Materials for energy applications
Within the inorganic chemistry research program there are many active research projects directed towards materials used in conventional energy applications as well as materials and material combinations for possible future energy systems. In both these areas, control and fundamental understanding of the chemistry are of paramount importance for the design of new energy-related materials. The research is spanning from high precision synthesis from sol-gel nanostructuring techniques to atomic layer deposition (ALD) and combinatoric sputtering . State-of-the art characterization from in-house equipment as well as synchrotron facilities and theoretical modelling is also utilized. Below are some specific examples of the research projects:
Materials for energy storage
Of specific interest is to achieve a high energy-storage density as well as to minimize the energy for the input and output processes. In the case of solar thermal applications, materials with enhanced heat storage with large solar absorptivity while minimizing the heat loss is of highest importance. In hydrogen storage materials, the storage density as well as the energy of hydrogen input and output is vital. More practical aspects of the material are also very important and should not be neglected: how abundant the material components are, how brittle the material is and how it can be processed into a functional device. Materials developments for batteries are also a large activity in the program. Batteries are devices that can convert chemical energy into electric energy. The research is directed into materials both for primary batteries (not rechargeable) and for secondary batteries (rechargeable).
Materials for Magneto-calorics and Solar energy applications
Today, the solar cells and devices for producing solar fuel are far too expensive in comparison to conventional energy sources (coal, nuclear power, water power) and new, cheap, and still sufficiently effective materials are needed. The challenge is to find materials and material combinations with a cost-to-efficiency ratio that makes photovoltaics economically possible. The program also perform research on advanced functional materials for solar thermal energy and magneto-caloric materials.
- Band gap engineering of thin films with abundant elements for solar energy applications
- Metal oxide nanoparticles for solar cells and catalysis
- Solar absorbers
- Solar cell materials
- Low dimensional materials for photocatalysis and solar fuel generation
Low friction and corrosion resistive materials for energy applications
Low-friction materials are classified as passive energy materials but can have a very large environmental saving effect due to the energy saving in mechanical motion as well as minimizing material wear and thus prolonging the material lifetime. Research is also directed towards the understanding and prevention of chemical degradation and corrosion.