy into electrical energy have great potential for servicing low-power portable devices and self-powered electronic systems. The advantage of the piezoelectric mechanism over other conversion mechanisms lies in its high energy density and scalability over a wide range of sizes. Thermoelectric generators convert a temperature gradient directly into electric current and vice versa. Therefore, they can be used both for the recovery of excess heat, or as systems for cooling without the use of environmentally harmful thermal fluids.
Solar concentrators and coatings for smart windows
Concentrators for efficient sunlight capture and anti-reflective coatings for smart windows. Luminescent solar concentrators (LSC) for the capture of incident sunlight on large areas (windows), its concentration on the active areas of PV devices with solar energy conversion in the spectral zone of their maximum efficiency. Materials for LSC include polymeric matrices, organic and metal-organic dyes, suitably functionalized polymeric and inorganic nanoparticles, organic and hybrid host-guest nanostructured systems that exploit highly efficient FRET energy transfer processes. Micro / nanostructured coatings with anti-reflective, self-cleaning properties. Transparent IR pigments for "cool roofing".
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