Metal Oxide–Carbon Nanocomposites for Energy Storage and Conversion




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Increased energy demand with the exponential growth in population has become one of the major challenges that mankind has to face. To overcome the growing energy demand, there is a significant need to find either a sustainable and renewable energy source or efficient ways to store energy. Therefore, development of novel energy storage devices have attracted a great attention. Among different energy storage devices, batteries are the most convenient and accessible devices that are commercially available for a wide range of consumer devices. However, low power density of batteries greatly limits its use in applications requiring quick burst of energy. Thus, one of the overall goals of this study is to develop novel electrode nanostructures and compositions for the next generation of electrochemical devices that are capable of delivering high energy density, high power density and high capacitance. In the first part of the dissertation, the preparation of metal oxide-carbon nanocomposites using different methodologies and the evaluation of their performance will be discussed. Currently, RuO2 is considered as the best metal oxide that possesses the highest pseudocapacitive properties.

In the second chapter, the use of RuO2 as the pseudocapacitive metal oxide and carbon nanotubes as the electrical double layer capacitive (EDLC) material will be discussed. Moreover, a novel method was introduced to prepare RuO2 nanoribbons. Since RuO2 is an expensive material, incorporating it with a cheaper alternative, i.e. vanadium oxide (V2O5) will be discussed in the third chapter. To achieve this, RuO2 nanodots were deposited on V2O5 nanorods. The use of V2O5 significantly decreased the material cost. Since this novel method used RuO2 quantum dots in low compositions, harvesting the great electrochemical performance of RuO2 without increasing the material cost was successfully achieved. In the fourth chapter, graphene oxide mediated sodium niobate nanotubes were prepared and used as the supercapacitor electrode material. Recently, the use of high surface area carbon nanomaterials for electrochemical energy storage devices has gained more attention. In the fifth chapter, the incorporation of high surface area wrinkled mesoporous carbon to supercapacitor electrodes will be presented. Different amounts of RuO2 nanoparticles were deposited on to the wrinkled mesoporous carbon and the electrochemical performance of supercapacitors were evaluated. Another major challenge associated with the increasing population is rapid industrialization. With the development of new industries, more waste are generated and released to the environment. Most of these industrial waste contain organic pollutants and eventually they are collected in free water bodies such as oceans and water streams ultimately resulting in the accumulation of toxic organic components in the biomass. The second part of the dissertation will be focused on the development of novel TiO2 nanotube/ RuO2 nanoribbons/graphene oxide composites for photocatalytic degradation of organic pollutants. This novel photocatalyst significantly increased the photocatalytic remediation of organic dye due to reduced rate of electron-hole recombination. These results suggest that TiO2 nanotube/ RuO2 nanoribbons/graphene oxide composite is capable of efficiently degrading toxic organic components present in industrial waste.



Ruthenium oxides, Carbon nanotubes, Supercapacitors, Nanocomposites (Materials), Photocatalysis, Titanium dioxide, Vanadium oxide, Niobates, Graphene


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