This week’s HOT articles

Take a look at this week’s selection! These articles are available free for a limited time: Graphical abstract: A wearable thermoelectric generator fabricated on a glass fabric

Improvement of open-circuit voltage and photovoltaic properties of 2D-conjugated polymers by alkylthio substitution
Chaohua Cui, Wai-Yeung Wong and Yongfang Li
DOI: 10.1039/C4EE00446A, Paper

Towards low-cost, environmentally friendly printed chalcopyrite and kesterite solar cells
Hamed Azimi, Yi Hou and Christoph J. Brabec
DOI: 10.1039/C3EE43865A, Review Article

A wearable thermoelectric generator fabricated on a glass fabric
Sun Jin Kim, Ju Hyung We and Byung Jin Cho
DOI: 10.1039/C4EE00242C, Paper

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Toilet flushes could help power homes

Abigail Hallowes writes about a HOT EES article in Chemistry World

Researchers in South Korea have devised a way to harness the motion of water, including from raindrops or from a flushing toilet, as a sustainable energy source.

Devices that renewably generate electricity in an uncomplicated manner are in demand. Now, Youn Sang Kim and his team at Seoul National University and Korea Electronics Technology Institute (KETI) have adapted a transducer to convert the mechanical energy from water motion into electrical energy.

Interested to know more? Read the full article by Abigail Hallowes on Chemistry World.

Read the original article in Energy & Environmental Science – it’s free to download until 27th May 2014!

The Effective Energy Harvesting Method from Natural Water Motion Active Transducer (WMAT)
Youn Sang Kim, Junwoo Park, YoungJun Yang, Eungkyu Lee, Soon-Hyung Kwon, Won Keun Kim, Cheouljong han, Jeongno Lee and Siyun Park
Energy Environ. Sci., 2014, Accepted Manuscript
DOI: 10.1039/C4EE00588K, Communication

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Visible light hydrogen production with carbonate-doped TiO2 microspheres

Martina Congiu is a guest web-writer for Energy and Environmental Science. Martina is currently a Research Technician in Dr Henry Snaith’s group at the University of Oxford. During her free time from work, she loves cooking and cycling in the outskirts of Oxford.

A simple “one-pot” solvothermal method has been developed to prepare high-surface-area mesoporous TiO2 microspheres in order to extend the light absorption from the ultraviolet to the visible region of the solar spectrum.

By Martina Congiu

Titanium dioxide (TiO2) is a wide bandgap semiconductor, extensively studied for photocatalysis because nontoxic, abundant, stable and photoactive. Unfortunately, bare TiO2 absorbs photons only in the ultraviolet, hence the need to find suitable dopants to enhance its absorption in the visible region.

The new nonaqueous solvothermal method carried out by Liu and co-workers, shows how it is possible to synthesize carbon-doped microspheres with high specific surface area, tunable pore diameter and grain size, high crystallinity, well-defined morphology and high visible light absorption.

Furthermore, the new material was tested as solid-state photocatalyst under visible light irradiation. The experiment showed that doped-TiO2 microspheres created with this new method have an hydrogen production rate three times higher than commercial TiO2 nanoparticles.

Interested in a better understanding about this field? Read more from the Communication:

Doping high-surface-area mesoporous TiO2 microspheres with carbonate for visible light hydrogen production
Bin Liu, Li-Min Liu, Xiu-Feng Lang, Hsin-Yi Wang, Xiong Wen (David) Lou and Eray S. Aydil
DOI: 10.1039/C4EE00472H, Communication

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Water and energy

We are delighted to share with you the third of a series of collections of recent themed issues, articles and books on the topic of water. Here we have assembled some of the groundbreaking research and transformative reviews related to water and energy – focussing on the relevance of water in dealing with the challenge of energy production and sustainability – from across our journals. Read all these articles for free until 11 May 2014!

We are delighted to share with you a series of collections of recent books, themed issues and articles on the topic of water.  These four collections – one per month – demonstrate different aspects of water: its chemistry, its wide use in reactions and as a solvent, its relationship with energy and sustainability, as well as with human health and the environment.

