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- Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg appoints Olga KasianDr. Olga Kasian is investigating why catalysts for hydrogen production by water electrolysis are limited in efficiency. The chemist has now accepted a professorship at the Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU). The W2 professorship is entitled "Materials for Electrochemical Energy Conversion" and is located at the Faculty of Engineering.
- Green hydrogen: Why do certain catalysts improve in operation?Crystalline cobalt arsenide is a catalyst that generates oxygen during electrolytic water splitting in the production of hydrogen. The material is considered to be a model system for an important group of catalysts whose performance increases under certain conditions in the course of electrolysis. Now a HZB-team headed by Marcel Risch has observed at BESSY II how two simultaneous mechanisms are responsible for this. The catalytic activity of the individual catalysis centres decreases in the course of electrolysis, but at the same time the morphology of the catalyst layer also changes. Under favourable conditions, considerably more catalysis centres come into contact with the electrolyte as a result, so that the overall performance of the catalyst increases.
- Solar hydrogen for Antarctica - study shows advantages of thermally coupled approachA team from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin, Ulm University, and Heidelberg University has now investigated how hydrogen can be produced at the South Pole using sunlight, and which method is the most promising. Their conclusion: in extremely cold regions, it can be considerably more efficient to attach the PV modules directly to the electrolyser, i.e. to thermally couple them. This is because the waste heat from the PV modules increases the efficiency of electrolysis in this environment. The results of this study, which has now been published in Energy & Environmental Science, are also relevant for other cold regions on Earth, such as Alaska, Canada, and high mountain regions, for example. In these places, solar hydrogen could replace fossil fuels such as oil and petrol.
- CatLab - Starting signal for a new generation of catalystsThe Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the Max Planck Society (MPG) are launching CatLab, their new joint catalysis research centre in Berlin. The inauguration ceremony took place on June 21st in the presence of Dr. Stefan Kaufmann, the Innovation Officer for Green Hydrogen at the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and Member of the federal Bundestag. High-ranking representatives from science, government, and industry took part.
- How quantum dots can "talk" to each other
A group at HZB has worked out theoretically how the communication between two quantum dots can be influenced with light. The team led by Annika Bande also shows ways to control the transfer of information or energy from one quantum dot to another. To this end, the researchers calculated the electronic structure of two nanocrystals, which act as quantum dots. With the results, the movement of electrons in quantum dots can be simulated in real time.
- Renske van der Veen heads new department "Atomic Dynamics in Light-Energy Conversion"From June 2021, Dr. Renske van der Veen is setting up a new research group at HZB. The chemist is an expert in time-resolved X-ray spectroscopy and electron microscopy and studies catalytic processes that enable the conversion of solar energy into chemical energy.
- Green hydrogen: "Rust" as a photoanode and its limitsMetal oxides such as rust are intriguing photoelectrode materials for the production of green hydrogen with sunlight. They are cheap and abundant, but in spite of decades of research, progress has been limited. A team at HZB, together with partners from Ben Gurion University and the Technion, Israel, has now analysed the optoelectronic properties of rust (haematite) and other metal oxides in unprecedented detail. Their results show that the maximum achievable efficiency of haematite electrodes is significantly lower than previously assumed. The study demonstrates ways to assess new photoelectrode materials more realistically.
- Instrument at BESSY II shows how light activates MoS2 layers to become catalystsThin films of molybdenum and sulfur belong to a class of materials that can be considered for use as photocatalysts. Inexpensive catalysts such as these are needed to produce hydrogen as a fuel using solar energy. However, they are still not very efficient as catalysts. A new instrument at the Helmholtz-Berlin Zentrum’s BESSY II now shows how a light pulse alters the surface properties of the thin film and activates the material as a catalyst.
- Solar hydrogen: Photoanodes made of α-SnWO4 promise high efficienciesPhotoanodes made of metal oxides are considered to be a viable solution for the production of hydrogen with sunlight. α-SnWO4 has optimal electronic properties for photoelectrochemical water splitting with sunlight, but corrodes easily. Protective layers of nickel oxide prevent corrosion, but reduce the photovoltage and limit the efficiency. Now a team at HZB has investigated at BESSY II what happens at the interface between the photoanode and the protective layer. Combined with theoretical methods, the measurement data reveal the presence of an oxide layer that impairs the efficiency of the photoanode.
- HZB and Humboldt University agree to set up a catalysis laboratoryHelmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (HU) have signed a cooperation agreement with the aim of establishing a joint research laboratory for catalysis in the IRIS research building of HU in Adlershof. The IRIS research building offers optimal conditions for the research and development of complex material systems.
