Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems

Dresden, Germany

Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems

Dresden, Germany

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A paper from cfaed's Chair for Molecular Functional Materials co-authored by researchers at universities and institutes in Germany, France and Japan has been published in Nature Communications on 17th May 2017. The paper titled "Efficient hydrogen production on MoNi4 electrocatalysts with fast water dissociation kinetics" describes a new approach to revolutionize the production of molecular hydrogen. This gas is considered to be one of the most promising energy carriers of the future. Growing concern about the energy crisis and the seriousness of environmental contamination urgently demand the development of renewable energy sources as feasible alternatives to diminishing fossil fuels. Owing to its high energy density and environmentally friendly characteristics, molecular hydrogen is an attractive and promising energy carrier to meet future global energy demands. In many of the approaches for hydrogen production, the electrocatalytic hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) from water splitting is the most economical and effective route for the future hydrogen economy. To accelerate the sluggish HER kinetics, particularly in alkaline electrolytes, highly active and durable electrocatalysts are essential to lower the kinetic HER overpotential. As a benchmark HER electrocatalyst with a zero HER overpotential, the precious metal platinum (Pt) plays a dominant role in present H2-production technologies, such as water-alkali electrolysers. Unfortunately, the scarcity and high cost of Pt seriously impede its large-scale applications in electrocatalytic HERs. Prof. Xinliang Feng's team from the Technische Universität Dresden (Germany)/ Center for Advancing Electronics Dresden (cfaed), in collaboration with the University Lyon, ENS de Lyon, Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS, France), the Tohoku University (Japan) and the Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems (IKTS) (Germany), have reported a low-cost MoNi4 electrocatalyst anchored on MoO2 cuboids, which are vertically aligned on nickel foam (MoNi4/MoO2@Ni). MoNi4 nanoparticles are constructed in situ on the MoO2 cuboids by controlling the outward diffusion of Ni atoms. The resultant MoNi4/MoO2@Ni exhibits a high HER activity that is highly comparable to that of the Pt catalyst and presents state-of-the-art HER activity amongst all reported Pt-free electrocatalysts. Experimental investigations reveal that the MoNi4 electrocatalyst behaves as the highly active centre and manifests fast Tafel step-determined HER kinetics. Furthermore, density functional theory (DFT) calculations determine that the kinetic energy barrier of the Volmer step for the MoNi4 electrocatalyst is greatly decreased. The large-scale preparation and excellent catalytic stability provide MoNi4/MoO2@Ni with a promising utilization in water-alkali electrolysers for hydrogen production. Therefore, the exploration and understanding of the MoNi4 electrocatalyst provide a promising alternative to Pt catalysts for emerging applications in energy generation.


News Article | May 19, 2017
Site: www.rdmag.com

Growing concern about the energy crisis and the seriousness of environmental contamination urgently demand the development of renewable energy sources as feasible alternatives to diminishing fossil fuels. Owing to its high energy density and environmentally friendly characteristics, molecular hydrogen is an attractive and promising energy carrier to meet future global energy demands. In many of the approaches for hydrogen production, the electrocatalytic hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) from water splitting is the most economical and effective route for the future hydrogen economy. To accelerate the sluggish HER kinetics, particularly in alkaline electrolytes, highly active and durable electrocatalysts are essential to lower the kinetic HER overpotential. As a benchmark HER electrocatalyst with a zero HER overpotential, the precious metal platinum (Pt) plays a dominant role in present H2-production technologies, such as water-alkali electrolysers. Unfortunately, the scarcity and high cost of Pt seriously impede its large-scale applications in electrocatalytic HERs. Prof. Xinliang Feng's team from the Technische Universität Dresden (Germany)/ Center for Advancing Electronics Dresden (cfaed), in collaboration with the University Lyon, ENS de Lyon, Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS, France), the Tohoku University (Japan) and the Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems (IKTS) (Germany), have reported a low-cost MoNi4 electrocatalyst anchored on MoO2 cuboids, which are vertically aligned on nickel foam (MoNi4/MoO2@Ni). MoNi4 nanoparticles are constructed in situ on the MoO2 cuboids by controlling the outward diffusion of Ni atoms. The resultant MoNi4/MoO2@Ni exhibits a high HER activity that is highly comparable to that of the Pt catalyst and presents state-of-the-art HER activity amongst all reported Pt-free electrocatalysts. Experimental investigations reveal that the MoNi4 electrocatalyst behaves as the highly active centre and manifests fast Tafel step-determined HER kinetics. Furthermore, density functional theory (DFT) calculations determine that the kinetic energy barrier of the Volmer step for the MoNi4 electrocatalyst is greatly decreased. The large-scale preparation and excellent catalytic stability provide MoNi4/MoO2@Ni with a promising utilization in water-alkali electrolysers for hydrogen production. Therefore, the exploration and understanding of the MoNi4 electrocatalyst provide a promising alternative to Pt catalysts for emerging applications in energy generation.


