I'm just curious about this topic, as most portable, "clean" energy sources or carriers (in the sense of not being a primary energy source -fuel cell hydrogen, for example) are in essence electrochemical reactors, and most of the current work in the field is aimed at reducing irreversible losses at the electrodes, be it because of discharge overpotential, or polarization because of mass transfer along the membrane electrolyte; and of course, in making this structural elements cheaper.
Also, a lot of proposed and existing waste treatment and recycling processes aimed at recovering rare and/or active metals (such as lithium from Li-ion batteries) involve at least one electrochemical unit op.
I wonder if nanotechnological advances, such as increasing the surface area of electrode materials or increasing the effecive diffusivity of relevant species in solid porous electrolytes, can reduce this irreversibilities, perhaps making use of cheaper raw materials than noble metals (i.e. platinum). I would also appreciate any references to current work in this applied field.