- CatLab - A beacon for future hydrogen research
The Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin and two Max Planck institutes are building a catalysis research platform named CatLab to achieve leaps of innovation in hydrogen research
Hydrogen as a sustainable fuel source will play a key role in our energy system for the future. Hydrogen-based chemical energy media are needed as long-term storage repositories in the energy system and are crucial for climate-neutral design of industrial processes. The German federal government's National Hydrogen Strategy clearly identifies the great need for research in this area, which will be the foundation for breakthroughs and leaps in innovation. The Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and two Max Planck institutes – the Fritz Haber Institute (FHI) and the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Energy Conversion (MPI CEC) – are pooling their expertise for this purpose and together with Humboldt Universität zu Berlin they are jointly establishing the CatLab research platform in Berlin. CatLab is intended as a bridge between pure research and industry, and is being funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) with more than 50 million euros. In total, the five-year development project will cost about 100 million euros.
- Green hydrogen: buoyancy-driven convection in the electrolyteHydrogen produced by using solar energy could contribute to a climate neutral energy system of the future. But there are hurdles on the way from laboratory scale to large-scale implementation. A team at HZB has now presented a method to visualise convection in the electrolyte and to reliably simulate it in advance with a multiphysics model. The results can support the design and scaling up of this technology and have been published in the renowned journal Energy and Environmental Science.
- Solar hydrogen: Let’s consider the stability of photoelectrodes
As part of an international collaboration, a team at the HZB has examined the corrosion processes of high-quality BiVO4 photoelectrodes using different state-of-the-art characterisation methods. The result is the first operando stability study of high-purity BiVO4 photoanodes during the photoelectrochemical oxygen evolution reaction (OER). This work shows how the stability of photoelectrodes and catalysts can be compared and enhanced in the future.
- Best electrolyser/photovoltaics combinations demonstrated in test fieldsOne of the most promising ways to increase the availability of solar energy is to convert excess production into hydrogen. The PECSYS project has investigated the best possible material and technology combinations to facilitate such an operation.
- Facts, Research, Expertise: Helmholtz Climate Initiative starts new website
The Helmholtz Climate Initiative has intensively reworked its website. Starting immediately, the Initiative now offers articles, background knowledge, fact sheets, and much more on the current state of climate research at www.helmholtz-klima.de. In a new expert inquiry, the Initiative connects with Helmholtz climate scientists. The Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) contributes research on the conversion of CO2 into fuels and basic materials to reach the goal of "Net Zero 2050".
- Catalysts: Efficient hydrogen production via structure
Regeneratively produced hydrogen is considered the ecological raw material of the future. In order to produce it efficiently by electrolysis of water, researchers today also investigate perovskite oxides. The Journal of Physics: Energy invited Dr. Marcel Risch from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) to outline the current state of research.
- FOCUS TOPIC: From MIT to Wannsee
For Marcel Risch, it feels like a homecoming: as a student, he had previously run experiments at the Berlin particle accelerator BESSY II. After working for several years at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and then in Göttingen, he is now establishing his own group at HZB – supported by funding from the European Research Council.
- Development of a miniaturised EPR spectrometerSeveral research institutions are developing a miniaturized electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) device with industrial partner Bruker to investigate semiconductor materials, solar cells, catalysts and electrodes for fuel cells and batteries. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is funding the "EPR-on-a-Chip" or EPRoC project with 6.7 million euros. On June 3, 2019, the kick-off meeting took place at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin.
- Energy for Antarctica: solar hydrogen as an alternative to crude oil?Volkswagen Foundation funds feasibility study by HZB experts in artificial photosynthesis
The sun shines at the South Pole as well – and in summer almost around the clock. Instead of supplying research stations in the Antarctic with crude oil for producing the electricity and heating they need, solar hydrogen could be produced from sunlight in summer as an alternative. Hydrogen has a high energy density, is easy to store, and can be used as fuel when needed later without polluting the environment. An intriguingly simple idea - but one that raises many questions. Matthias May (HZB) and Kira Rehfeld (Heidelberg University) now want to examine how feasible this kind of solar fuel generation might be in Antarctica. The project is receiving financial support from the Volkswagen Foundation.
- Posterprize for HZB postdoc Prince Saurabh BassiDr. Prince Saurabh Bassi was awarded the poster prize at “International Bunsen-Discussion-Meeting on Fundamentals and Applications of (Photo) Electrolysis for Efficient Energy Storage”. He is a postdoctoral fellow working with Prof. Sebastian Fiechter in the Institute for Solar Fuels.
- Copper oxide photocathodes: laser experiment reveals location of efficiency lossSolar cells and photocathodes made of copper oxide might in theory attain high efficiencies for solar energy conversion. In practice, however, large losses occur. Now a team at the HZB has been able to use a sophisticated femtosecond laser experiment to determine where these losses take place: not so much at the interfaces, but instead far more in the interior of the crystalline material. These results provide indications on how to improve copper oxide and other metal oxides for applications as energy materials.
- Catalyst research for solar fuels: Amorphous molybdenum sulphide works bestEfficient and inexpensive catalysts will be required for production of hydrogen from sunlight. Molybdenum sulphides are considered good candidates. A team at HZB has now explained what processes take place in molybdenum sulphides during catalysis and why amorphous molybdenum sulphide works best. The results have been published in the journal ACS Catalysis.
