Our Research Interest
Efficient energy storage and conversion technologies are essential to realize a sustainable society. From the viewpoint of materials science, our laboratory is conducting research and development of innovative rechargeable batteries and highly efficient electrochemical processes. Our goal is to contribute to the realization of a truly affluent society and to knowledge by exploring the essence behind phenomena.
Innovative battery technologies
Batteries can be constructed using at least two substances with different redox potentials and one type of ionic conductor (electrolyte), and the combinations are countless. Then, why is a limited kind of batteries practically used? We must consider the working voltage, energy density, power density, durability during charge and discharge, cyclability, and of course, cost for the practical use. Li-ion battery is doubtlessly one of the most powerful and useful batteries from the above viewpoint. For the diverseness of battery technologies and improvement of battery performances, we study innovative battery technologies such as batteries using carrier ions other than Li+ ions.
The oxygen evolution reaction (OER: 4OH⁻ → O₂ + 2H₂O + 4e⁻) is an essential electrochemical reaction for energy conversion devices such as rechargeable metal-air batteries, water electrolysis for hydrogen production, and industrially important electrolytic smelting. However, OER is a complex reaction with a large overvoltage, and highly active and stable catalysts are required to prevent energy loss. We are developing highly active and stable electrochemical catalysts by elucidating the principles of catalytic activity. To realize various energy and material conversion devices, we are exploring highly active electrochemical catalysts not only for OER but also for hydrogen evolution, methanol reduction, glucose oxidation, and CO₂ reduction reactions.
Anti-corrosion and surface treatment technologies
To conserve resources and energy, and to realize a sustainable society, the key is how to extend the durability and lifespan of various materials, devices, and structures. Corrosion, in particular, can cause significant loss of durability and lifespan. We are researching anti-corrosion and surface treatment technologies in order to prolong the use of existing products or to add new value to them.