In many of the approaches for hydrogen production, the electrocatalytic hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) from water splitting is the most economical and effective route for the future hydrogen economy. To accelerate the sluggish HER kinetics, particularly in alkaline electrolytes, highly active and durable electrocatalysts are essential to lower the kinetic HER overpotential. As a benchmark HER electrocatalyst with a zero HER overpotential, the precious metal platinum (Pt) plays a dominant role in present H2-production technologies, such as water-alkali electrolysers. Unfortunately, the scarcity and high cost of Pt seriously impede its large-scale applications in electrocatalytic HERs. Prof. Xinliang Feng's team from the Technische Universität Dresden (Germany)/ Center for Advancing Electronics Dresden (cfaed), in collaboration with the University Lyon, ENS de Lyon, Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS, France), the Tohoku University (Japan) and the Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems (IKTS) (Germany), have reported a low-cost MoNi4 electrocatalyst anchored on MoO2 cuboids, which are vertically aligned on nickel foam (MoNi4/MoO2@Ni). MoNi4 nanoparticles are constructed in situ on the MoO2 cuboids by controlling the outward diffusion of Ni atoms. The resultant MoNi4/MoO2@Ni exhibits a high HER activity that is highly comparable to that of the Pt catalyst and presents state-of-the-art HER activity amongst all reported Pt-free electrocatalysts. Experimental investigations reveal that the MoNi4 electrocatalyst behaves as the highly active centre and manifests fast Tafel step-determined HER kinetics. Furthermore, density functional theory (DFT) calculations determine that the kinetic energy barrier of the Volmer step for the MoNi4 electrocatalyst is greatly decreased. The large-scale preparation and excellent catalytic stability provide MoNi4/MoO2@Ni with a promising utilization in water-alkali electrolysers for hydrogen production. Therefore, the exploration and understanding of the MoNi4 electrocatalyst provide a promising alternative to Pt catalysts for emerging applications in energy generation. Explore further: Promising results obtained with a new electrocatalyst that reduces the need for platinum More information: Jian Zhang et al. Efficient hydrogen production on MoNi4 electrocatalysts with fast water dissociation kinetics, Nature Communications (2017). DOI: 10.1038/NCOMMS15437


News Article | May 22, 2017
Site: www.theengineer.co.uk

Molybdenum-based electrolysis catalyst system has promise to reduce cost of hydrogen production One of the blocks along the path to greater use of hydrogen in energy systems has been the cost of producing the gas. Although dreams of a ‘hydrogen economy’ entirely displacing industrial-economic models based around hydrocarbons have not come to fruition, the energy density of hydrogen and its potential for energy production free from carbon emissions are still seen by proponents as being under-utilised. One of the main problems has been the cost of producing hydrogen by splitting water by electrolysis, the only way to make the gas without emitting carbon is if renewable or nuclear electricity is used (the alternative is to strip hydrogen away from methane, which requires carbon-capture to be emission free). Water is so stable that electrolysis needs a highly-active catalyst, and the precious metal platinum has always been the material of choice. However, it is so scarce and expensive that the cost of efficient electrolysers has tended to be high. A multinational team involving researchers from the Technical University of Dresden, the University of Lyon, Tohoku University in japan and the Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems has now found that a catalyst system based on molybdenum and nickel displays activity comparable to platinum at potentially much lower cost. In a paper in Nature Communications, the team explains how it formed nanoparticles of the alloy MoNi on cuboids of MoO that were supported on nickel foam. The paper explains that nickel is good at dissociating water, while molybdenum is good at adsorbing hydrogen on its surface. The resulting catalyst outperforms any other platinum-free catalyst, the team claims.


