How Super are Superoxide Batteries?

Yiying Wu

Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio 43210, USA

Abstract: Oxygen reduction and evolution are crucial processes in energy conversion and storage. For example, Li–O2 battery is regarded as a promising energy storage system for future applications. However, its energy efficiency is greatly undermined by the large overpotentials of the discharge (formation of Li2O2) and charge (oxidation of Li2O2) reactions. The traditional strategy of using catalysts increases cost and complexity of the system. Here, I will present our systematic investigation of a K–O2 battery that uses K+ ions to capture superoxide (O2-) to form the thermodynamically stable KO2 product. This allows for the battery to operate through the facile one-electron redox process of O2/ O2-. Without the use of catalysts, the battery shows a low discharge/charge potential gap of less than 50 mV at a modest current density. This invention has elegantly solved the kinetic challenge in oxygen reduction/evolution without using any catalysts. The main challenge in a K–O2 battery is the side reactions at the K metal electrode. Therefore, strategies in enhancing its stability will also be discussed. The progress in reversible dendrite-free K plating and stripping is of general interest to the emerging potassium secondary batteries.

Biography: Yiying Wu received his B.S. in chemical physics from the University of Science and Technology of China in 1998, and his Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of California at Berkeley in 2003 with Prof. Peidong Yang. He then did his postdoctoral research with Prof. Galen D. Stucky at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and joined the chemistry faculty at The Ohio State University in the summer of 2005. He was promoted to associate professor with tenure in 2011 and to full professor in 2014. Since 2017, he holds the Leet Chair. He has been serving as an associate editor for ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces since 2013. His group focuses on materials chemistry for energy conversion and storage. He is the inventor of the one-electron K-O2 battery and pioneered solar batteries that integrate solar harvesting with energy storage. He received Cottrell Scholar Award in 2008, NSF CAREER Award in 2010, CAPA Biomatik Distinguished Faculty Award in 2014, and Midwest Energy News “40 under 40” in 2015. His invention of K-air battery received DOE Clean Energy Prize in 2014.