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Solomon Tolulope Oyakhire
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Ph.D. Student

Solomon Oyakhire

Ph.D. Student in Chemical Engineering, admitted Autumn 2018
Masters Student in Chemical Engineering, admitted Spring 2021
Solomon Oyakhire is a PhD candidate in the department of chemical engineering. He received his BSc in chemical engineering at the University of Lagos in Nigeria before starting his PhD in chemical engineering as a Knight-Hennessy scholar. He is primarily interested in the scientific and economic facets required for accelerating the deployment of renewable energy technologies. Prior to Stanford, he carried out research on phase change materials applied in solar thermal heating systems at the University of Lagos and worked as a technology consultant at KPMG. By operating with frameworks that he gathered from research and consulting environs, he is currently working on developing high energy density batteries with practical applications in the grid and electric vehicles.

TomKat Graduate Fellow for Translational Research

Research Advisors: Prof. Stacey Bent, Chemical Engineering, and Prof. Yi Cui, Materials Science Engineering

Year Awarded: 2021

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Regulating the Electrodeposition of Lithium for Stable High Energy Density Batteries 

For humanity to successfully transition from fossil fuels, the mismatch in the demand and supply of renewable energy must be addressed using reliable high energy storage systems. One promising energy storage system is the lithium metal battery (LMB), owing to the high gravimetric capacity of lithium (3860 mAh/g). The potential gain in volumetric and gravimetric energy density offered by LMBs could usurp today’s lithium-ion battery technology and revolutionize energy storage. However, the lifetime of LMBs is hindered by morphological instabilities experienced during the electrodeposition of lithium. 

Some of the most common strategies for addressing the instability of LMBs focus on the lithium-electrolyte interface. While there has been significant progress in the advancement of LMBs using strategies that focus on the lithium-electrolyte interface, they remain insufficient for LMB commercialization because they do not address the instabilities associated with another important interface in the battery, the lithium-current collector interface. The growth of lithium on the current collector is strongly connected to the resulting morphology of lithium, the electrolyte contact area of lithium, and the long-term performance of an LMB. As such, it is very important to design current collectors that support stable electrodeposition of lithium and enable high performing LMBs. 

To control the electrodeposition of lithium metal, we introduce a novel architecture in which thin films are situated between lithium and the current collector. Our films are purposely designed to possess specific chemical and electrical properties using a technique known as atomic layer deposition (ALD). By depositing conformal and reproducible films at the lithium-current collector interface using ALD, we have identified the most critical chemical and electrical properties required for stable lithium electrodeposition. Using those properties, we have assembled practical LMBs batteries with record efficiencies and electrochemical stability. We have also demonstrated that our concept is not electrolyte-dependent, further expanding our range of applications to cheaper electrolytes. 

In the grand scheme, this research project contributes to the advancement of LMBs, an energy storage system with the potential to provide twice the energy density of lithium-ion batteries. Practically, this implies that we could double the driving range of electric vehicles on one full battery charge. In addition, our architecture could be extended to other equally promising alkali metal batteries like Na and Zn metal batteries to further enable humanity’s transition from fossil fuels.