Materials for suspension (semi-solid) electrodes for energy and water technologies
Suspension or semi-solid electrodes have recently gained increased attention for large-scale applications such as grid energy storage, capacitive water deionization, and wastewater treatment. A suspension electrode is a multiphase material system comprised of an active (charge storing) material suspended in ionic solution (electrolyte). Gravimetrically, the electrolyte is the majority component and aids in physical transport of the active material. This principle enables, for the first time, scalability of electrochemical energy storage devices (supercapacitors and batteries) previously limited to small and medium scale applications. This critical review describes the ongoing material challenges encompassing suspension-based systems. The research described here combines classical aspects of electrochemistry, colloidal science, material science, fluid mechanics, and rheology to describe ion and charge percolation, adsorption of ions, and redox charge storage processes in suspension electrodes. This review summarizes the growing inventory of material systems, methods and practices used to characterize suspension electrodes, and describes universal material system properties (rheological, electrical, and electrochemical) that are pivotal in the design of high performing systems. A discussion of the primary challenges and future research directions is included.