Dr. Ömer Çapraz, an assistant professor from the School of Chemical Engineering in the College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology (CEAT) at Oklahoma State University (OSU), is researching and developing new battery technologies that could significantly impact the future of energy.
Çapraz was recently awarded a grant from the Department of Energy (DOE) that will contribute $480,000 over the next three years to his research into sodium- and potassium-ion batteries. Researchers around the world are trying to find a replacement for lithium-ion batteries, currently the most commonly used battery in most industries, due to limited resources of lithium and the subsequent cost of manufacturing those batteries.
“Lithium-ion batteries have an abundance of positive qualities, such as high energy density and good cycle life” Çapraz said. “However, looking at those units from a renewable energy and grid-scale energy storage perspective, leaves much to be desired.” Both sodium and potassium are much more abundant elements and would therefore significantly cut the cost of manufacturing.
Over the next three years, Çapraz and his team will be evaluating the intercalation of sodium and potassium ions into cathode electrodes and monitor the effects on the kinetics, performance, chemistry and mechanical stages of the electrodes under different load and cycle environments. The inherent problems of these new materials are the size and reactivity of sodium and potassium ions. Using state-of-the-art observation equipment, Çapraz’s team will be able to evaluate the new materials from both a mechanical and chemical perspective for the first time. In doing so, Çapraz hopes that they will be able to identify specific obstacles to the further development of these battery technologies and create new methods to overcome those limitations.
Çapraz’s focus has always been new battery technologies and he has partnered with entities such as the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in the development of sodium- and potassium-ion batteries, as well as received funding from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) to research the development of solid-state batteries. Çapraz also received an award from the Binational Science Foundation in partnership with Bar-Ilan University in Israel to aid in the development of lithium-oxygen batteries which posses 10 times more energy than a standard lithium-ion battery.
The results of Çapraz’s research could have an impact on numerous industries, such as the manufacturing of electric vehicles, electrification of aviation or developing the state of Oklahoma’s use of wind energy. “I’m excited that our research could significantly impact the development of these new battery technologies and in-turn change the future of energy,” Çapraz said.
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