Sustainable Manufacturing: Greener Materials and Methods for Li-ion Battery Recycling, Supercapacitors, and Smart Windows
Tran, Mai Kim
Ajayan, Pulickel M
Doctor of Philosophy
Our Common Future, otherwise known as the Brundtland Report, was published by the United Nations and the World Commission on Environment and Development in 1987; it defined sustainable development as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” This thesis focuses on three separate efforts aligned by a common theme to promote sustainable manufacturing practices by employing greener materials and methods within the energy context: (1) recycling Li-ion batteries using environmentally-friendly deep eutectic solvents, (2) developing supercapacitors using asphaltene oil waste, and (3) synthesizing VO2 nanoparticles for thermochromic smart windows using scalable continuous flow hydrothermal systems. In all of these spaces, the challenge of optimizing technical performance while balancing commercial viability is discussed and reframed to show that green materials and methods in engineering can, not only work, but add value to a world increasingly conscious of a need to find cleaner ways to do dirty chemistry.