Advanced materials and interfaces (including surfaces, thin films, and membranes) are a key to developing the next generation of catalysts, separation processes, gas and liquid storage technologies, and environmental remediation methods. These materials and technologies are at the heart of industrial processes that generate several trillions of dollars per year of fuels, chemicals, polymers, industrial materials, and purified water. However, these processes are energy intensive (using about 15-20% of the world’s total consumption) and are increasingly challenged by their environmental footprint and the growing scarcity of fossil-based raw materials such as petroleum.
An overarching grand challenge is the need for a new generation of advanced materials and interfaces for a host of sustainable chemical processes that provide renewable (or cleaner) fuels and industrial chemicals, inexpensive purified water, and clean air with low levels of greenhouse gases and pollutants. Georgia Tech is a leader in defining novel sustainable paths forward (hyperlink to this core strength area).
Development of improved high-performance electrodes is critically important to the efficiency and overall performance of next generation energy storage and conversion applications, such as electrochemical capacitors, batteries and fuel cells for grid and distributed energy storage and conversion, electric and hybrid electric vehicles and ships, energy efficient industrial equipment and portable electronic devices. For example, stable high capacity anodes and cathodes increase energy density of Li-ion batteries. Georgia Tech’s strengths cover the gamut of electrode fabrication, testing, characterization, in situ performance measurements and study of fundamental mechanisms, and modeling and simulation for mechano-chemical performance and reliability (hyperlink to this core strength area).
Tech’s work in photovoltaic materials for solar energy conversion is impacting industry practice by pushing the limits of Si-based technology as well as pursuing a broad pallete of potential material systems such as organic photovoltaics.