Energy Conversion and Storage
In this chapter some of the most innovative and creative approaches reported so far for the use of bioinspired inorganic materials in the area of energy-related applications are highlighted. Bioinspiration, as it pertains to inorganic materials for energy conversion and storage applications, has been grouped into two categories: (1) bioinspired synthesis/approach and (2) bioinspired design/functionality. Focusing on the commercialised and most commonly used methods to either convert or store energy, this chapter is structured into sections on photovoltaics (Section 3.2), thermal energy storage systems and phase change materials (Section 3.3), batteries (Section 3.4) and supercapacitors (Section 3.5). Each section first describes examples of bioinspired syntheses of functional inorganic materials relevant to the specific topic, or the fabrication of devices that contain active inorganic or hybrid materials that were prepared employing a bioinspired synthesis method. Subsequently, each section gives examples for each energy storage or conversion system of novel device designs translated from biology. The overarching aim of this chapter is to showcase the progress as well as the opportunities for how bioinspiration can contribute to, or even help to overcome, existing challenges regarding approaches to energy conversion and storage.