- Marcel Risch to form research group at the HZB with an ERC Starting GrantThe Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) will be further strengthened in its research on solar fuels. Dr. Marcel Risch, who recently obtained an ERC Starting Grants, is moving from Georg August Universität, Göttingen to the HZB. Starting in March 2019, the materials physicist will set up his own research group to analyse and improve catalytic materials for water splitting.
- HZB to participate in two Clusters of ExcellenceScientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) are researching novel systems of materials that can convert or store energy. The HZB will now also be contributing this expertise to the "MATH+" and "UniSysCat" Excellence Clusters being coordinated by Berlin universities. Over the next three years, the Helmholtz Association will fund HZB's participation under the Helmholtz Excellence Network with a total of 1.8 million euros.
- Climate change: How could artificial photosynthesis contribute to limiting global warming?
If CO2 emissions do not fall fast enough, then CO2 will have to be removed from the atmosphere in the future to limit global warming. Not only could planting new forests and biomass contribute to this, but new technologies for artificial photosynthesis as well. An HZB physicist and a researcher at the University of Heidelberg have estimated how much surface area such solutions would require. Although artificial photosynthesis could bind CO2 more efficiently than the natural model, there are still no large modules that are stable over the long term. The team published their calculations in "Earth System Dynamics".
- Two new Helmholtz Young Investigator Groups will start in 2019
Starting in 2019, Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) will be establishing two new Helmholtz Young Investigator Groups and thereby strengthening its competencies in catalysis research. The Helmholtz Association will be funding each group with 150,000 euros annually over a period of five years, and HZB will be matching that sum with its own funds.
- Ernst Eckhard Koch Prize and Synchrotron Radiation Innovation AwardOn December 6, 2018, the Association of Friends of Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin awarded the Ernst Eckhard Koch Prize for an outstanding doctoral thesis in the field of research with synchrotron radiation at the HZB or at DESY as well as the European Innovation-Award on Synchrotron Radiation. The award ceremonies took place during the 10th User Meeting at the HZB.
- Nanodiamonds as photocatalystsDiamond nanomaterials are considered hot candidates for low-cost photocatalysts. They can be activated by light and can then accelerate certain reactions between water and CO2 and produce carbon-neutral "solar fuels". The EU project DIACAT has now doped such diamond materials with boron and shown at BESSY II how this could significantly improve the photocatalytic properties.
- Hanwha Q-Cells Quantsol Awards 2018Six young researchers received a Hanwha Q-Cells Quantsol Award for their self-developed Photovoltaics. This award is presented by the organizers of the international summer school Quantsol together with the industry.
- New world record for direct solar water-splitting efficiencyHydrogen will play a central role as a storage medium in sustainable energy systems. An international team of researchers has now succeeded in raising the efficiency of producing hydrogen from direct solar water-splitting to a record 19 per cent. They did so by combining a tandem solar cell of III-V semiconductors with a catalyst of rhodium nanoparticles and a crystalline titanium dioxide coating. Teams from the California Institute of Technology, the University of Cambridge, Technische Universität Ilmenau, and the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE participated in the development work. One part of the experiments took place at the Institute for Solar Fuels in the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin.
- Kostenloser Download: HZB-Forschung in Spektrum KompaktNoch bis zum 9. Juli steht das Spektrum Kompakt "Energiewende", herausgegeben vom Spektrum-Verlag, zum kostenlosen Download zur Verfügung. Darin enthalten ist eine 13-seitige Sonderveröffentlichung des HZB, aufgeteilt in drei Beiträge. Nach Ablauf des kostenlosen Zugangs wird der Download des Hefts auf den Spektrum-Seiten 4,99 € kosten.
- Solar–to-hydrogen conversion: nanostructuring increases efficiency of metal-free photocatalysts by factor elevenPolymeric carbon nitrides exhibit a catalytic effect in sunlight that can be used for the production of hydrogen from solar energy. However, the efficiency of these metal-free catalysts is extremely low. A team at the Tianjin University in China, in collaboration with a group at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin, has increased the catalytic efficiency of these polymeric carbon nitrides by a factor eleven through a simple process resulting in a larger surface area. The paper was published in the journal Energy & Environmental Science.
- Guest researcher at HZB: Bessel Prize Winner Benjamin RotenbergProf. Benjamin Rotenberg has received a Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Research Prize from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation for 2018 and will be spending time regularly as a guest researcher at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin. Rotenberg is a researcher of the Centre National de Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) and heads a research group in Sorbonne Université in Paris. He works in an interdisciplinary area spanning physics and chemistry for modelling transport processes in materials, at interfaces, and in electrolytes.
- HZB launches Helmholtz International Research School in collaboration with IsraelOn 1st February 2018, the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) has established the Helmholtz International Research School HI-SCORE, which will be oriented towards solar energy research. To accomplish this, HZB is collaborating with the Weizmann Institute in Rehovot, the Israeli Institute of Technology (Technion) in Haifa, and three Israeli universities as well as universities in Berlin and Potsdam.
