The Group is part of PSI’s Electrochemistry Laboratory, Switzerland’s largest Center for Electrochemical Research.
Research 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 its electrochemical energy conversion is of particular importance. In this topical context the 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. In addition, work is dedicated towards materials development for Redox-Flow Cells (RFC). The R&D strategy involves activities on four pathways: i) system, stack and cell engineering; ii) component development (e.g., membranes, electrodes, MEAs); iii) research in electrocatalysis and the reaction kinetics of the important underlying reactions for improved understanding of intrinsically limiting factors; and iv) the development and application of advanced in situ/operando diagnostic tools on stack, cell, component and material levels including analyses of the electrode-electrolyte interface.
Swiss Competence Center for Energy Research Heat & Electricity Storage
The Swiss Competence Center for Energy Research (SCCER) Heat and Electricity Storage (HaE) is one of eight centers, which have been established in the research fields of mobility (SCCER Mobility), efficiency (SCCER FEEB+D, SCCER EIP), power supply (SCCER SoE), grids (SCCER Furies), biomass (SCCER Biosweet), as well as economy and environment (SCCER CREST) in light of the Swiss Government’s Energy Strategy 2050.
The declared aim of this energy strategy is the transition from nuclear power to a power supply system based on renewable sources to meet the CO2 emission targets. An important factor is to expand and strengthen the knowledge in the energy field through the increase of personnel resources, e.g., scientists, engineers, technicians alongside with technology development.
The centers are organized as virtual consortia of industrial and academic institutions (cantonal universities, federal universities, federal research centers and universities of applied science) distributed all across Switzerland with the intention to maximize the outcome by combining the strongest competencies in each area of expertise. To maintain a long-lasting effect on the Swiss power supply system, the competence centers are operated in two phases (first phase 2014-2016, second phase 2017-2020).
Within the framework of these eight SCCER, the SCCER Heat and Electricity Storage is dedicated to active research on:
Thermal Energy Storage with a focus on buildings and processes by exploring advanced adiabatic compressed air storage (AA-CAES), pumped heat electric storage (PHES) and storing high-temperature process heat.
Advanced Battery and Battery Materials with focus on Li- and Na-type batteries in terms of energy density and cost including manufacturing.
Hydrogen Production and Storage by exploring emerging technologies in the field including redox flow batteries, radically lower cost catalysts, and high energy density liquid storage routes.
Catalytic and Electrocatalytic CO2 reduction aiming at an efficiency of >30% and with a selectivity of >60% for syngas/hydrocarbons production.
Technology Interaction of Storage Systems explores the storage technology in a wider context. Questions of technology interaction is part of the research, covering a wide range of aspects from socio-economical aspects to system integration and modeling.
Prof. T.J. Schmidt is Director of SCCER Heat & Electricity Storage who successfully lead the two proposal phases as main applicant.