Image (c) Shutterstock

Here, in our third collection, we have assembled some of the groundbreaking research and transformative reviews related to water and energy – focussing on the relevance of water in dealing with the challenge of energy production and sustainability – from across our journals.

“Water splitting to generate hydrogen fuel remains one the most challenging scientific and technological problems in renewable energy,” comments Professor Michael Wasielewski, Clare Hamilton Hall Professor of Chemistry at Northwestern University, and Executive Director at the Institute for Sustainability and Energy at Northwestern (ISEN).  “This collection of articles highlights a broad array of promising concepts, materials and methods for achieving this goal.”

“This excellent collection of articles highlights more broadly the ongoing interest and high activity around the world in the field of water splitting, solar fuels and the use of water in energy research,” notes Philip Earis, Executive Editor for Energy & Environmental Science, Nanoscale, Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, Green Chemistry, and Catalysis Science & Technology.  “We are delighted to publish impactful science in this important research area across a wide range of Royal Society of Chemistry journals, as the collection nicely illustrates.”

“This year, as the IPCC prepares to release the final contributions to their Fifth Assessment Report on climate change, it is timely to consider the role of chemistry in addressing global challenges, such as food, water, raw materials and energy,” remarks Professor Lesley Yellowlees, President of the Royal Society of Chemistry. “This collection from our journals shares the latest research from scientists around the world, aiming to tackle these challenges. Featuring original research and commentary by leaders in the field, we hope that you will find this high-quality collection engaging, inspirational and informative.”

You can read all of these articles for free until 11 May 2014! We truly hope you enjoy this collection.

We have already published our collections on the Chemistry of water and Chemistry in water.  Next month, watch out for our final collection on water in health and the environment.

Did you know that the RSC has put together a webpage on Water, which brings together information on activities for scientists, policymakers, educators and young people? Take a look today…

Related book and themed issueGA?id=C3CC43203C

This book and themed issue may be of interest – have a look…

Photoelectrochemical Water Splitting
Editors: Hans-Joachim Lewerenz, Laurie Peter
Copyright: 2013
Print ISBN: 978-1-84973-647-3; PDF eISBN: 978-1-84973-773-9; DOI:10.1039/9781849737739

ChemComm themed issue on Electrocatalytic hydrogen evolution


Reviews and PerspectivesGA?id=C2EE03250C

Catalysts made of earth-abundant elements (Co, Ni, Fe) for water splitting: Recent progress and future challenges
Pingwu Du and Richard Eisenberg
Energy Environ. Sci., 2012,5, 6012-6021
DOI: 10.1039/C2EE03250C, Perspective

Plasmonic solar water splitting
Scott C. Warren and Elijah Thimsen
Energy Environ. Sci., 2012,5, 5133-5146
DOI: 10.1039/C1EE02875H, Review Article

Inorganic nanostructures for photoelectrochemical and photocatalytic water splitting
Frank E. Osterloh
Chem. Soc. Rev., 2013,42, 2294-2320
DOI: 10.1039/C2CS35266D, Review Article
From themed collection Solar fuels

Tetrametallic molecular catalysts for photochemical water oxidation
Andrea Sartorel, Marcella Bonchio, Sebastiano Campagna and Franco Scandola
Chem. Soc. Rev., 2013,42, 2262-2280
DOI: 10.1039/C2CS35287G, Review Article
From themed collection Solar fuels

GA?id=C2CS35019JNano-architecture and material designs for water splitting photoelectrodes
Hao Ming Chen, Chih Kai Chen, Ru-Shi Liu, Lei Zhang, Jiujun Zhang and David P. Wilkinson
Chem. Soc. Rev., 2012,41, 5654-5671
DOI: 10.1039/C2CS35019J, Tutorial Review

Design and development of photoanodes for water-splitting dye-sensitized photoelectrochemical cells
John R. Swierk and Thomas E. Mallouk
Chem. Soc. Rev., 2013,42, 2357-2387
DOI: 10.1039/C2CS35246J, Review Article
From themed collection Solar fuels

