Invited Symposium: Nature-Inspired Electrochemical Systems

Coppens, M. O., University College London
Trogadas, P., University College London
Ramani, V., Washington University in St. Louis

Nature can be an excellent guide to design solutions to outstanding problems in engineering, including fuel cells, batteries and other electrochemical systems, from the nano-scale of the catalyst to the macro-scale of the device. There are many examples of hierarchical structures that are intrinsically scaling, remarkably efficient and robust. Trees, the vascular and the respiratory network integrate optimised transport, catalytic reactions and separation processes. Enzymatic catalytic processes can be highly selective. These observations, however, should not reduce to mindless imitation: the biological example needs to be properly chosen, and the different context of technological applications should be accounted for. We call this fundamental, mechanistic approach “nature-inspired chemical engineering” (NICE), as opposed to more narrow biomimetic approaches that imitate isolated features of biological structures, which leads to sub-optimal results. This session solicits submissions on nature-inspired nano- and hierarchical materials (electrocatalysts, membranes, etc.), flow fields, devices (fuel cells, batteries, etc.), operation or control systems. Experimental, theoretical and computational work are welcomed.



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