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Innovative Polymers for Energy Storage

Final Report Summary - IPES (Innovative Polymers for Energy Storage)

iPes aimed at bringing polymer chemistry to the next level opening up new opportunities for Energy Storage Research. The main objective of iPes is to develop innovative polymers for energy storage which surpass the performance of current state-of-the-art materials in batteries. Whereas the theoretical energy storage capacity of some polymers presented already excellent values, this fact has not been translated into real battery electrode materials due to self-discharging, cyclability or stability problems. iPes is proposing new polymer architectures for mastering the interphases between the different functional blocks of a polymer battery solving the performance and stability limitations. These polymers are contributing to improve the security of actual batteries present in mobile phones and the electric vehicle.

The project technical activities involved the synthesis of innovative polymer electrode materials, macromolecular architectures, characterization and modelling of their self-assembling and electronic properties and their application in battery prototypes. iPES generated a great number of promising energetic polymers for batteries and supercapacitors such as a new generation of semi-conducting PEDOT materials having new ionic groups and stable radicals. The initial performance of these polymers is making them excellent candidates as redox active binders for lithium batteries. Other examples have included the development of new energetic polymers including chemicals coming from renewable sources such as lignin, sulfur copolymers and polyimide block copolymers which show excellent performance as cathodes in lithium ion and lithium metal batteries. On the other hand, the project is producing a good number of polymers that can be used as polymer electrolytes such as poly(ionic liquid)s and iongels. These materials have demonstrated excellent perforance in post-lithium ion battery technologies such as sodium, rechargable zinc and metal-air batteries.

Besides the use of polymers in energy storage, the project is indirectly supporting the application of innovative polymers in other areas. Thus, several promising application of the developped polymers were identified through a good number of collaborators such as gas membranes, self-healing materials, organic transistors, light-emitting cells or bioelectronics devices. All in all, the final aim of iPes was to provide adequate support to Dr. David Mecerreyes who was at the stage of consolidating an independent research team.iPES produced scientific knowledge and an important number of scientific results and publications which helped in a decisive manner to consolidate the research lines of the group. As an illustrative example, at the beginning of the project his group counted 5 and nowadays the already consolidated group of a size of 25 researchers and a solid and excellent scientific production.