Carbon nanofluidics of rapid water transport for energy applications
Hyung Gyu Park and Yousung Jung
Chem. Soc. Rev., 2014, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C3CS60253B, Tutorial Review

Polyoxometalate water oxidation catalysts and the production of green fuelGA?id=C2CS35292C
Hongjin Lv, Yurii V. Geletii, Chongchao Zhao, James W. Vickers, Guibo Zhu, Zhen Luo, Jie Song, Tianquan Lian, Djamaladdin G. Musaev and Craig L. Hill
Chem. Soc. Rev., 2012,41, 7572-7589
DOI: 10.1039/C2CS35292C, Critical Review
From themed collection Polyoxometalate cluster science

Comparison of primary oxidants for water-oxidation catalysis
Alexander R. Parent, Robert H. Crabtree and Gary W. Brudvig
Chem. Soc. Rev., 2013,42, 2247-2252
DOI: 10.1039/C2CS35225G, Tutorial Review
From themed collection Solar fuels

Earth-abundant hydrogen evolution electrocatalysts
James R. McKone, Smaranda C. Marinescu, Bruce S. Brunschwig, Jay R. Winkler and Harry B. Gray
Chem. Sci., 2014,5, 865
DOI:10.1039/C3SC51711J, Minireview

Charge carrier trapping, recombination and transfer in hematite (α-Fe2O3) water splitting photoanodes
Monica Barroso, Stephanie R. Pendlebury, Alexander J. Cowan and James R. Durrant
Chem. Sci., 2013,4, 2724-2734
DOI: 10.1039/C3SC50496D, Perspective, Open Access

GA?id=C3TA12453CAdvances in the design of ordered mesoporous materials for low-carbon catalytic hydrogen production
David P. Serrano, Juan M. Coronado, Víctor A. de la Peña O’Shea, Patricia Pizarro and Juan Ángel Botas
J. Mater. Chem. A, 2013,1, 12016-12027
DOI: 10.1039/C3TA12453C, Highlight

Solar hydrogen production with semiconductor metal oxides: new directions in experiment and theory
Álvaro Valdés, Jeremie Brillet, Michael Grätzel, Hildur Gudmundsdóttir, Heine A. Hansen, Hannes Jónsson, Peter Klüpfel, Geert-Jan Kroes, Florian Le Formal, Isabela C. Man, Rafael S. Martins, Jens K. Nørskov, Jan Rossmeisl, Kevin Sivula, Aleksandra Vojvodic and Michael Zäch
Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2012,14, 49-70
DOI: 10.1039/C1CP23212F, Perspective


Original research articles

Photocatalytic water gas shift using visible or simulated solar light for the efficient, room-temperature hydrogen generation
Francesc Sastre, Marica Oteri, Avelino Corma and Hermenegildo García
Energy Environ. Sci., 2013,6, 2211-2215
DOI: 10.1039/C3EE40656C, Paper

Modeling, simulation, and design criteria for photoelectrochemical water-splitting systemsGA?id=C2EE23187E
Sophia Haussener, Chengxiang Xiang, Joshua M. Spurgeon, Shane Ardo, Nathan S. Lewis and Adam Z. Weber
Energy Environ. Sci., 2012,5, 9922-9935
DOI: 10.1039/C2EE23187E, Paper

Electrochemical water splitting by layered and 3D cross-linked manganese oxides: correlating structural motifs and catalytic activity
Arno Bergmann, Ivelina Zaharieva, Holger Dau and Peter Strasser
Energy Environ. Sci., 2013,6, 2745-2755
DOI: 10.1039/C3EE41194J, Paper

A hybrid energy cell for self-powered water splitting
Ya Yang, Hulin Zhang, Zong-Hong Lin, Yan Liu, Jun Chen, Ziyin Lin, Yu Sheng Zhou, Ching Ping Wong and Zhong Lin Wang
Energy Environ. Sci., 2013,6, 2429-2434
DOI: 10.1039/C3EE41485J, Communication

