On the electrochemical performance of energy storage devices composed of cellulose and conducting polymers
Sammanfattning: Applications that require electrical energy storage are becoming increasingly diverse. This development is caused by a number of factors, such as an increasing global energy demand, the advent of electric vehicles, the utilization of intermittent renewable energy sources, and advances in disposable and organic electronics. These applications will set different demands on their electrical energy storage and, thus, there will be no single technology used for all applications. For some applications the choice of energy storage materials will be extremely important. Conventional batteries and supercapacitors rely on the use of nonrenewable inorganic materials mined from depleting ores, hence, requiring large amounts of energy for their processing. Such materials also add a significant cost to the final product, making them less attractive for large scale applications. Conducting polymers, on the other hand, constitute a class of materials that can be used for organic matter based energy storage devices.The aim of this thesis was to investigate the use of a composite consisting of the conducting polymer polypyrrole (PPy) and cellulose derived from Cladophora sp. algae for electrical energy storage. The polymer was coated onto the cellulose fibers by chemical polymerization resulting in a flexible material with high surface area. By using this composite as electrodes, electrochemical cells consisting of disposable and non-toxic materials can be assembled and used as energy storage devices. The resistances of these prototype cells were found to be dominated by the resistance of the current collectors and to scale with the thickness of the separator, and can hence be reduced by cell design. By addition of nanostructured PPy, the weight ratio of PPy in the composite could be increased, and the cell voltages could be enhanced by using a carbonized negative electrode. Composites of cellulose and poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) could also be synthesized and used as electrode materials. The porosities of the electrodes were controlled by mechanical compression of the composite or by coating of surface modified cellulose fibers with additional PPy. Finally, the self-discharge was studied extensively. It was found that oxygen was responsible for the oxidation of the negative electrode, while the rate of self-discharge of the positive electrode increases with increasing potential. Through measurements of the charge prior to and after self-discharge, as well as with an electrochemical quartz crystal microbalance, it was found that the self-discharge of the positive electrode was linked to an exchange of the counter ions by hydroxide ions. It is also demonstrated that the self-discharge rate of a symmetric PPy based device can be decreased dramatically by proper balancing of the electrode capacities and by reducing the oxygen concentration. The results of this work are expected to contribute towards future industrial implementation of electric energy storage devices based on organic materials.
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