Get access

Biotemplated Materials for Sustainable Energy and Environment: Current Status and Challenges

Authors

  • Dr. Han Zhou,

    1. State Key Lab of Metal Matrix Composites, Shanghai JiaoTong University, Shanghai, 200240 (PR China), Fax: (+86) 21-34202749
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Prof. Tongxiang Fan,

    Corresponding author
    1. State Key Lab of Metal Matrix Composites, Shanghai JiaoTong University, Shanghai, 200240 (PR China), Fax: (+86) 21-34202749
    • State Key Lab of Metal Matrix Composites, Shanghai JiaoTong University, Shanghai, 200240 (PR China), Fax: (+86) 21-34202749
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Prof. Di Zhang

    1. State Key Lab of Metal Matrix Composites, Shanghai JiaoTong University, Shanghai, 200240 (PR China), Fax: (+86) 21-34202749
    Search for more papers by this author

Abstract

Materials science will play a key role in the further development of emerging solutions for the increasing problems of energy and environment. Materials found in nature have many inspiring structures, such as hierarchical organizations, periodic architectures, or nanostructures, that endow them with amazing functions, such as energy harvesting and conversion, antireflection, structural coloration, superhydrophobicity, and biological self-assembly. Biotemplating is an effective strategy to obtain morphology-controllable materials with structural specificity, complexity, and related unique functions. Herein, we highlight the synthesis and application of biotemplated materials for six key areas of energy and environment technologies, namely, photocatalytic hydrogen evolution, CO2 reduction, solar cells, lithium-ion batteries, photocatalytic degradation, and gas/vapor sensing. Although the applications differ from each other, a common fundamental challenge is to realize optimum structures for improved performances. We highlight the role of four typical structures derived from biological systems exploited to optimize properties: hierarchical (porous) structures, periodic (porous) structures, hollow structures, and nanostructures. We also provide examples of using biogenic elements (e.g., C, Si, N, I, P, S) for the creation of active materials. Finally, we disscuss the challenges of achieving the desired performance for large-scale commercial applications and provide some useful prototypes from nature for the biomimetic design of new materials or systems. The emphasis is mainly focused on the structural effects and compositional utilization of biotemplated materials.

Get access to the full text of this article

Ancillary