GA?id=C3SC51511GInterrogating the photogenerated Ir(IV) state of a water oxidation catalyst using ultrafast optical and X-ray absorption spectroscopy
Michael T. Vagnini, Michael W. Mara, Michael R. Harpham, Jier Huang, Megan L. Shelby, Lin X. Chen and Michael R. Wasielewski
Chem. Sci., 2013,4, 3863-3873
DOI: 10.1039/C3SC51511G, Edge Article

Photocatalytic oxidation of water by polymeric carbon nitride nanohybrids made of sustainable elements
Jinshui Zhang, Marek Grzelczak, Yidong Hou, Kazuhiko Maeda, Kazunari Domen, Xianzhi Fu, Markus Antonietti and Xinchen Wang
Chem. Sci., 2012,3, 443-446
DOI: 10.1039/C1SC00644D, Edge Article

Photocatalytic generation of hydrogen from water using a cobalt pentapyridine complex in combination with molecular and semiconductor nanowire photosensitizers
Yujie Sun, Jianwei Sun, Jeffrey R. Long, Peidong Yang and Christopher J. Chang
Chem. Sci., 2013,4, 118-124
DOI: 10.1039/C2SC21163G, Edge Article

Cu2O|NiOx nanocomposite as an inexpensive photocathode in photoelectrochemical water splittingGA?id=C2SC20874A
Chia-Yu Lin, Yi-Hsuan Lai, Dirk Mersch and Erwin Reisner
Chem. Sci., 2012,3, 3482-3487
DOI: 10.1039/C2SC20874A, Edge Article

Organic semiconductor for artificial photosynthesis: water splitting into hydrogen by a bioinspired C3N3S3 polymer under visible light irradiation
Zizhong Zhang, Jinlin Long, Lifang Yang, Wenkai Chen, Wenxin Dai, Xianzhi Fu and Xuxu Wang
Chem. Sci., 2011,2, 1826-1830
DOI: 10.1039/C1SC00257K, Edge Article

Passivating surface states on water splitting hematite photoanodes with alumina overlayers
Florian Le Formal, Nicolas Tétreault, Maurin Cornuz, Thomas Moehl, Michael Grätzel and Kevin Sivula
Chem. Sci., 2011,2, 737-743
DOI: 10.1039/C0SC00578A, Edge Article

Cobalt analogs of Ru-based water oxidation catalysts: overcoming thermodynamic instability and kinetic lability to achieve electrocatalytic O2 evolution
Matthew L. Rigsby, Sukanta Mandal, Wonwoo Nam, Lara C. Spencer, Antoni Llobet and Shannon S. Stahl
Chem. Sci., 2012,3, 3058-3062
DOI: 10.1039/C2SC20755A, Edge Article

Mesoporous g-C3N4 nanorods as multifunctional supports of ultrafine metal nanoparticles: hydrogen GA?id=C2SC20289Ageneration from water and reduction of nitrophenol with tandem catalysis in one step
Xin-Hao Li, Xinchen Wang and Markus Antonietti
Chem. Sci., 2012,3, 2170-2174
DOI: 10.1039/C2SC20289A, Edge Article

Photoelectrochemical properties of LaTiO2N electrodes prepared by particle transfer for sunlight-driven water splitting
Tsutomu Minegishi, Naoyuki Nishimura, Jun Kubota and Kazunari Domen
Chem. Sci., 2013,4, 1120-1124
DOI: 10.1039/C2SC21845C, Edge Article

Amorphous molybdenum sulfide films as catalysts for electrochemical hydrogen production in water
Daniel Merki, Stéphane Fierro, Heron Vrubel and Xile Hu
Chem. Sci., 2011,2, 1262-1267
DOI: 10.1039/C1SC00117E, Edge Article

GA?id=C1SC00117E

Electrochemical water splitting by gold: evidence for an oxide decomposition mechanism
Oscar Diaz-Morales, Federico Calle-Vallejo, Casper de Munck and Marc T. M. Koper
Chem. Sci., 2013,4, 2334-2343
DOI: 10.1039/C3SC50301A, Edge Article