- Miniaturised spectrometer wins first prize at international conferenceA Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) team together with experts at Ulm University and the University of Stuttgart have designed an electron spin resonance spectrometer that fits a box 10 cm on a side. The team presented the device to a technology jury at the international IEEE Sensors 2017 conference in Glasgow, Scotland and received the first prize of the best live demonstration award . ESR spectroscopy is extremely useful for research in energy-related materials such as catalysts, solar cells, and battery electrodes
- Solar hydrogen production by artificial leafs:Scientists analysed how a special treatment improves cheap metal oxide photoelectrodes
- 1130 Besucher bei der Langen Nacht der Wissenschaften am Standort WannseeDas HZB begrüßte zur „Klügsten Nacht des Jahres“ am 24. Juni 2017 mehr als tausend Gäste, darunter viele Kinder und Jugendliche. Quirliges Treiben auf unserer Wissenschaftsstraße, großer Andrang bei den Mitmach-Experimenten und beim Schülerlabor, interessierte Fragen zum Forschungsreaktor: Die Lange Nacht der Wissenschaften am HZB war bunt und facettenreich – und bot für jeden Geschmack etwas. Hier haben wir die schönsten Momente zusammengestellt.
- New lab for electrochemical interfaces at BESSY IIThe Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) is establishing a joint lab together with the Max Planck Society (MPS) to study electrochemical phenomenon at solid/liquid interfaces. The Berlin Joint Lab for Electrochemical Interfaces, or BElChem for short, will employ X-rays from BESSY II to analyse materials for renewable energy production.
- Intersolar Europe in Munich: HZB research meets solar industryAt the major international photovoltaics exhibition from 31 May to 2 June 2017, Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) will be exhibiting solar energy research projects and presenting opportunities for industrial cooperation in the field of photovoltaics (PV).
- Nanodiamonds as energy materials: tuning the functionalitiesAn international team has shed light onto interactions between nanodiamonds and water molecules. Experiments at synchrotron sources showed how hydrogenated groups on nanodiamond surfaces change the network of hydrogen bonds in the aqueous environment and may potentially influence the catalytic properties of nanodiamonds, for instance for the production of solar fuels from CO2 and light.
- Registration open for Quantsol Summer SchoolNewcomers and young scientists in solar energy research can register now for the 10. International Summer School on Photovoltaics and New Concepts of Quantum Solar Energy Conversion (Quantsol). The school is organized by the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin and the Technical University of Ilmenau and will be held from 3. to 10. September 2017 in Hirschegg, Kleinwalsertal, Austria. Applications can be submitted through the school’s homepage until May 21st, 2017.
- Foundation stone laying ceremony for an energy research laboratory on Wannsee campusA milestone has been reached in the expansion of energy materials research at the Lise-Meitner Campus: on 23 March 2017, the celebration was held for laying the foundation stone of a laboratory building that will offer a multitude of methods for synthesising and characterising energy materials.
- Finding and understanding low cost catalysts: it all comes down to the ironA team has investigated more than one hundred iron-nickel catalysts containing various admixtures of chromium. At BESSY II, they also analysed the configurations of the electrons in the individual elements. The team showed that an increasing proportion of chromium primarily influences the energy levels of the iron electrons, which are important for the catalytic effect. The results of this high-throughput study will assist the knowledge-based search for better specific catalysts.
- Solar based hydrogen generation: EU-project PECSYS aiming for technological breakthroughDevelopment of demonstrators measuring up to ten square meters in area planned
- Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin is establishing a Helmholtz Young Investigator Group for electrochemical conversion of carbon dioxideDr. Matthew T. Mayer from the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland, will be putting together a Helmholtz Young Investigator Group in the field of energy materials research at HZB. He will be researching into how carbon dioxide and water can be converted electrochemically into hydrocarbons such as methane and methanol using renewable energies. Matthew Mayer will receive 300,000 euros per year over a period of five years for establishing and running his Young Investigator Group.
- Wege zur CO2-freien EnergieversorgungSieben Helmholtz-Zentren arbeiten an Systemlösungen für die künftige Energieversorgung
- Research for Germany’s energy transition: EMIL@BESSY II approved for the Kopernikus “Power-to-X” projectThe storage of excess solar and wind power is one of the greatest challenges in Germany’s energy transition. To address this, the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) has created the “Power-to-X” (P2X) project under its Kopernikus programme. P2X will advance research into converting electrical energy from the sun and wind into basic chemical compounds, gaseous energy media, and fuels. A total of 17 research institutions, 26 industrial enterprises, as well as three non-governmental organisations are involved, and the BMBF is funding the first development phase of the project at a level of 30 million Euros. The Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin will participate in the planned research, using the advanced synthesis capabilities and the BESSY II synchrotron-based X-ray characterization tools at the recently inaugurated EMIL@BESSY II laboratory complex.
