Department of Chemistry and Materials Science

Electrochemical Energy Conversion

The research group investigates and develops materials and devices for electrochemical energy conversion and storage. Meeting the production and consumption of electrical energy is one of the major societal and technological challenges when increasing portion of the electricity production is based on intermittent renewable sources, such as solar and wind power. Moreover, increase in usage of off-grid portable devices and electrifying traffic increase the need for electrochemical energy conversion and storage devices.
Litium ion batteries

Our research areas:

  1. Electrochemical energy conversion materials and devices; in particular electrocatalysts and electrode materials for such applications as polymer electrolyte fuel cells and electrolyzers, lithium ion batteries and supercapacitors
  2. Reduction of the utilization of non-earth-abundant-elements without sacrificing the electrochemical device performance
  3. Understand structure – activity – durability interrelations of the active energy conversion materials. Hence, our work covers material synthesis, material structural and electrochemical characterization and integration in laboratory-scale devices

Electrochemical energy storage can be one solution to the increasing of 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.

Research highlights:

Responsible (or sustainable) energy conversion and storage is one of the key issues for large-scale utilization of intermittent renewable energy sources. We want to foster and contribute this energy transition by developing those critical technologies:

  • By developing materials for responsible energy conversion and storage
  • By reducing or replacing critical raw materials in electrochemical energy conversion applications

 

Our highlight publications:

  • A platinum nanowire electrocatalyst on single-walled carbon nanotubes to drive hydrogen evolution. Read more here
  • Reuse of LiCoO2 Electrodes Collected from Spent Li-Ion Batteries after Electrochemical Re-Lithiation of the Electrode. Read more here
  • 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). Read more here
  • Novel electrochemical modification of transition metal nanoparticles, and carbon nanomaterials for synthesizing active catalysts for OER. Read more here
  • Novel synthesis of pseudo atomic-scale Pt catalyst materials decorated on carbon nanotubes for catalytic applications. Read more here

NextGenBat

Funded by Business Finland, the Next Generation Battery Materials and Concepts project will develop materials and their processing technologies for solid-state lithium batteries (SSLB). The project combines the expertise of multiple Finnish research organizations and private companies.

Read more about NextGenBat project

The USVA project

Electrochemical reduction of CO2 is one possible route to mitigate climate change since it uses the abundant greenhouse gas CO2 as starting material to produce important fuels and chemicals. However, there remains much work to find selective, highly active and robust catalyst materials for larger scale electrochemical CO2 reduction.

In USVA, we aim to develop electrocatalyst materials by using simple synthesis methods, earth-abundant elements and other cheap raw-materials to reduce CO2 into value added chemicals such as formic acid. The focus of the project is to design, synthesize and thoroughly characterize novel electrocatalysts which would express high selectivity and activity towards electrochemical reduction of CO2. We also aim to reveal mechanistic insights into the effects that govern the selectivity and activity of our electrocatalyst materials to further increase our understanding of electrochemical CO2 reduction and to enable rational design of new catalysts.

The project is funded by Jane and Aatos Erkko Foundation.

Read more about the project

The HERMES Project

To answer the urgent need for carbon-free energy, disruptive options should be considered. The loading of deuterium into palladium-based materials under certain conditions, could result in the production of excess heat, leading to a breakthrough zero-emissions energy generation. The HERMES gathers the expertise from six multidisciplinary European laboratories, focusing on the fundamentals of the palladium-hydrogen system, the synthesis of new, well-controlled, palladium-based materials, and the calorimetric study of the deuterium loading into palladium using Seebeck calorimeters.
The contribution from Aalto University aims at

  1. giving a better experimental understanding of the hydrogen absorption into palladium nanoparticles in a fuel cell setup, using electrochemical characterization techniques;
  2. studying the isotope effect by changing the dihydrogen supply to deuterium;
  3. designing the Seebeck calorimeters and conducting the calorimetric studies. 

The project is funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.

Read more about HERMES Project

The Hydrogen Lung Project

The scientific goal of the HydrogenLung action is to accelerate mass diffusion for Hydrogen oxidation reaction (HOR: H2 →2H+) by modifying superhydrophilic [email protected] nanoarray electrode with lung-like multistage aerophilic gas channels (MAGC). As the gas diffusion step determines the rate of most HOR, the specific structure will accelerate the reaction with great promise. By developing new wettability structure and verifying its effect on HOR, we will offer a method to accelerate mass transfer for all gas-consuming triphase catalysis. This scientific action involves both fundamental research of HOR and applied research of hydrogen fuel cell. It is an interdisciplinary study between chemistry (electrochemistry) and physics (surface physics).