A light-assisted, polymeric water oxidation catalyst that selectively oxidizes seawater with a low onset potential
Jun Chen, Pawel Wagner, Lei Tong, Danijel Boskovic, Weimin Zhang, David Officer, Gordon G. Wallace and Gerhard F. Swiegers
Chem. Sci., 2013,4, 2797-2803
DOI: 10.1039/C3SC50812A, Edge Article

GA?id=C2SC21145AUnraveling the existence of dynamic water channels in light-harvesting proteins: alpha-C-phycocyanobilin in vitro
Hossam Elgabarty, Peter Schmieder and Daniel Sebastiani
Chem. Sci., 2013,4, 755-763
DOI: 10.1039/C2SC21145A, Edge Article

Wilkinson’s iridium acetate trimer as a water-oxidation catalyst
Alexander R. Parent, James D. Blakemore, Gary W. Brudvig and Robert H. Crabtree
Chem. Commun., 2011,47, 11745-11747
DOI: 10.1039/C1CC15501F, Communication
From themed collection Artificial Photosynthesis

Template-free synthesis of Ta3N5 nanorod arrays for efficient photoelectrochemical water splitting
Chao Zhen, Lianzhou Wang, Gang Liu, Gao Qing (Max) Lu and Hui-Ming Cheng
Chem. Commun., 2013,49, 3019-3021
DOI: 10.1039/C3CC40760H, Communication

Two-step fabrication of a porous γ-In2Se3 tetragonal photocatalyst for water splitting
Ding Wei, Zhengguo Lin, Zhentao Cui, Shuangyue Su, Dingkun Zhang, Minhua Cao and Changwen Hu
Chem. Commun., 2013,49, 9609-9611
DOI: 10.1039/C3CC45598J, Communication

Quantum confinement controlled photocatalytic water splitting by suspended CdSe nanocrystalsGA?id=C1CC16082F
Michael A. Holmes, Troy K. Townsend and Frank E. Osterloh
Chem. Commun., 2012,48, 371-373
DOI: 10.1039/C1CC16082F, Communication
From themed collection Artificial Photosynthesis

Mechanisms for proton release during water oxidation in the S2 to S3 and S3 to S4 transitions in photosystem II
Per E. M. Siegbahn
Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2012,14, 4849-4856
DOI: 10.1039/C2CP00034B, Paper

Synthesis of WO3@Graphene composite for enhanced photocatalytic oxygen evolution from water
Jingjing Guo, Yao Li, Shenmin Zhu, Zhixin Chen, Qinglei Liu, Di Zhang, Won-Jin Moon and Deok-Min Song
RSC Adv., 2012, 2, 1356-1363
DOI: 10.1039/C1RA00621E

GA?id=C3RA00030CDirect growth of carbon nanotubes on Ni/TiO2 as next generation catalysts for photoreduction of CO2 to methane by water under visible light irradiation
Wee-Jun Ong, Meei Mei Gui, Siang-Piao Chai and Abdul Rahman Mohamed
RSC Adv., 2013, 3, 4505-4509
DOI: 10.1039/C3RA00030C

New spinel oxide catalysts for visible-light-driven water oxidation
Franziska Conrad, Matthias Bauer, Denis Sheptyakov, Stephen Weyeneth, Dominik Jaeger, Kathrin Hametner, Pierre-Emmanuel Car, Jörg Patscheider, Detlef Günther and Greta R. Patzke
RSC Adv., 2012, 2, 3076-3082
DOI: 10.1039/C2RA20169K

Enhanced methane and hydrogen yields from catalytic supercritical water gasification of pine wood sawdust via pre-processing in subcritical water
Jude. A. Onwudili and Paul T. WilliamsGA?id=C3RA41362D
RSC Adv., 2013, 3, 12432-12442
DOI: 10.1039/C3RA41362D

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Power up with body heat

Charlotte Still writes about a HOT EES article in Chemistry World

A thermoelectric generator that converts body heat into electricity could make replacing or recharging batteries in wearable electronics a task of the past.

