Heterogeneous catalyst materials.
To clarify the structure/activity relationships of nanoscale transition metals and transitional metal oxide clusters in order to improve photo- and electrocatalysts and catalysts for CO 2 conversion. To develop heterogeneous catalysts that convert solar energy into storable chemical bonds with at least 10% efficiency. To reduce the noble metal content in membrane fuel cells with no change in activity.
- 500 W femtosecond laser for synthesis of laser-generated catalysts
- Gas-phase photoreactor for the reduction of CO2 under high-purity conditions, equipped with high-end, gas-chromatographic trace-gas analysis for solving the mass balance
- Automatized reactors for the scalable wet chemical synthesis of nanocatalysts
Together with our partners at the neighboring fuel cell research center (ZBT), we are working to significantly reduce fuel cell production costs. Using nanoscale particles, we have already reduced the noble metal content of membrane fuel cells to less than 0.1 mg of platinum per cm 2 while maintaining constant activity. As an alternative to platinum, we are studying core shell nanoparticles, which have comparatively inexpensive cores and thin but highly reactive shells.
NANO-BASED HETEROGENEOUS CATALYSTS FOR PHOTO AND ELECTROCATALYSIS
We are researching and developing photo and electrocatalysis in collaboration with the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Energy Conversion (MPI CEC) in Mülheim. For this purpose, we synthesize transition metal oxide clusters on supports and study their optoelectronic and catalytic properties, including the elementary processes relevant for catalysis. Photocatalytic activity under visible light irradiation is also being investigated.
CATALYTIC ACTIVATION OF CO2
One of our main objectives is to convert CO2 into useful base chemicals for industry by chemical means. The focus here is the synthesis of methane and methanol, since these materials are used in large quantities in industrial production and are suitable for use as energy storage materials. To hydroge nate CO2, we synthesize metal nanoparticles on various carriers and study their structural and catalytic properties.
PHOTOCATALYTIC WATER SPLITTING
In photo-catalytic water splitting, energy from sunlight is converted directly into storable hydrogen, without any intermediary steps. We use laser ablation to produce extremely pure, ligand-free nano particles. These nanoparticles adhere very well to carrier materials, do not require potentially toxic or deactivating stabilizers, and their entire surfaces are completely free for reactions. This method can be readily integrated into existing catalyst production processes and works for a broad spectrum of nanoparticles on almost any carrier material. In addition, we use wet chemistry methods to deposit catalyst particles on suitable semiconductor materials, and then use the materials obtained from this process in water oxidation catalysis.
- Prof. Dr.-Ing. Stephan Barcikowski (laser-generated heterogeneous catalysts)
- Prof. Dr. Malte Behrens (structure-function relationship of nanostructured catalysts)
- Prof. Dr. Angelika Heinzel, ZBT (fuel cells)
- Dr. Jennifer Strunk, MPI CEC (nano-based heterogeneous catalysts)