Read more about Hydrogen Lung Project

The LESGO project

Electricity generation based on renewables is unpredictable, but hydrogen (H2) could be a promising energy storage route. Since over 95% of H2 comes from breaking the carbon-hydrogen bond in hydrocarbons, storing hydrogen bound to carbon may provide a long-term solution. However, extracting hydrogen from liquid hydrocarbons includes CO2 emissions. To address this problem, the EU-funded LESGO project aims to store energy in the C-H bond of reduced graphene oxide (rGO-H). The advantages of rGO-H include safe storage, easy transportation, an energy density over 100 times larger than that of H2 gas and no CO2 emissions in the electricity generation process. The project will promote an affordable and eco-friendly means of supplying electrical power on demand where required.
 

Read more about LESGO project

The BATCircle project

The BATCircle ecosystem consists of key Finnish research and industrial actors involved in the battery metals sector with a total budget of 22 M€. The ecosystem has been formed under Business Finland's “Batteries from Finland” program. The cooperation effort is expected to lead to the formation of a domestic battery metals ecosystem that follows the principles of circular economy. One of the important topics of this ecosystem is research on preparation and performance of “precursors and active materials” which are used in the production of electrode materials of lithium ion batteries. This research is conducted by Aalto University, University of Oulu, University of Eastern Finland and GTK Geological Survey of Finland.
 

Read more about BATCircle

HiQ-CARB

The HiQ-CARB funding project aims to provide new carbons with superior performance and a low carbon footprint for lithium-ion batteries in Europe. Carbon is needed in batteries to improve the electronic conductivity of the cathodes and helps achieve fast charge and discharge rates. In HiQ-CARB, the carbon black is replaced by a new and more environmentally friendly acetylene black. For the project, high-purity conductive additives and high-quality carbon nanotubes are being developed and produced by the leading European material producers. The developed high quality carbon additives and carbon nanotubes will be used for the production of the high energy and high-performance cathodes. CUSTOMCELLS® will use the developed carbon additives to scale up electrode manufacturing and produce pilot cells with high power density and high energy density.
The project team of HiQ-CARB includes companies Arkema (France), Custom Cells (Germany) and Orion Engineered Carbons (Germany). Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC, Aalto University and the University of Bordeaux are involved in the scientific part of evaluation and testing of the new material combinations and the battery cells made from them. The HiQ-CARB project receives EU funding from EIT Raw Materials to scale up and validate these important battery materials.

 

Read more about HiQ-CARB
 

Past projects:

The research group:

Tanja Kallio
Professor Tanja Kallio

Associate Professor Tanja Kallio, research group leader:

My professorship is Physical Chemistry and Electrochemistry and my research focuses on electrochemical energy conversion materials and devices. For widespread adoption of renewable, intermittent energy technologies, various efficient and sustainable electrochemical energy conversion and storage alternatives are needed. 

In my group, we contribute to this effort by investigating and developing in particularly electrocatalysts and electrode materials for such applications as polymer electrolyte fuel cells and electrolyzers, lithium ion batteries and supercapacitors.

The core theme is reduction of the utilization of non-earth-abundant-elements without sacrificing the electrochemical device performance. As an alternative approach, strategies to increase the lifetime of the critical active materials is studied.

To achieve our goals, we aim to understand structure – activity – durability interrelations of the active energy conversion materials. Hence, our work covers material synthesis, material structural and electrochemical characterization and integration in laboratory-scale devices. This includes also post-mortem analysis of the active materials to investigate degradation mechanism. To obtain fundamental understanding on complex phenomena, we carry out these investigations in close collaboration with groups specialized in modelling and advanced structural characterization technologies.

Group
The EEC research group

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Lithium ion battery electrodes and cells, researcher Taina Rauhala, photo Valeria Azovskaya, 2017

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Battery parts can be recycled without crushing or melting

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Put the brakes on climate change – producing high-grade chemicals from carbon dioxide

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Seed funding enabled new approaches in renewable energy research

Seed funding is a stepping stone to cooperation with other research groups, and a great channel to test your ideas.

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Doctoral student Fatemeh Davodi is applying drops of ink containing catalyst on an electrode, which will be attached to a measuring instrument. Photo: Glen Forde/Aalto Energy Platform

Searching for alternative and sustainable solutions for renewable energy storage

Mitigation of climate change requires increasing the use of renewable energy and the development of storage.