As the electronics market continues to expand there is a growing need for new ways to charge devices like smart watches and wearable medical sensors. However, conventional organic-based thermoelectric (TE) generators do not produce a high enough power output for use in wearable devices. And previously reported inorganic-based systems tend to use bulky, rigid and heavy ceramic substrates that increase thermal energy loss and limit their power output and energy conversion efficiency. The TE generator developed by Byung Jin Cho and his team at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology uses a glass fabric that is thinner, lighter and more flexible than other devices reported to date.

Interested to know more? Read the full article by Charlotte Still on Chemistry World.

Read the original article in Energy & Environmental Science – it’s free to download until 15th May 2014!

Wearable Thermoelectric Generator Fabricated on Glass Fabric
Sun Jin Kim, Ju Hyung We and Byung Jin Cho
Energy Environ. Sci., 2014, Accepted Manuscript
DOI: 10.1039/C4EE00242C, Paper

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Nanoporous anodes charge up

Jennifer Newton writes about a HOT EES article in Chemistry World

Scientists in China and the US say a new anode material they have created represents a significant step forward in the development of long-life stationary lithium-ion batteries for large-scale energy storage systems.

Lithium-ion batteries are one of the most effective rechargeable batteries thanks to their high energy density and low environmental impact. However, the performance of current lithium-ion batteries, which use graphite as the anode material, cannot satisfy requirements of large-scale systems that could support smart electricity grids linked with renewable sources. Their charging rate is limited because at voltages required for a fast charge, lithium deposition, or plating, occurs, which can result in the battery short circuiting.

Interested to know more? Read the full article by Jennifer Newton on Chemistry World.

Read the original article in Energy & Environmental Science – it’s free to download until May 13th 2014!

A long-life lithium-ion battery with highly porous TiNb2O7 anode for large-scale electrical energy storage
Bingkun Guo, Xiqian Yu, Xiao-Guang Sun, Miaofang Chi, Zhen-An Qiao, Jue Liu, Yong-Sheng Hu, Xiao-Qing Yang, John B Goodenough and Sheng Dai
Energy Environ. Sci., 2014, Accepted Manuscript
DOI: 10.1039/C4EE00508B, Communication

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EES Issue 4 of 2014 out now!

Graphical abstract: Front coverThe latest issue of EES is now online. You can read the full issue here.

The outside front cover features the paper Binary additives synergistically boost the efficiency of all-polymer solar cells up to 3.45% by Pei Cheng, Long Ye, Xingang Zhao, Jianhui Hou, Yongfang Li and Xiaowei Zhan.

Coupling surface plasmon resonance of gold nanoparticles with slow-photon-effect of TiO2 photonic crystals for synergistically enhanced photoelectrochemical water splitting is the paper highlighted on the inside front cover by Xing Zhang, Yang Liu, Shuit-Tong Lee, Shihe Yang and Zhenhui Kang.

Issue 4 contains a number of excellent Editorial, Review, and Perspective articles:

Two stories from the ISACS 12 conference: solar-fuel devices and catalyst identification
Zhuangqun Huang, Chengxiang Xiang, Hans-Joachim Lewerenz and Nathan S. Lewis

Recent progress on nitrogen/carbon structures designed for use in energy and sustainability applications
Kevin N. Wood, Ryan O’Hayre and Svitlana Pylypenko

Energy storage applications of activated carbons: supercapacitors and hydrogen storage
Marta Sevilla and Robert Mokaya Graphical abstract: Inside front cover

Recent advances in multifunctional nanocarbons used in dye-sensitized solar cells
Rubén D. Costa, Fabian Lodermeyer, Rubén Casillas and Dirk M. Guldi

Graphene oxide derivatives as hole- and electron-extraction layers for high-performance polymer solar cells
Jun Liu, Michael Durstock and Liming Dai

Progress in flexible lithium batteries and future prospects
Guangmin Zhou, Feng Li and Hui-Ming Cheng

A perspective on the high-voltage LiMn1.5Ni0.5O4 spinel cathode for lithium-ion batteries
Arumugam Manthiram, Katharine Chemelewski and Eun-Sung Lee

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Carving out a future for biomass conversion to jet fuel

Dannielle Whittaker writes about a HOT EES article in Chemistry World

A pioneering study has proposed a new integrated method for producing aviation fuels from woody feedstock by considering all downstream processing stages and carrying out a detailed economic analysis.

