Electrochemical Energy Conversion
Electrochemical energy storage can be one solution for this problem. Moreover, increase in usage of off-grid portable devices and electrifying traffic increase the need for electrochemical energy conversion and storage devices. Thus, the Electrochemical Energy Conversion research group investigates and develops materials and devices for these applications. Our aim is to understand functioning of these to improve the existing ones and to develop alternative solutions. Our research is focused on investigating polymer electrolyte fuel cells (PEFC) and electrolysers as well as lithium ion batteries and supercapacitors and covers synthesis, characterization and integration of new materials. Alongside functionality of the materials and devices, we are interested in their durability and degradation mechanisms as well as optimization of above mentioned technologies for their applications.
Our research highlights include:
Development of novel nanomaterials for catalysis through a novel CVD synthesis method for the growth of carbon encapsulated transition metal nanoparticles (CEMNs) decorated on carbon nanotubes (CNTs).
Novel electrochemical modification of transition metal nanoparticles, and carbon nanomaterials for synthesizing active catalysts for OER.
Novel synthesis of pseudo atomic-scale Pt catalyst materials decorated on carbon nanotubes for catalytic applications.
The CREATE Project
The ever-expanding demand for renewable energy spotlights electrochemical prowess. Feasible technologies for generating and storing green power have already entered the market. However, they rely heavily on critical raw materials such as cobalt in batteries and scarce platinum-group metals (PGM) in electrochemical converters, which inhibits large-scale deployment in the long term.
This project unites several global contributors in the field, sharing the same target: developing PGM-free and ultra-low-platinum MEAs that will comprise the hearts of electrolysers and fuel cells. (While the former device is designed to store intermittent solar and wind energy in hydrogen gas, the latter will release the energy by oxidizing the gas whenever needed.) Aalto contributes strongly to both the synthesis and the characterization of the desired electrocatalysts for the pertinent electrochemical reactions.
The ELCOREL project
The aim of the project is to train young researchers in all scientific and technological aspects of the storage of renewable electricity into fuels and chemicals. The scientific aim is to develop and upscale novel catalysts meeting specific activity and selectivity targets for oxygen evolution and CO2 reduction. The involvement of two industrial partners ensures rapid application of the fundamental science in electrochemical technology.
The DEMEC Project
New electrocatalysts enabling storing of electrical energy into chemical compounds, e.g. hydrogen, and regeneration of electricity are designed, synthesized and investigated in a rational manner. The aim is to design and develop new low cost electrocatalysts for readily scalable and integrable hydrogen energy conversion technology. These materials are free of PGMs categorized as critical raw materials by EU. Catalyst material optimization (rational design) is realized in close collaboration between groups specialized in modelling, materials synthesis and electrocatalysis.
The DEMEC project is funded by Academy of Finland New Energy Programme.
The SUPER project
New readily recyclable nanostructured catalysts comprising of abundant raw materials are developed and assessed. These materials have potential to replace critical platinum group metals (PGM) based catalysts in several existing and emerging processes including synthesis used in chemical industry and biofuel synthesis and energy conversion. To achieve this we use modelling to gain fundamental understanding of the limiting steps of the investigated reactions on the novel nanostructured materials synthetized using unique methods developed by us. The modelling results are interlinked with investigation of structure and catalytic activity of these materials to give guidelines for the further research. A rather broad selection of reactions will be investigated because of the importance of this field.
The SUPER project is funded by Academy of Finland MISU programme.