- HZB and ANSTO have extended their Memorandum of UnderstandingAdvancing energy materials research together
- EMIL, a 2000-square-metre laboratory complex, has opened for research into new energy materialsAfter three years of construction, the Energy Materials In-Situ Laboratory (EMIL) is now open. The new laboratory complex for researching energy materials, annexed to BESSY II in Berlin-Adlershof, was ceremonially inaugurated with the involvement of the Federal Minister of Research, Johanna Wanka, on 31 October 2016. At the new laboratory, which offers direct access to the brilliant light of the electron storage ring BESSY II, researchers are looking to synthesise and analyse materials for future renewable energy generation. Around 20 million euros were invested in the construction of the laboratory.
- Two Freigeist Fellows interweave their research at HZBTwo Freigeist Fellows are conducting research at the HZB Institute for Methods of Material Development through support received from the Volkswagen Foundation. Theoretical chemist Dr. Annika Bande is modelling fast electron processes, while Dr. Tristan Petit is investigating carbon nanoparticles. Annika Bande has now been awarded an ancillary grant of an additional 150,000 Euros from the Volkswagen Foundation to fund another doctoral student position for three years. The doctoral research will connect the two Freigeist research projects with one another.
- Monash University awards three HZB-scientist with adjunct professorshipsCooperation between Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and Monash University, Melbourne, Australia, is thriving. Now, Monash University has awarded three HZB-scientists with adjunct professorships: Prof. Klaus Lips, Dr. Alexander Schnegg and Prof. Emad Aziz have been working several years already with Prof. Leone Spiccia, an internationally renowned chemist at Monash University, on energy materials science.
- Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin at European Photovoltaic Solar Energy ConferenceOn 23rd June, Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin and the ZSW jointly organised the IW-CIGSTech 7 as a side event of the EU-PVSEC Conference in Munich. About 150 international attendees, mainly from Europe, Asia and North America came together to get an extensive overview of the latest CIGS scientific and technological developments in CIGS thin-film solar cells and their industrial applications worldwide.
- Helmholtz Innovation Labs: HySPRINT at HZBHZB will be setting up the new Helmholtz HySPRINT Innovation Lab for jointly developing new combinations of materials and processes in energy applications with commercial partners. Silicon and metal-organic perovskite crystals will be the centre point of the Lab’s work. The Helmholtz Association is supporting the project for the next five years with 1.9 million Euros from its Initiative and Networking Fund, with additional contributions from HZB itself as well as from industry.
- Intersolar Europe / EU PVSEC / 7th IW-CIGSTech Workshop 2016 – Munich, 20-24 June 2016We cordially invite you to visit the HZB booth during Intersolar Europe - The world’s leading exhibition for the solar industry and its partners from 22 to 24 June 2016 in Munich, Germany. Also the online registration is open for the EU-PVSEC and we invite you to join the 7th IW-CIGSTech Workshop and Dinner on 23 June 2016, a joint meeting from HZB and ZSW organised as a parallel event of the EU-PVSEC.
- Registration open: Quantsol Summer School on solar energy conversionRegistration for Quantsol is now open! It is already the ninth time that the International Summer School on Photovoltaics and New Concepts of Quantum Solar Energy Conversion (Quantsol) will be held in September 2016 in Hirschegg, Kleinwalsertal, Austria. The school is organized by the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin and the Technical University of Ilmenau. Applications can be submitted through the school’s homepage until May 31st, 2016.
- Riddle of missing efficiency in zinc oxide-based dye-sensitised solar cells solved.To convert solar energy into electricity or solar fuels, you need specialised systems of materials such as those consisting of organic and inorganic thin films. Processes at the junction of these films play a decisive role in converting the solar energy. Now a team at HZB headed by Prof. Emad Aziz has used ultra-short laser pulses and observed for the first time directly how boundary states form between the organic dye molecules and a zinc-oxide semiconductor layer, temporarily trapping the charge carriers. This explains why zinc-oxide (ZnO) dye-sensitised solar cells have not yet met expectations. The results evolved from collaboration between Monash University (Australia) and Joint Lab partners Helmholtz Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the Freie Universität Berlin (FU Berlin). They have now been published online by Nature in the open access magazine Scientific Reports.
- Young scientist award for Oliver SupplieThe Deutsche Gesellschaft für Kristallzüchtung und Kristallwachstum (DGKK) presented Oliver Supplie with the DGKK Young Scientist Award on 16 March 2016. Supplie works at the TU Ilmenau and at the HZB, and accepted the prize worth 2,500 euros during the “1st German Czechoslovak Conference on Crystal Growth”. The DGKK awarded the prize in recognition of Oliver Supplie’s outstanding work in improving our understanding of interfaces between III-V semiconductors and silicon. This is of great importance for producing high efficiency components, for example.
