Materials Modelling for Energy Harvesting From Conversion to Application through Storage
Abstract: In this Ph.D. thesis, ab initio density functional theory along with molecular dynamics and global optimization methods are used to unveil and understand the structures and properties of energy relevant materials. In this connection, the following applications are considered: i. electrocatalyst for solar fuel production through water splitting, ii. hybrid perovskite solar cell for generation of electrical energy and iii. Battery materials to store the electrical energy. The water splitting mechanism in terms of hydrogen evolution and oxygen evolution reactions (HER and OER) on the catalytic surfaces has been envisaged based on the free energy diagram, named reaction coordinate, of the reaction intermediates. The Ti-functionalized two-dimensional (2D) borophene monolayer has been emerged as a promising material for HER and OER mechanisms as compared to the pristine borophene sheet. Further investigation in the series of this noble metal free monolayer catalyst is 2D Al2C monolayer both in form of pristine and functionalized with nitrogen (N), phosphorous (P), boron (B), and sulphur (S). It has been observed that only B substituted Al2C shows very close to thermoneutral, that could be the most promising candidate for HER on functionalized Al2C monolayer. The adsorption of O' intermediate is stronger in S-substituted Al2C, whereas it is less strongly adsorbed on N-substituted Al2C. The subsequent consideration is being the case of n-type doping (W) along with Ti codoped in BiVO4 to enhance the efficiency of BiVO4 photoanode for water splitting. The determined adsorption energy and corresponding Gibbs free energies depict that the Ti site is energetically more favorable for water splitting. Moreover, the Ti site possesses a lower overpotential in the W–Ti codoped sample as compared to the mono-W doped sample. We have also explored the effect of mixed cation and mixed anion substitution in the hybrid perovskite in terms of structural stability, electronic properties and optical response of hybrid perovskite crystal structures. It has been found that the insertion of bromine (Br) into the system could modulate the stability of the Guanidinium lead iodide (GAPbI3) hybrid perovskite. Moreover, the band gap of the mixed hybrid perovskite is increased with the inclusion of smaller Br anion while replacing partially the larger iodine (I) anion. Finally the electrochemical storage mechanism for Sodium (Na) and lithium (Li) ion insertion has been envisaged in inorganic electrode (eldfellite, NaFe(SO4)2) as well as in more sustainable organic electrode (di-lithium terephthalate, Li2TP). The full desodiation capability of the eldfellite enhances the capacity while the activation energies (higher than 1 eV) for the Na+ ion diffusion for the charged state lower the ionic insertion rate. The key factor as the variation of Li-O coordination in the terephthalate, for the disproportionation redox reaction in Li2TP is also identified.
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