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Institute of Energy and Climate Research

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Five Research Areas (RA)

The five electrolyte classes make up the five research areas (RAs) of HI MS. Their aim is not only improved materials but also improved processes and battery systems.

The scientists at HI MS conduct research on five different electrolyte classes and their application in electrochemical energy storage systems, primarily batteries. The expertise and the infrastructure of the HI MS consortium cover a wide spectrum of the theory, chemistry, and technology of electrolytes and batteries in the whole field, ranging from basic research to application as well as technology transfer.

5 - R Approach

Research Area 1:

Solid anionic electrolytes: This research area focuses on oxygen-ion conductors such as acceptor-doped zirconia, cerium oxide, or apatite. Depending on research progress, an expansion to include the field of fluorides or hydride ion conductors is possible. Oxygen-ion conductors are used in metal–air batteries, for example.

Research Area 2:

Solid cationic electrolytes: The advantage of these electrolytes is their stability. At the beginning of the programme, the emphasis will be on investigating materials such as LiPON, lithium-containing garnets, and materials with LISICON and NASICON structures including glasses and glass ceramics. The focus is thus on electrolyte materials with mobile lithium, sodium, or hydrogen ions.

Research Area 3:

Polymer electrolytes: During the initial phase, research will concentrate on polymer electrolytes with mobile lithium, sodium, or hydrogen ions. These include solutions of salts in polymers, based on amorphous polymers with low glass transition temperatures (polyethers, imides, siloxanes, acrylates). The choice of salts and additives and the chemical modification of polymeric solvents (such as block copolymers, nanostructures, cross linking) are also decisive.

Research Area 4:

Liquid electrolytes: Since this class of electrolytes is not limited to certain salt cations or anions, the research area will focus on identifying and designing new solvents and salts as well as the possibility of inserting additional functional elements. These are based either on aqueous or non-aqueous salt solutions. They include alkaline and acidic electrolytes as well as various electrolytes based on organic solvents.

Research Area 5:

Hybrid electrolytes: Multi-phase hybrid (composite) electrolytes represent a large group of electrolytes already in practical use based on a synergetic combination of liquid, polymeric, vitreous, and ceramic electrolyte components. By combining two or more components with amorphous or ordered structures, new and improved electrolytes are thus developed. This approach may therefore also include hybrids from the previously described electrolyte classes 1–4.