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Special Seminar: Wesley Henderson, U.S. Army Research Office
Friday, October 13, 2017
11:00 a.m.
Chemistry Bldg 0128
For More Information:
Patricia Lorenzana

Speaker: Wesley Henderson, ARO Program Manager, Energy Transport & Storage

Title: Battery Electrolytes: Linking Molecular-Level Interactions to Alkali Metal (Anode) Plating Efficiency


Many "beyond Li-ion" battery electrochemical couples rely on the plating and stripping of Li metal as an anode active material (e.g., Li-air, Li-S, Li-metal oxides, etc.). The majority of publications on such batteries focus on the cathode reactions with little attention devoted to the Li anode. In part, this is because poor performance is the norm for Li metal plating/stripping. In recent years, sodium-based batteries have also received considerable attention. Na-ion batteries (with carbon-based anodes), however, may have a cost which approaches that of Li-ion batteries, but with a significantly reduced energy density. To match or exceed the energy density of Li-ion batteries, the use of a Na metal anode is likely required. This anode, however, has many of the same challenges that plague Li metal. This presentation will therefore explore how and why such poor alkali metal plating/stripping occurs in standard (dilute) electrolytes and why the use of highly concentrated electrolytes enables the efficient cycling of these highly reactive metal electrodes. To fully understand this, however, requires a rigorous exploration of the molecular-level interactions which occur in electrolytes. The first part of the seminar will therefore focus on presenting an electrolyte characterization methodology that enables a detailed understanding of electrolyte 'liquid structure.'


Wesley Henderson received his Ph.D. in Materials Science & Engineering from the University of Minnesota in 2002. He has been a researcher at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBL) and Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), as well as at ENEA (Ente per le Nuove Technologie, l'Energia e l'Ambiente—Casaccia Research Center) in Rome, Italy. He was an Associate Professor in the Department of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering at North Carolina State University before joining Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) as a Senior Research Scientist in 2014. He is now the International Program Manager (in Tokyo) for the Energy Transport & Storage Program for the U.S. Army Research Office (ARO). His research expertise includes the characterization and formulation of advanced electrolytes for energy storage/conversion applications.

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