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Sami Tuomi and Tanja Kallio with some solar panels. Photo: Jaakko Kahilaniemi.

Banking sun and wind energy

How to make the storing of renewable energy cheaper and easier? If this study is successful, it will represent a major leap towards finding a solution to climate change.

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Promising results obtained with a new electrocatalyst that reduces the need for platinum

Researchers succeeded in manufacturing electrocatalysts with one hundredth of the amount of platinum that is usually needed.

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Researchers developed a cost-effective and efficient rival for platinum

Researchers succeeded in creating an electrocatalyst that is needed for storing electric energy made of carbon and iron.

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Research project on renewable energy storage receives sought-after funding from Horizon 2020

Aalto University’s share of the funding is about half a million euros.

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A maker of better materials

Professor Tanja Kallio develops ecological, safe and affordable materials for batteries and electrocatalysts.

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Past events:

Workshop on Catalytic Reactions with Ion Transfer through Interfaces

Welcome to Workshop on Catalytic Reactions with Ion Transfer through Interfaces (ITICAT2019), organized in August 15 - 17, 2019, as a pre-conference of EuropaCat2019. 

ITICAT2019 logo/Yingnan Zhao

Latest publications

Understanding the Stabilizing Effects of Nanoscale Metal Oxide and Li-Metal Oxide Coatings on Lithium-Ion Battery Positive Electrode Materials

Zahra Ahaliabadeh, Ville Miikkulainen, Miia Mäntymäki, Seyedabolfazl Mousavihashemi, Jouko Lahtinen, Lide Yao, Hua Jiang, Kenichiro Mizohata, Timo Kankaanpää, Tanja Kallio 2021 ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces

Electromechanical properties of fibers produced from randomly oriented SWCNT films by wet pulling technique

Sergey D. Shandakov, Alexey V. Kosobutsky, Anna I. Vershinina, Oleg G. Sevostyanov, Irina M. Chirkova, Dmitriy M. Russakov, Maksim V. Lomakin, Mikhail S. Rybakov, Tatiana V. Glushkova, Evgeny A. Ovcharenko, Maria A. Zhilyaeva, Albert G. Nasibulin 2021 Materials Science and Engineering B: Solid-State Materials for Advanced Technology

Hybrid Flow Batteries: Advances, Scientific Challenges and Market

Damián Monllor-Satoca, Cristina Flox Donoso 2021 Reference Module in Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences

Silicone Composites with CNT/Graphene Hybrid Fillers

Marie N. Barshutina, Valentyn S. Volkov, Aleksey V. Arsenin, Albert G. Nasibulin, Sergey N. Barshutin, Alexey G. Tkachev 2021 Materials

Competitive role of nitrogen functionalities of N doped GO and sensitizing effect of Bi2O3 QDs on TiO2 for water remediation

Saima Noor, Shamaila Sajjad, Sajjad Ahmed Khan Leghari, Cristina Flox, Saeed Ahmad 2021 Journal of Environmental Sciences (China)

Electronic transitions of SWCNTs in comparison to GO on Mn3O4/TiO2nanocomposites for hydrogen energy generation and solar photocatalysis

Saima Noor, Shamaila Sajjad, Sajjad Ahmed Khan Leghari, Cristina Flox, Tanja Kallio, Esko I. Kauppinen, Saeed Ahmad 2021 New Journal of Chemistry

Residence time effect on single-walled carbon nanotube synthesis in an aerosol CVD reactor

Ilya V. Novikov, Eldar M. Khabushev, Dmitry V. Krasnikov, Anton V. Bubis, Anastasia E. Goldt, Sergey D. Shandakov, Albert G. Nasibulin 2021 Chemical Engineering Journal

Electrocatalyst nanoparticles go with the flow

Pekka Peljo, Tanja Kallio 2021 Nature Catalysis

Redox flow batteries : Status and perspective towards sustainable stationary energy storage

Eduardo Sánchez-Díez, Edgar Ventosa, Massimo Guarnieri, Andrea Trovò, Cristina Flox, Rebeca Marcilla, Francesca Soavi, Petr Mazur, Estibaliz Aranzabe, Raquel Ferret 2021 Journal of Power Sources

ZnO Nanostructures Application in Electrochemistry : Influence of Morphology

Agne Sulciute, Keita Nishimura, Evgeniia Gilshtein, Federico Cesano, Guido Viscardi, Albert G. Nasibulin, Yutaka Ohno, Simas Rackauskas 2021 Journal of Physical Chemistry C
More information on our research in the Research database.
Research database
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