International ECOSTORE project
The ECOSTORE project is now commencing under the coordination of scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Geesthacht with four million euro of funding from the European Commission. Several European and Japanese Institutes and companies are participating. In the course of this four year project, novel materials based on new types of boron and nitrogen compounds, will be investigated for hydrogen storage and batteries.
Are being researched in the new EU project: hydrogen storage systems based on metal hydride. Photo: HZG/ Christian Schmid
Materials scientists in the ECOSTORE project are searching for the ideal energy storage material. It should safely store a large amount of energy within a small space, and easily release it again, when required. It should also rapidly recharge fast under moderate conditions, allow as many recharges as needed for the lifetime of the application. And of course be commercially competitive.
Dr. Klaus Taube, the Helmholtz scientist and ECOSTORE coordinator states: “We are on a good track with our solid state storage materials based on new types of boron and nitrogen compounds. The compounds we are going to investigate, are light-weight and have the potential to store large amounts of hydrogen within a small volume. These so-called hydrides take up more hydrogen than highpressure gas stores, as they bind the hydrogen chemically”.
Energy storage in hydrogen and batteries
In hydrides, hydrogen is stored stored with great volumetric efficiency insideto their hydride crystal lattice. However, the temperature at which the hydrogen is subsequently released is at present more than 300 degrees Celsius again, which is are still too high for practical use.
As Klaus Taube, explains, “One objective of ECOSTORE is, therefore to reduce the working temperature of hydride storage to below 200 degrees Celsius. Surprisingly, some of these materials can also be used in batteries. Certain boron hydrides demonstrate very high conductivity at room temperature and could, therefore, potentially replace the liquid ionic conductors currently used in lithium batteries with simpler compounds“. Therefore, another objective is to increase the efficiency and the long-term stability of these battery components.”
In the scope of their doctoral theses, twelve scientists, financed by the project, will carry out research on these new materials and test prototypes of hydrogen stores and batteries. Klaus Taube comments, “This is the first project which will create synergies through cooperative research on novel materials for both hydrogen storage and batteries”.
The participants at the first meeting of the project
Twelve renowned research institutes and industrial partners from across Europe are cooperating in the ECOSTORE project. In addition two Japanese universities will be associated partners, bringing their own financial resources to the project.
Dr Taube adds, “In Japan there is great expertise in the field of hydrogen and battery technology. For example, a Japanese car manufacturer has already announced that it plans to launch a commercial hydrogen vehicle in Japan in 2015. In the field of battery research, Europe is presently attempting to catch up with the competitive edge of Japanese companies. We will, therefore, most certainly profit from the exchange of knowhow between the Japanese and European scientists”.
ECOSTORE: A Marie Curie Action
ECOSTORE - "Novel Complex Metal Hydrides for Efficient and Compact Storage of Renewable Energy as Hydrogen and Electricity" is a so-called Marie Curie Initial Training Network. With its Marie Curie Actions, the European Commission supports junior scientists by providing special training programmes in each funded project. These include an intensive exchange of scientists between the partners. Moreover, it actively supports the recruitment of young scientists. For instance, through ECOSTORE, three postdoctoral scientists will find employment with the three industrial partners. (cf. list).
The European Commission provides a total of four million euro of funding for the project, of which 700,000 euro will go to the Helmholtz Zentrum Geesthacht. The kick-off meeting, took place on the 19th and 20th of November in Geesthacht.
Abteilung Nanotechnologie EU-Projects of the Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht