The Role of Nanostructure in Improving the Performance of Electrodes for Energy Storage and Conversion



The nanostructure is a critical element to improve the performance of electrodes and realize the demanding expectation for a more sustainable and efficient conversion and storage of energy. This microreview analyzes some examples related to advanced electrodes for Li-ion batteries, PEM fuel cells, titania photoanodes and solar cells. The role of a proper nanoarchitecture and hierarchical organization in the electrode, which requires the understanding of the complex physicochemical phenomena occurring at the nanoscale level, is discussed. The need to use cost-effective methods for a robust and scalable preparation is also mentioned. Specific materials and topics discussed are (i) nanostructured carbons (nanotubes and nanofibres, and tube-in-tube materials), (ii) their hybrid nanocomposites with oxides (TiO2, V2O5), (iii) their use as support for noble metal nanoparticles, and (iv) ordered or non-ordered arrays of titania nanotubes and nanorods.(© Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, 69451 Weinheim, Germany, 2009)