- Solar fuels:a refined protective layer for the “artificial leaf”A team at the HZB Institute for Solar Fuels has developed a process for providing sensitive semiconductors for solar water splitting (“artificial leaves”) with an organic, transparent protective layer. The extremely thin protective layer made of carbon chains is stable, conductive, and covered with catalysing nanoparticles of metal oxides. These accelerate the splitting of water when irradiated by light. The team was able to produce a hybrid silicon-based photoanode structure that evolves oxygen at current densities above 15 mA/cm2. The results have now been published in Advanced Energy Materials.
- Marie Curie Fellowship for Aafke BronnebergAafke Bronneberg has been working as a postdoc at the HZB Institute for Solar Fuels since summer 2013. The physicist has now received one of the sought-after European Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions Research Fellowships. The fellowship supports outstanding scientists in their post-doctoral phase. It provides for and anticipates a change in research institution and country. Aafke Bronneberg will therefore join the Dutch Institute for Fundamental Energy Research (DIFFER) in Eindhoven, Netherlands beginning February 2017.
- Matthias May mit dem Doktorandenpreis der Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft ausgezeichnetDr. Matthias May erforschte in seiner Promotion am Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB), wie man mit Sonnenlicht noch effizienter Wasser spalten und in Form von Wasserstoff speichern kann. Für seine Arbeit erhielt er am 27. Januar 2016 den mit 5.000 Euro dotierten Doktorandenpreis der Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft. May forscht seit Januar 2016 als Postdoktorand an der Universität Cambridge.
- An alternative to platinum: iron-nitrogen compounds as catalysts in grapheneTeams at HZB and TU Darmstadt have produced a cost-effective catalyst material for fuel cells using a new preparation process which they analysed in detail. It consists of iron-nitrogen complexes embedded in tiny islands of graphene only a few nanometres in diameter. It is only the FeN4 centres that provide the excellent catalytic efficiency – approaching that of platinum. The results are interesting for solar fuels research as well and have been published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.
- MacQueen is researching into optical energy converters for generating fuels: Funding through the Helmholtz Postdoc ProgrammeDr. Rowan W. MacQueen will come in spring 2016 to the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and will receive funding for his research project through the Helmholtz Postdoc Programme. He will be studying the optoelectronic properties at the boundaries of thin organic layers to oxides. These are relevant in developing optical energy converters for generating fuels. The “Helmholtz Postdoc Programme” will fund the Australian researcher with 100,000 Euro annually for a period of up to three years.
- Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin expands its solar fuel research: Kathrin Aziz-Lange starts with her new Helmholtz Young Investigator GroupDr. Kathrin Maria Aziz-Lange has won approval to set up a Helmholtz Young Investigator Group (YIG) addressing the topic of solar fuels at Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB). She will receive 250,000 Euros in annual support for a period of five years, with half from the Initiative and Networking Fund of the Helmholtz Association and half financed by HZB. The YIG will investigate materials that enable water splitting using sunlight and thereby store solar energy chemically in form of hydrogen.
- Distinguished Lectures at HZB: Prof. T. Krauss will talk about Photovoltaics and Photonic nanostructuresSolar power has the highest potential among all renewable energy sources, it is clean and practically inexhaustible. Despite the already very high performance of silicon solar cells with 25% efficiency and low costs, a lot of research is yet required in order to realise the vision of a solar-powered society. Can we reduce module cost by integrating solar cells into buildings? Can we improve efficiency without increasing cost, by adding low-cost materials such as perovskites? What role can photonic nanostructures play to help control the flow of light?
- New class of materials for organic electronics:Joint project details charge transport in polymeric carbon nitride for first time
Polymeric carbon nitride is an organic material with interesting optoelectronic properties. As an inexpensive photocatalyst, it can be used to facilitate water splitting using sunlight. Joint research by Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin, the University of Rostock, Freie Universität Berlin as well as other partners has now investigated for the first time how light creates charge carriers in this class of materials and established details about charge mobility and lifetimes. They discovered surprising characteristics in their investigations that provide prospects for new applications, in conjunction with graphene for example.
- Uppsala Berlin Joint Laboratory “Our willingness to cooperate is our strength”Great political interest for the new Uppsala Berlin Joint Laboratory (UBjL): On the 4th of November, Sweden’s ambassador in Germany, Dr. Lars Danielsson, came personally to the HZB where the UBjL is established for the inauguration of the joint project.
- Quantsol Sommerschule 2015 – erfolgreich im 8. JahrDie International Summer School on Photovoltaics and New Concepts of Quantum Solar Energy Conversion (Quantsol) fand vom 6. bis 13. September 2015 zum achten Mal in Folge im österreichischen Hirschegg/Kleinwalsertal statt. Über 50 angehende Solarforscherinnen und -forschern aus 19 Ländern besuchten die Veranstaltung.
- Hydrogen from sunlight: new efficiency record for artificial photosynthesisAn international team has now succeeded in considerably increasing the efficiency for direct solar water splitting. They are using a tandem solar cell whose surfaces have been selectively modified. The new record value is 14 % and thus considerably above the previous record of 12.4 % held by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in the USA, broken now for the first time in 17 years. Researchers from the Institute for Solar Fuels at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin, TU Ilmenau, the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE in Freiburg and the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) participated in the collaboration. The results have been published in Nature Communications.
