Electrochemical Energy Conversion

The Electrochemical Energy Conversion Section is focused on the development and in-depth understanding of materials, processes and devices for the conversion of renewable energy into electricity or chemical energy carriers. Especially in the context of a sustainable energy system utilizing hydrogen as an energy carrier and its electrochemical energy conversion is of particular importance.

In this topical context our goal is the in-depth understanding of technologies like Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cells (PEFC), Polymer Electrolyte Electrolyzer Cells (PEEC) for water electrolysis and processes like the co-electrolysis of CO2 and water, respectively.

The R&D strategy involves activities on four pathways: i) system, stack and cell engineering; ii) membrane development based on PSI’s own radiation-grafting technology and the development of cell components; iii) research in electrocatalysis and the reaction kinetics of the important reactions (e.g., the oxygen electrode reactions) for improved understanding of intrinsically limiting factors; and iv) the development and application of advanced in-situ diagnostic tools on stack, cell and component levels including analyses of the electrode-electrolyte interface.

In addition, we are working on new materials for advanced electrochemical double layer capacitors (EDLC), which includes the application of ionic liquids or graphene-type carbons for high energy EDLCs.

Groups

  • Membranes and Electrochemical Cells

    Our mission is to create innovation in the area of polymer electrolyte materials for electrochemical applications, notably fuel cells, electrolysis cells and lithium batteries. We aim to prepare polymers with desired functionalities for the respective application and operating conditions, using commercially available and low-cost materials (base films, monomers and additives) and industrially viable processing techniques. Furthermore, we develop dedicated diagnostic methods to study limitations in cell performance and aging of materials and components... More.
  • Fuel Cell Systems and Diagnostics

    The Fuel Cell Systems and Diagnostics Group is a collaborative effort of electrochemists and engineers. It was established in 2002 as part of the PSI Laboratory for Electrochemistry. The investigation of the limiting processes and heterogeneities on all the scales are of high interest for improving PEFC technology. An interdisciplinary approach of combined development of modeling and experimental techniques is pursued to elucidate the relevant processes and characteristics and to improve the performance of PEFC technology.... More.
  • Electrocatalysis and Interfaces

    The Electrocatalysis and Interfaces Group was established in 2012 combining the electrocatalysis activites of the former Fuel Cell Group and the Interface analytical activities from the former Interface and Capacitor Group. Electrocatalysis is the key topic for electrochemical energy conversion. In order to optimize rate, selectivity, energy and stability of a certain electrochemical reaction - such as oxygen reduction, oxygen evolution, hydrogen oxidation, and CO2 reduction - proper catalysts have to be developed and optimized. The respective surface and interface analytical tools are essential for the understanding of the catalyst and are utilized in the group... More
  • Neutron Radiography Project

    We are using steady state imaging techniques based on neutron radiography for in situ fuel cell diagnostics... More.

Projects and Partners

  • DuraCAT
    Highly Durable Oxide-based Catalysts for Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cells