The University of Massachusetts Amherst
University of Massachusetts Amherst

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MIE Seminar Series: "Nature-derived Multifunctional Materials and High-Performance Energy Storage"


Friday, October 11, 2019 - 12:00pm


Professor Hongli Zhu, Northeastern University


Gunness Student Center, Marcus Hall


Abstract: Sustainable energy storage and functionalized natural materials play essential roles in our everyday life. Using sustainable natural materials to develop multifunctional materials and advanced device for future technologies may reduce our dependence on petroleum and enable implantable device. Based on our research interests and expertise in manufacturing, materials from nature, energy storage, and paper electronics, our research goal is to explore sustainable energy storage and nature-enabled multifunctional materials. Meanwhile, we are interested in applying the well-developed and high-speed roll-to-roll paper manufacturing, coating, printing techniques to the emerging advanced manufacturing process.

In the first part of this talk, I will introduce multifunctional materials derived from Nature for flexible electronics, functional aerogel, liquid marble, magnetic strips etc. Nanocellulose are steadily gaining research and commercial interest due to its feature of lightweight, cost efficient, renewable, and biocompatible. Nanopaper made from cellulose nanofiber possesses interesting optical property, mechanical strength, and flexibility enabling many types of printing electronics that were not previously possible using regular paper or plastic substrates. Additionally, the transition from rigid glass to flexible paper substrates enables the creation of flexible, transparent devices that can be produced quickly using established roll-to-roll manufacturing methods. 

The rapid growth of renewable energy sources such as wind and solar energy can supply a significant amount of electricity all over the world, but their inherent intermittency and fluctuating nature is one of the essential barriers to utilize this enormous amount of electricity available from renewable sources. This intermittent nature of renewable sources led to an emerging need for efficient, cost-effective, and sustainable grid storage technologies. Meanwhile, with the demanding of EVs, it is urgent to develop safe and high-performance energy storage. In the second part of this talk, I will introduce our works on flow batteries, all-solid-state batteries, and metallic lithium metal anode.

Bio  Hongli (Julie) Zhu is currently an assistant professor at Northeastern University. Her group focuses on the research of electrochemical energy storage, biomass-derived multifunctional materials, and emerging advanced manufacturing technologies. From 2012-2015, She works in the University of Maryland as postdoc, focusing on the research of flexible nanopaper electronics and energy storage. From 2009 to 2011, She conducted research on materials science and processing of biodegradable and renewable biomaterials from natural wood in the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden. Her expertise is on the research of environmentally friendly natural materials and energy storage, design and application of novel transparent nanostructured paper for flexible electronics, and R2R manufacturing. In energy storage, her group in Northeastern University works intensively on flow batteries, all-solid-state batteries, and alkali metal ion batteries, such as Li+, Na+, K+ batteries.