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Nanomaterials for Green Energy

Overview

The climate crisis and the pressing need to reduce anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions underline the need for renewable energy technology including catalytic and electrochemical conversion and storage devices such as fuel cells or water electrolysers for hydrogen production. Such devices are strongly dependent on novel nanomaterials. For example, a major obstacle that currently limits the performance of technologically important proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cells is the sluggish oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) at fuel cell cathodes. Novel Pt-Ni alloy nanoparticles with octahedral shape are regarded as outstanding catalysts for the ORR. The atomic-scale elemental distribution of the Pt-alloy catalyst nanoparticles is of decisive importance for their activity and stability and requires atomic-scale structural and compositional analysis

The Nanomaterials for Green Energy group focuses on the study of catalyst nanoparticles and nanomaterials for energy storage and conversion processes. The main objective is to understand the relationship between the atomic-scale microstructure and the electrochemical performance of nanoparticle catalysts and nanomaterials for a rational design of more advanced active and stable nanomaterials. High-resolution analytical in-situ electron microscopy helps us to understand such materials under realistic working conditions. We are currently working on nanomaterials for fuel cell applications, hydrogen production, CO2 conversion, methanol steam reforming, and dry reforming of methane.

Fuel cell technology is of great importance for future energy conversion and storage applications. However, a major obstacle that currently limits the performance of technologically important proton exchange membrane fuel cells is the sluggish oxygen reduction reaction at fuel cell cathodes. Furthermore, CO2 reduction, methane dry reforming, and methanol steam reforming are important reactions for a potential future Green Energy infrastructure. These technologies require novel active and stable nanoparticles catalysts and other nanomaterials. Our goal is to understand the relationship between the atomic-scale microstructure and performance of fuel cell catalysts and other nanomaterials for energy conversion and storage under realistic operation conditions for a rational design of more advanced materials.

Additional Information

Nanomaterials for Green Energy


Dr. Marc Heggen

Permanent Scientific Staff at ER-C-1

Working Group “Nanomaterials for Green Energy”

Phone: +49 2461 61-9479
E-mail: m.heggen@fz-juelich.de

Ernst Ruska-Centre (ER-C-1) / Build. 05.2
Ernst Ruska-Centre for Microscopy and Spectroscopy with Electrons
Physics of Nanoscale Systems (ER-C-1)
Leo-Brandt-Str.  1
52428 Jülich
Germany