News Article | May 19, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Growing concern about the energy crisis and the seriousness of environmental contamination urgently demand the development of renewable energy sources as feasible alternatives to diminishing fossil fuels. Owing to its high energy density and environmentally friendly characteristics, molecular hydrogen is an attractive and promising energy carrier to meet future global energy demands. In many of the approaches for hydrogen production, the electrocatalytic hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) from water splitting is the most economical and effective route for the future hydrogen economy. To accelerate the sluggish HER kinetics, particularly in alkaline electrolytes, highly active and durable electrocatalysts are essential to lower the kinetic HER overpotential. As a benchmark HER electrocatalyst with a zero HER overpotential, the precious metal platinum (Pt) plays a dominant role in present H2-production technologies, such as water-alkali electrolysers. Unfortunately, the scarcity and high cost of Pt seriously impede its large-scale applications in electrocatalytic HERs. Prof. Xinliang Feng's team from the Technische Universität Dresden (Germany)/ Center for Advancing Electronics Dresden (cfaed), in collaboration with the University Lyon, ENS de Lyon, Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS, France), the Tohoku University (Japan) and the Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems (IKTS) (Germany), have reported a low-cost MoNi4 electrocatalyst anchored on MoO2 cuboids, which are vertically aligned on nickel foam (MoNi4/MoO2@Ni). MoNi4 nanoparticles are constructed in situ on the MoO2 cuboids by controlling the outward diffusion of Ni atoms. The resultant MoNi4/MoO2@Ni exhibits a high HER activity that is highly comparable to that of the Pt catalyst and presents state-of-the-art HER activity amongst all reported Pt-free electrocatalysts. Experimental investigations reveal that the MoNi4 electrocatalyst behaves as the highly active centre and manifests fast Tafel step-determined HER kinetics. Furthermore, density functional theory (DFT) calculations determine that the kinetic energy barrier of the Volmer step for the MoNi4 electrocatalyst is greatly decreased. The large-scale preparation and excellent catalytic stability provide MoNi4/MoO2@Ni with a promising utilization in water-alkali electrolysers for hydrogen production. Therefore, the exploration and understanding of the MoNi4 electrocatalyst provide a promising alternative to Pt catalysts for emerging applications in energy generation. This work was financially supported by the ERC Grant on 2DMATER and EC under Graphene Flagship (No. CNECT-ICT-604391). cfaed is a microelectronics research cluster funded by the German Excellence Initiative. It comprises 11 cooperating institutes in Saxony. About 300 scientists from more than 20 countries investigate new technologies for electronic information processing. These technologies are inspired by innovative materials such as silicon nanowires, carbon nanotubes or polymers or based on completely new concepts such as the chemical chip or circuit fabrication methods by self-assembling structures such as DNA-Origami. The orchestration of these new devices into heterogeneous information processing systems with focus on their resilience and energy-efficiency is also part of cfaed's research program which comprises nine different research paths.


