Future global energy markets require improved renewable energy technologies often involving electrical power. Research area F “Nano-Energy” started in 2008 and focuses on nanomaterials and nanostructures aiming at significantly improving energy conversion devices. It encompasses corresponding research ranging from basic materials chemistry and the fundamental understanding of underlying transport processes to “real-world” devices in collaboration with industrial partners.
Multidisciplinary and application-oriented approach
Research area F includes physics, chemistry, electrical engineering and materials science, and combines CFN nanotechnology know-how with a long-standing expertise in energy-related applications. The activities in F, apart from being closely linked to CFN Research Areas A and C, also take advantage of synergies with large energy programs at KIT as well as national and European joint projects.
What we are aiming at
The projects in F focus on the fundamental understanding of the materials science of energy-related devices including fabrication of nanoscaled structures, study of their materials chemistry and functional structure, and investigation of the electrical and electrochemical transport phenomena.
Project F1 addresses low-cost, preferably non-toxic, alternative organic and inorganic materials and nanostructures for solar cells and other photovoltaic devices. Within F1, highly conductive, organic composite electrodes have already been developed and an all-solution-processed organic tandem solar cell has been realized.
Project F2 aims at increasing oxidation/reduction kinetics for solid-oxide fuel cells and related oxygen-separation membranes by custom-tailored nanostructures. F2 has already demonstrated record performance of nanoscaled thin-film cathodes. This enables exceptionally low operating temperatures of 400 °C and visionary thin-film solid-oxide fuel cell concepts.
Project F3 was driven by the demand for improved lithium-ion batteries. It focused on nanosized novel electrode materials and on concepts for the production of ultra-thin lithium-ion batteries on flexible substrates.