(4dc) Polymers for Advanced Energy Technologies | AIChE

(4dc) Polymers for Advanced Energy Technologies


Hallinan, D. T. Jr. - Presenter, University of California, Berkeley

Polymers are poised to fulfill crucial needs in advanced energy technologies. My expertise in the applied fields of fuels cells and lithium batteries, as well as my fundamental knowledge of transport in polymers and block copolymer synthesis and characterization, place me in a position to be at the forefront of research in polymers for advanced energy applications.

I attended Lafayette College, where I obtained degrees in Chemical Engineering and Philosophy. I conducted doctoral work at Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA, under the tutelage of Prof. Yossef Elabd. I am currently a post-doctoral fellow at the University of California, Berkeley, with Prof. Nitash Balsara.

My doctoral work focused on the diffusion of water and methanol in polymer electrolyte membranes (PEMs) for fuel cells. I identified and modeled two different non-Fickian water diffusion regimes in PEMs that occur at critical hydrogen fuel cell conditions (extremely dry or fully saturated). I demonstrated that a better PEM for methanol fuel cells requires reduced methanol sorption as opposed to slower methanol diffusion within the PEM. My post-doctoral research pertains to lithium-air batteries, an advanced battery chemistry with potential to overcome the theoretical limits of lithium ion batteries. I use block copolymer electrolytes as a safe alternative to the flammable, reactive liquids used in existing battery electrolytes. Ionic conductivity and mechanical strength, which are important properties in polymer electrolytes, can be independently controlled with block copolymers. I have demonstrated the first instance, to my knowledge, of an all solid state rechargeable lithium-air battery.