News Article | May 3, 2017
Site: www.gizmag.com

One of the big stumbling blocks preventing the wide scale acceptance of electric cars is dreaded range anxiety. With an average range of around 100 mi (161 km) per charge, all-electric vehicles still can't compete with more conventional cars – especially if lights, windscreen wipers, or air con are needed. To level the playing field a bit, Fraunhofer is working on a new battery design that could increase an electric car's range to 1,000 km (621 mi). Electric cars don't have a single battery, but a collection of battery packs made of hundreds or thousands of individual battery cells that are packed in and wired together. These separate battery cells each require a housing as well as terminals, wiring, cables, and electronic monitors, which all combine to take up 50 percent of the space of a whole battery pack. Additionally, all those electrical connections sap away current through resistance. In partnership with ThyssenKrupp System Engineering and IAV Automotive Engineering, the Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems IKTS in Dresden is developing EMBATT, a new type of battery that reduces the number of those components in a much simpler design that would free up space that could be used to provide extra electricity storage capacity. EMBATT takes its cue from another electrical power source, the fuel cell. Fuel cells work by combining oxygen with a gas, like hydrogen or methane, across a permeable membrane, to generate electricity. One key component of such cells is what is called a bipolar plate. This plate covers both sides of the cell and has a number of functions, but its main purpose is to act as the electrodes to collect the electricity produced by the cell with one plate acting as the anode and the other as the cathode. Fraunhofer's idea is to replace the housings and individual connectors in the battery packs with similar plates. Instead of setting the battery cells next to each other, they would be stacked directly one on top of one other over a large area and covered by plates, which would carry the current across its surface. This would not only simplify the design, but greatly reduce resistance, making more electricity available more quickly. In the Fraunhofer design, this bipolar plate is in the form of a metallic tape that's coated on both sides with a powdered ceramic mixed with polymers and electrically conductive materials. The ceramic acts as an energy storage medium, with one side of the tape acting as the anode and the other as the cathode depending on the formulation of the coating. Fraunhofer says that this arrangement would allow for easy manufacturing and long service life. The upshot of all this is that electric cars could carry bigger batteries that don't takes up more space or add weight, giving cars a range of 1,000 km (621 mi) in the medium term. So far EMBATT has been confined to the laboratory, but the partners are working on scaling up the technology for installation in test vehicles by 2020.


News Article | May 5, 2017
Site: cleantechnica.com

Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems in Dresden, Germany, says it has developed new technology in the lab that could increase electric car range to 1,000 kilometers or more. The secret? More batteries in the same space. Ceramics play a large part in the process. In a conventional battery pack, the individual battery cells are surrounded by a separate outer casing. All those casings take up half of the space inside each battery pack. The connections to each cell are points where electrical resistance is high, reducing available power. The EMBATT from Fraunhofer does things differently. Individual battery cells are not strung together separately side by side in small sections. Instead, they are stacked directly one above the other across a large area. The entire structure for the housing and the contacting is therefore eliminated, which allows more batteries to fit into every car. Conversely, a car could use a smaller, less expensive battery to keep retail prices down. Fraunhofer has developed a bipolar electrode, an idea borrowed from fuel cell technology. A metallic tape is coated on both sides with ceramic storage materials. That makes one side the anode and the other side the cathode. “We use our expertise in ceramic technologies to design the electrodes in such a way that they need as little space as possible, save a lot of energy, are easy to manufacture, and have a long life,” says Dr. Mareike Wolter, project manager at Fraunhofer.


News Article | May 2, 2017
Site: phys.org

Production of the bipolar electrode on a pilot scale. Credit: Fraunhofer IKTS You cannot get far today with electric cars. One reason is that the batteries require a lot of space. Fraunhofer scientists are stacking large cells on top of one another. This provides vehicles with more power. Initial tests in the laboratory have been positive. In the medium term, the project partners are striving to achieve a range of 1000 kilometers for electric vehicles. Depending on the model, electric cars are equipped with hundreds to thousands of separate battery cells. Each one is surrounded by a housing, connected to the car via terminals and cables, and monitored by sensors. The housing and contacting take up more than 50 percent of the space. Therefore, the cells cannot be densely packed together as preferred. The complex design steals space. A further problem: Electrical resistances, which reduce the power, are generated at the connections of the small-scale cells. Under the brand name EMBATT, the Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems IKTS in Dresden and its partners have transferred the bipolar principle known from fuel cells to the lithium battery. In this approach, individual battery cells are not strung separately side-by-side in small sections; instead, they are stacked directly one above the other across a large area. The entire structure for the housing and the contacting is therefore eliminated. As a result, more batteries fit into the car. Through the direct connection of the cells in the stack, the current flows over the entire surface of the battery. The electrical resistance is thereby considerably reduced. The electrodes of the battery are designed to release and absorb energy very quickly. "With our new packaging concept, we hope to increase the range of electric cars in the medium term up to 1000 kilometers," says Dr. Mareike Wolter, Project Manager at Fraunhofer IKTS. The approach is already working in the laboratory. The partners are ThyssenKrupp System Engineering and IAV Automotive Engineering. The most important component of the battery is the bipolar electrode – a metallic tape that is coated on both sides with ceramic storage materials. As a result, one side becomes the anode, the other the cathode. As the heart of the battery, it stores the energy. "We use our expertise in ceramic technologies to design the electrodes in such a way that they need as little space as possible, save a lot of energy, are easy to manufacture and have a long life," says Wolter. Ceramic materials are used as powders. The scientists mix them with polymers and electrically conductive materials to form a suspension. "This formulation has to be specially developed – adapted for the front and back of the tape, respectively," Wolter explains. The Fraunhofer IKTS applies the suspension to the tape in a roll-to-roll process. "One of the core competencies of our institute is to adapt ceramic materials from the laboratory to a pilot scale and to reproduce them reliably," says Wolter, describing the expertise of the Dresden scientists. The next planned step is the development of larger battery cells and their installation in electric cars. The partners are aiming for initial tests in vehicles by 2020. Explore further: Freezing lithium batteries may make them safer and bendable


