Materials for Renewable Energy  
Hydrogen and Hydrides
Structure and Dynamics
Stability and Kinetics
Electrochemistry
Theoretical Modelling
Instruments
Spectroscopy

Nano structures and Electrochemistry
Detailed knowledge of the factors that dertermine the rate of electron transfer at electrode leads to a better understanding of fuels cells, batteries and similar electronic devices.
Ambient conditions electrolysis test cell

Projects

  • Synthesis of single and multiwall carbon nanotubes (CNT) on metaloxid clusters.
  • Characterisation of nanostructures e.g. carbon nanotubes and metal clusters, by means of X-ray and neutron diffraction.
  • Electrocatalysis by controlled surface nano-structuring.
  • Electrochemical investigation and modeling of oxygen and hydrogen electrodes.
  • New Membranes for alkaline electrolysers (CTI Project)

 

The classical and environmentally clean production method of hydrogen is the electrolysis of water. Water electrolysis is a simple and efficient (80%) way to produce hydrogen. About 1.6 millon tons per year of world hydrogen production is produced by means of water electrolysis. Briefly, an electric potential is applied to two electrodes, and from one electrode (cathode) hydrogen gas evolves and at the other (anode) oxygen gas is formed. To avoid re-mixture of the gases a membrane is placed between the two electrodes. The focus of the project is the study and development of current and new membranes intergrated in the electrolysis cell with the aim at replacing membranes made from asbestos. The use of asbestos was recently forbidden due to health concerns. The new membrane material needs to be impermeable for O2 and H2, but permeable for ions, and stable in 30% KOH at 90°C and 32 bars, flexible, robust and affordable. Experimental testing set up includes in-situ impedance spectroscopy and voltage measurments, hydrogen and oxygen flow and purity monitoring. An ambient conditions test cell is shown in the figure. Current and to be developed membranes are studied before and after experiment by means of electron microscopy, X-ray diffraction, and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy to determine chemical, structural and surface properties of the membranes.

New papers

contact:

Dr. Philipp Mauron, philipp.mauron@empa.ch

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