- Freigeist Fellowship for Tristan PetitFor his project on nanodiamond materials and nanocarbon, Dr. Tristan Petit has been awarded a Freigeist Fellowship from the VolkswagenStiftung. The grant covers a five-year period and will enable him to establish his own research team. The VolkswagenStiftung is funding with these prestigious fellowships outstanding postdocs planning original research that transcends the bounds of their own field.
- Green solutions with diamond materials:Horizon 2020 invests 3.9 million Euro in research project to convert CO2 into fuels using sunlight and diamond materials
- Eine lange Nacht geballtes Wissen tankenFührungen an der Neutronenquelle, Experimente zur Energie für Groß und Klein, Licht-Show und vieles mehr
- Artificial photosynthesis: New, stable photocathode with great potentialA team at the HZB Institute for Solar Fuels has developed a new composite photocathode for generating hydrogen with high quantum efficiency using sunlight. This enables solar energy to be stored chemically.The photocathode consists of a thin film of chalcopyrite produced by HZB/PVcomB coated with a newly developed thin film of photoresistant titanium dioxide containing platinum nanoparticles. This layer does not only protect the chalcopyrite thin film from corrosion, it additionally acts as a catalyst to speed-up the formation of hydrogen as well as being a novel photodiode itself that even shows photoelectric current density and voltage comparable to those of a chalcopyrite-based thin film solar cell.
- Success rate 100 percent: HZB teams get third party funding for Solar Fuel projectsConverting solar energy and storing it in form of solar fuels, is one of the great scientific and technological challenges today to enable the transition into a more sustainable future powered by renewable energies. Scientists at the HZB institute for Solar Fuels are exploring new semiconductor materials in order to develop compact, robust and economic solutions for “artificial photosynthesis”. They have submitted four research projects in collaboration with partners from universities for funding by the German Research Association (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft DFG) in the Priority Programme „Fuels Produced Regeneratively Through Light-Driven Water Splitting” (SPP 1613). All four projects have now been approved for funding.
- Femto-snapshots of reaction kineticsBonding behaviour of iron pentacarbonyl experimentally decoded. Application as a catalyst for storing solar energy.
- Registration now open! Summer School QuantsolThe International Summer School Quantsol will inform on basics in photovoltaics and solar energy conversion
- Universität Bielefeld und HZB kooperieren zu Nanoschichten und komplexen MaterialienIm Februar 2015 haben Uni-Rektor Professor Dr.-Ing. Gerhard Sagerer, Uni-Kanzler Dr. Stephan Becker und die Geschäftsführer des HZB, Professorin Dr.-Ing. Anke Kaysser-Pyzalla und Thomas Frederking eine Vereinbarung über die Zusammenarbeit unterschrieben. Darin heißt es: „Die Kooperation soll zur Steigerung der wissenschaftlichen Exzellenz der Partner und zur Entwicklung regionaler Kompetenznetzwerke in Forschung, Lehre und Ausbildung des wissenschaftlichen Nachwuchses beitragen.“
- The path to artificial photosynthesisHZB researchers describe efficient manganese catalyst capable of converting light to chemical energy
- Jahrestagung des ForschungsVerbund Erneuerbare EnergienUnter dem Motto „Forschung für die Energiewende – Phasenübergänge aktiv gestalten“ fand am 7. und 8. November die Jahrestagung des ForschungsVerbund Erneuerbare Energien (FVEE) im Umweltforum Berlin statt. Vertreter aus Wissenschaft und Politik referierten über den proaktiven Umgang mit den technologischen, ökonomischen sowie politisch-gesellschaftlichen Herausforderungen der Energiewende.
- Deutsch-Türkische Universität am HZB zu GastVizerektor und Dekan der Naturwissenschaftlichen Fakultät besuchte mehrere Institute des HZB
- SAVE THE DATE: Adlershofer Science Forum on 11.11.2014 with Poster SessionPlease save the date to participate on 11. November 2014 at „Adlershof Science Forum“ (AFF) of Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and IGAFA. The event is meant to encourage exchange and communication between scientists working at Adlershof.
- German Society for Materials Science awards publication with HZB scientist as co-author
At its annual conference on September 22, 2014, the German Society for Materials Science (DGM), presented the Werner Köster Award for best publication. The work, whose authors include HZB scientist Dr. Michael Tovar and which has been published in the International Journal of Materials Research, examines the catalytic effect of vanadium pentoxide in propene synthesis from propane using spectroscopic, microscopic, and radiographic methods.
- Collecting light with artificial moth eyesScientists at EMPA in Zürich and University of Basel have developed a photoelectrochemical cell, recreating a moth’s eye to drastically increase its light collecting efficiency. The cell is made of cheap raw materials – iron and tungsten oxide. Analyses at BESSY II have revealed which chemical processes are useful to facilitate the absorption of light.