News Article | May 3, 2017
Site: www.techradar.com

One of the biggest challenges when designing an electric car is where to put the batteries. Every vehicle has hundreds to thousands of separate battery cells, each surrounded by a housing and connected to the car systems and sensors. This complex design takes up space - more than 50 percent of the area dedicated to batteries inside the car is taken up with housing and contacts. But now a team of engineers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems (IKTS) has developed a new battery concept that could substantially decrease the amount of space needed for housing and contacts - meaning more batteries can fit in the same car. Their system stacks battery cells directly one above the other across a large area, as opposed to the traditional approach where individual cells are strung side-by-side in small sections. The direct connection to each cell in the stack allows current to flow over the entire surface of the battery, significantly reducing electrical resistance. "With our new packaging concept, we hope to increase the range of electric cars in the medium term up to 1000 kilometers," Mareike Wolter, Project Manager at Fraunhofer IKTS. The key to being able to do this is a new electrode - in this case, a metallic tape coated on both sides with ceramic storage materials. One side is the battery's anode - the other is the cathode. Developing each material is a complex process, involving a suspension of powdered ceramics mixed with polymers and electrically conductive materials. "We use our expertise in ceramic technologies to design the electrodes in such a way that they need as little space as possible, save a lot of energy, are easy to manufacture and have a long life," said Wolter. The research is still a work-in-progress right now, but the concept is being scaled up to larger battery cells which can be installed in real electric cars. Initial tests are due for 2020, but Wolter is optimistic that this should take place without difficulties: "One of the core competencies of our institute is to adapt ceramic materials from the laboratory to a pilot scale and to reproduce them reliably," she said.


Klemm H.,Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems
Journal of the American Ceramic Society | Year: 2010

In this paper, a summary of the development of high-temperature silicon nitride (T>1200°C) is provided. The high-temperature capacity of various advanced commercial silicon nitrides and materials under development was analyzed in comparison with a silicon nitride without sintering additives produced by hot isostatic pressing. Based on this model Si3N 4 composed of only crystalline Si3N4 grains and amorphous silica in the grain boundaries the influence of various sintering additive systems will be evaluated with focus on the high-temperature potential of the resulting materials. The specific design of the amorphous grain-boundary films is the key factor determining the properties at elevated temperatures. Advanced Si3N4 with Lu2O3 or Sc 2O3 as sintering additive are characterized by a superior elevated temperature resistance caused by effective crystallization of the grain-boundary phase. Nearly clean amorphous films between the Si 3N4 grains comparable to that of Si3N 4 without sintering additives were found to be the reason of this behavior. Benefit in the long-term stability of Si3N4 at elevated temperatures was observed in composites with SiC and MoSi2 caused by a modified oxidation mechanism. The insufficient corrosion stability in hot gas environments at elevated temperatures was found to be the main problem of Si3N4 for application in advanced gas turbines. Progress has been achieved in the development of potential material systems for environmental barrier coatings (EBC) for Si3N4; however, the long-term stability of the whole system EBC-base Si3N4 has to be subject of comprehensive future studies. Besides the superior high-temperature properties, the whole application process from cost-effective industrial production, reliability and failure probability, industrial handling up to specific conditions during the application have to be focused in order to bring advanced Si3N4 currently available to industrial application. © 2010 The American Ceramic Society.

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