University of Sussex
Fang, Yuanxing.pdf (7.17 MB)

Development of low dimensional nanostructured materials for green energy harvesting

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posted on 2023-06-09, 04:38 authored by Yuanxing Fang
The decreasing availability of fossil fuels and their negative environmental impacts requires urgent need of developing renewable energy. The main objective of this research was to develop low-dimensional nanomaterials for harvesting solar and mechanical energy with high conversion efficiency. In particular, photoelectrochemical water splitting and photovoltaic cell applications driven by sunlight were investigated in this project. A highly efficient triboelectric nanogenerator was investigated for harvesting mechanical energy. The device was further integrated with an organic solar cell for harvesting both mechanical energy and solar energy. My research work started with the synthesis of nanostructured materials. Electrospinning, as well as electrospray, was developed to synthesise nanofibres and hollow hemispheres. The influences of processing parameters to the morphologies and structures of the nanomaterials were systematically investigated. An electrophoretic deposition method was also developed to form good-quality nanostructured metal oxide thin films, which were applied in photoelectrochemical water splitting. The metal oxide hollow hemisphere thin films were also applied in dye-sensitised solar cells. A transparent and flexible triboelectric nanogenerator was developed in order to harvest mechanical energy. The contact electrodes were created using metal nanowire percolation networks embedded in a polymer matrix. The correlation between the energy conversion performances and optical property of the triboelectric electrodes were comprehensively studied as a function of the areal fraction of the metal nanowires. A flexible hybrid cell, integrating the solar cell with the triboelectric device, was designed by constructing an organic solar cell under a single-electrode triboelectric nanogenerator. The hybrid cell could convert both solar and mechanical energies into electricity independently and simultaneously. Such devices are potentially able to supply electricity day and night. Nanomaterials offer novel approaches for enhancing the efficiency of harvesting solar and mechanical energy in a hybrid device.


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University of Sussex

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