- Matthias May receives the Poster Prize at the Wilhelm und Else-Heraeus SeminarMatthias May, PhD student at the HZB Institute for Solar Fuels, was awarded a Poster Prize at the 562nd WE Heraeus Seminar “From Sunlight to Fuels” for his scientific work. From 11 to 16 May 2014, the participants of the WE Heraeus seminar concentrated intensively on the topic of “converting sunlight to hydrogen” and discussed new materials and processes for photovoltaic and (photo)catalytic applications.
Matthias May impressively demonstrated on his poster how water acts on differently prepared surfaces of III-V compound semiconductors and what interactions occur. It is highly important to study this effect in detail because the initial reaction with water is critical in the development of suitable materials and processes for solar fuels. May prepared two different surfaces of gallium and indium phosphide and then analyzed and compared the influence of water using photoelectron spectroscopy and in-situ reflection anisotropy spectroscopy.
- Das ganze Spektrum der Elektrokatalyse an einem TagAm 4. April 2014 lud das Helmholtz-Institut Erlangen-Nürnberg (HI ERN) zu seiner ersten wissenschaftlichen Veranstaltung ein. Beim internationalen Symposium „Recent Achievements and Future Trends in Electrocatalysis“ präsentierten zehn führende Wissenschaftler auf dem Gebiet der “Elektrokatalyse” von hochrangigen nationalen und internationalen Forschungsstätten den rund 90 Teilnehmern ihre Forschungsarbeiten.
- PECDEMO: sunlight to hydrogenWithin just three years, research partners of the EU project PECDEMO are planning on developing a practical system capable of converting over eight percent of solar energy into hydrogen. This could prove a real breakthrough in terms of practical applicability. Roel van de Krol, head of the HZB Institute for Solar Fuels, coordinates this global research project.
- The International Summer School Quantsol will inform on basics in photovoltaics and solar energy conversionRegistration now open! For the seventh time already young solar energy researchers are invited to attend the International Summer School on Photovoltaics and New Concepts of Quantum Solar Energy Conversion (Quantsol). The school will be held from September 7th to 14th, 2014 in Hirschegg, Kleinwalsertal, Austria. The school is organized by the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin together with the Technical University of Ilmenau. Application can be submitted through the school’s homepage until June 1st, 2014.
- Producing high performance solar cells at lower costDr. Sebastian Brückner graduates “summa cum laude” on solar cells made from III-V semiconductors
- Interview with MIT-Expert Harry TullerWhen can we hope to store solar energy in form of hydrogen with an efficient and cheap solution? What is motivating young people to get involved into science these days? And how does is come that many scientists really love to work, even after the official retirement age? Prof. Dr. Harry Tuller ist answering these questions in an interview, which you can listen here. And if you prefer to read his answers, you could download the transcript.
- The best of two worlds: Solar hydrogen production breakthroughUsing a simple solar cell and a photo anode made of a metal oxide, HZB and TU Delft scientists have successfully stored nearly five percent of solar energy chemically in the form of hydrogen. This is a major feat as the design of the solar cell is much simpler than that of the high-efficiency triple-junction cells based on amorphous silicon or expensive III-V semiconductors that are traditionally used for this purpose. The photo anode, which is made from the metal oxide bismuth vanadate (BiVO4) to which a small amount of tungsten atoms was added, was sprayed onto a piece of conducting glass and coated with an inexpensive cobalt phosphate catalyst. “Basically, we combined the best of both worlds,” explains Prof. Dr. Roel van de Krol, head of the HZB Institute for Solar Fuels: “We start with a chemically stable, low cost metal oxide, add a really good but simple silicon-based thin film solar cell, and – voilà – we’ve just created a cost-effective, highly stable, and highly efficient solar fuel device.”
- Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin stärkt Aktivitäten zur Forschung an solaren Brennstoffen in Zusammenarbeit mit der Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg
Gestern hat der Senat der Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft seine Zustimmung gegeben für die Ansiedlung eines neuen Helmholtz-Instituts zur Erforschung Erneuerbarer Energien in Erlangen und Nürnberg, kurz HI ERN. Das Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie (HZB) ist neben dem Forschungszentrum Jülich und der Universität Erlangen und Nürnberg einer der Kooperationspartner und wird seine Expertise auf dem Gebiet der Dünnschicht-Photovoltaik in das neue Institut einbringen.
- International summer school Quantsol conveys basics of photovoltaics and solar energy conversionFor the sixth year in a row, future solar researchers are invited to attend the HZB’s International Summer School on Photovoltaics and New Concepts of Quantum Solar Energy Conversion – Quantsol. The summer school program is scheduled for September 8th through the 15th in Hirschegg, Austria, and has been organized jointly by the Helmholtz Centre Berlin and Ilmenau Technical University. All interested parties are welcome to apply before May 26, 2013.