Unexpected Energy Applications of Ionic Liquids

Karolina Matuszek, Samantha L. Piper, Alina Brzęczek-Szafran, Binayak Roy, Saliha Saher, Jennifer M. Pringle, Douglas R. MacFarlane

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review


Ionic liquids and their various analogues are without doubt the scientific sensation of the last few decades, paving the way to a more sustainable society. Their versatile suite of properties, originating from an almost inconceivably large number of possible cation and anion combinations, allows tuning of the structure to serve a desired purpose. Ionic liquids hence offer a myriad of useful applications from solvents to catalysts, through to lubricants, gas absorbers, and azeotrope breakers. The purpose of this review is to explore the more unexpected of these applications, particularly in the energy space. It guides the reader through the application of ionic liquids and their analogues as i) phase change materials for thermal energy storage, ii) organic ionic plastic crystals, which have been studied as battery electrolytes and in gas separation, iii) key components in the nitrogen reduction reaction for sustainable ammonia generation, iv) as electrolytes in aluminum-ion batteries, and v) in other emerging technologies. It is concluded that there is tremendous scope for further optimizing and tuning of the ionic liquid in its task, subject to sustainability imperatives in line with current global priorities, assisted by artificial intelligence.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2313023
Number of pages26
JournalAdvanced Materials
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2024


  • aluminum batteries
  • deep eutectic solvents
  • energy storage
  • ionic liquids
  • nitrogen reduction reaction
  • organic ionic plastic crystals
  • phase change materials

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