Sustainable catalysts that can make a contribution to the global energy transition have been an established research topic at the University of Bayreuth for many years.
Recently, Dr. Eranezhuth Wasan Awin from India carried out interdisciplinary research in this area. At the invitation of the Bayreuth Humboldt Center, the young scientist deals with the development of metal-containing nanocomposite fibers by electrospinning. As catalysts, the fibers should enable the production of “green” hydrogen from renewable raw materials and its storage.
Today, “green” hydrogen is considered a key raw material for the energy transition. It is mainly obtained by using the energy generated by solar and wind power plants for the electrolytic splitting of water. In order to be able to store or use the energy carrier hydrogen as required, powerful catalysts are required. Dr. Eranezhuth Wasan Awin has a high level of expertise in the field of ceramic materials. He is a research fellow at the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IITM), which is considered one of the most important South Asian universities in the field of natural and engineering sciences.
“We are very pleased about the close cooperation on the Bayreuth campus and have started to test promising new research ideas together. The cooperation will also help to further strengthen the scientific contacts between the University of Bayreuth and the IITM ”, says PD Dr. Günter Motz from the Chair of Ceramic Materials. “Research into the fundamentals of new catalysts that are recyclable and conserve valuable raw materials has been a focus of my work group for some time now, and we now want to deepen it by using more ceramic materials,” explains Prof. Dr. Rhett Kempe, Chair of Inorganic Chemistry II.
With electrospinning to high-performance ceramic nano-composite fibers
Tiny fibers in the nanometer range, which are composed of various types of molecules and are therefore referred to as nanocomposite fibers, are used today in a large number of industrial applications. Dr. In Bayreuth, Eranezhuth Wasan Awin is primarily investigating ceramic nanocomposite fibers that are produced by electrospinning. For the catalytic control of the reactions involved in the intermediate storage of hydrogen, fibers that contain a ceramic framework made of silicon carbonitrides (SiCN) and embedded particles of transition metals are particularly suitable. These metals are, for example, copper, ruthenium or cobalt. The Indian guest scientist wants to optimize the properties and structures of such nanocomposite fibers in a targeted manner with a view to the catalytic effects they are aiming for. With this goal in mind, he is working on new electrospinning processes that enable precise production of the fiber structures required in each case.
“State-of-the-art electrospinning technologies are successfully used on the campus of the University of Bayreuth in very different research areas. I am very pleased that I can use this excellent infrastructure and work with scientists from very different fields – from inorganic chemistry to engineering. Together we want to advance the development of innovative hydrogen technologies, ”says the fellow of the Bayreuth Humboldt Center.
Source: Bayreuth University
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