Sustainable Energy & Environmental Materials Lab (SEEM Lab)

Rai’s Research Group

Exploring new materials and communicating its science to optimize the applications

Welcome to Dr.Dhirendra Kumar Rai’s Sustainable Energy & Environmental Materials (SEEM) Lab at Indian Institute of Technology Indore, India. Our research group focused on the design and development of functional hybrid materials with hierarchical nanostructures for (i) Environmental remediation and (ii) Energy materials and applications. Our central theme is finding and understanding the new novel nanomaterials through synthesis, characterization, and computational modeling, and simulation of these materials for Dye degradation, CO2 Capture and conversion(Chemical and electrochemical), and supercapacitor applications.


Energy materials

The increasing global demand for energy conversion and storage devices makes the atmosphere clean and safe. Our interest is to prepare various novel structured materials (metal oxides, different MXenes, metal sulfides, MOF-based materials, and conducting polymers) and understanding its structure-property relationship spans to work on energy materials (electrode materials) for energy conversion and storage devices. We are aimed to prepare numerous nanostructured materials by using several bottom-up and top-down methodologies and the investigation of its electrochemical properties through advanced characterization tools and also the study of device fabrication.


Environmental Remediation Applications

Capacitive deionization

Increased population and industrialization accelerate the demand for fresh and clean water, around 40% of the world population faces a severe water crisis. Desalination is the process where the seawater is converted into drinkable water by applying a constant voltage. During the desalination, both cations and anions will be adsorbed on the charged electrodes based on their opposite polarity. As a result, clean water can be produced. So, we are preparing low-cost and binder-free electrodes for the CDI practical applications for effective clean water production.

CO2 adsorption and conversion (Chemical and electrochemical)

Increasing usage of fossil fuels leads to global climate change (Global Warming). The development of new materials and processes to mitigate CO2 is a key role to keep the environment safe. Recently, materials that are showing the synergistic effect of both the organic and inorganic functionalities considered as the most significant material towards CO2 capture due to their enhanced properties. Our aim is to prepare hybrid materials that can be useful for industries and their CO2 intake performance can be measured by thermogravimetric and volumetric gas adsorption experiments.

CO2 chemical fixation and electroreduction

CO2 utilization and its conversion (chemically or electrochemically) into value-added synthons is the alternative and economical way for reducing CO2 level in the atmosphere. In our group, we are investigating various metal oxides, MOF-based catalysts, and MXenes for CO2 fixation and electroreduction of CO2.

Dye degradation and electrochemical sensing of heavy metal ions

Increasing globalization and population lead to various environmental problems. Dye is the primary material to impart color in the cloths in the textile industry. The enormous amount of dye coming from industries as a waste leads to severe problems in the eco-systems.  We are synthesizing new hybrid nanomaterials through bottom-up approaches for decolorization of dyes via adsorption or through weak bonding interactions between the dye and adsorbent.



Computational Modelling and Simulation

To find new material for potential problems in the various research applications (dye degradation, CO2 capture, energy materials, and H2 evolution), modeling and simulation of material play a key role to find the best solutions and deeper understanding of various properties from different materials.

Research Grants

Ongoing Projects

  1. Sustainable Design and Fabrication of Sodium-Ion Hybrid Supercapacitors using Engineered Polyanionic Compounds (PI, Ongoing: 2023-2025)                                                                                                                                   Funding Agency: Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB)-CRG scheme, India
  2. Development of Hybrid Sodium-Ion Capacitors by Compositing Agricultural Waste Derived Carbon with doped-NASICON Materials (PI, Ongoing: 2023-2024)                                                                                                         Funding Agency: Indian Institute of Technology Indore-CRDT scheme, India
  3. Metallurgy, Microstructure Study and Material Selection for Leaf Springs Durability Enhancement (Co-PI, Consultancy Project)                                                                                                                                                                   Funding Agency: Volvo-Eicher Commercial Vehicle Ltd, India


Completed Projects

  1. Development of Prussian blue analogs (HCF) and MXene(V2CTx) electrodes for aqueous zinc and ammonium ion batteries (PI, Completed: 2022-2023)                                                                                                        Funding Agency: Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB)-OVDF scheme, India
  2. Synthesis of the metal nanoparticles functionalized with thiolate chelated metal carbonyl clusters and their application as heterogeneous biomimetic hydrogenases (PI, Completed: 2015-2018)                                Funding Agency: Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB)-YSS scheme, India