Lignocellulose, a raw material in biomass, can be converted to biofuels and is often considered a long-term alternative to the diminishing supply of fossil fuels. The conversion process involves biomass pretreatment, hydrolysis of constituent carbohydrates and catalytic conversion of platform chemicals. Proposed strategies to convert lignocellulose to aviation fuels have underused components, preventing their commercialisation.

Interested to know more? Read the full article by Dannielle Whittaker on Chemistry World.

Read the original article in Energy & Environmental Science – it’s free to download for the next few weeks!

Production of renewable jet fuel range alkanes and commodity chemicals from integrated catalytic processing of biomass
Jesse Q. Bond, Aniruddha A. Upadhye, Hakan Olcay, Geoffrey A. Tompsett, Jungho Jae, Rong Xing, David Martin Alonso, Dong Wang, Taiying Zhang, Rajeev Kumar, Andrew Foster, S. Murat Sen, Christos T. Maravelias, Robert Malina, Steven R. H. Barrett, Raul Lobo, Charles E. Wyman, James A. Dumesic and George W. Huber
Energy Environ. Sci., 2014,7, 1500-1523
DOI: 10.1039/C3EE43846E, Paper

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Egg-white derived activated carbons display an eggs-tremely high pseudocapacitance in asymmetric supercapacitors

Scientists in Canada have employed a novel template-free approach to prepare so-called Highly Functionalized Activated Carbons (HFACs) derived from common chicken egg-whites. When employed as the anode in an aqueous asymmetric supercapacitor, the materials display a colossal pseudocapacitance of > 550 F g-1, and double the specific energy in comparison to standard activated carbon.

Supercapacitors are energy-storage devices which, unlike batteries, have the phenomenal ability to charge and discharge within a matter of seconds. This makes them useful for high-power applications such as regenerative breaking in electric vehicles, but their low specific energy (energy per unit mass) limits their use in other applications where batteries are preferred.

Conventional supercapacitors typically employ activated carbon (AC) as both the positive and negative electrodes, and are therefore regarded as symmetric. Asymmetric supercapacitors on the other hand often replace the positive electrode with a nanostructured metal oxide – and, in doing so, can show an improved capacitance and energy density.

In their recent paper, David Mitlin and co-workers found that nitrogen-rich Highly Functionalized Activated Carbons (HFACs) – derived from chicken egg-whites – displayed a colossal pseudocapacitance of > 550 F g-1 when employed as an anode in an aqueous asymmetric supercapacitor system, and had double the specific energy in comparison to standard activated carbon.  This performance rivals that of other state-of-the-art carbons, despite the simple template-free approach and abundance and renewable nature of egg-white precursors.

Find out more about their egg-citing work in their full article:

Colossal pseudocapacitance in a high functionality–high surface area carbon anode doubles the energy of an asymmetric supercapacitor
Zhi Li, Zhanwei Xu, Huanlei Wang, Jia Ding, Beniamin Zahiri, Chris M. B. Holt, Xuehai Tanab and David Mitlin
Energy Environ. Sci., 2014, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/c3ee43979h

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This week’s HOT articles

Take a look at this week’s selection! These articles are available free for a limited time: Graphical abstract: Designing the next generation high capacity battery electrodes

Investigating charge dynamics in halide perovskite-sensitized mesostructured solar cells
V. Roiati, S. Colella, G. Lerario, L. De Marco, A. Rizzo, A. Listorti and G. Gigli
DOI: 10.1039/C3EE43991G, Communication

Microfluidic fuel cells on paper: meeting the power needs of next generation lateral flow devices
J. P. Esquivel, F. J. Del Campo, J. L. Gómez de la Fuente, S. Rojas and N. Sabaté
DOI: 10.1039/C3EE44044C, Paper

Designing the next generation high capacity battery electrodes
H.-C. Yu, C. Ling, J. Bhattacharya, J. C. Thomas, K. Thornton and A. Van der Ven
DOI: 10.1039/C3EE43154A, Paper

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