ERC Starting Grant for Dr. Dominic Bresser

21. Februar 2022

ERC Starting Grant for Dr. Dominic Bresser – Charging batteries faster thanks to innovative anode materials

For the development of innovative electrode materials in the RACER research project, young researcher Dr. Dominic Bresser was awarded with a Starting Grant by the European Research Council (ERC).

Long-lasting batteries that can be charged quickly are the key to a breakthrough in climate-friendly electromobility. How much energy a battery can absorb and how long it takes to charge is physically limited, among other things, by the atomic structure and the elements in the electrode material. In the research project RACER (“Highly Redox-active Atomic Centers in Electrode Materials for Rechargeable Batteries”), the previous limits are now to be expanded with the help of innovative material concepts.

“We use a completely new storage mechanism for the charge carriers,” says Dr. Dominic Bresser, who heads the project at the Helmholtz Institute Ulm (HIU). “In addition to the typical reversible storage of ions as charge carriers in the crystal lattice of the electrode material, we now also use controlled redox reactions at the atomic level.” As a result, the energy density can be significantly increased while at the same time having a high rapid charging capability.

Dominic Bresser’s research group, Electrochemical Energy Storage Materials, recently published a “Proof of Concept” for the project: “At the beginning we want to understand the underlying mechanism in much more detail. So, the first step is experimenting with our proof of concept material iron-doped cerium oxide. In this case, iron is the highly redox-active center,” says Bresser, adding: “We want see if we can replace iron by other elements and the effect of this substitution. In fact, we have a couple of preliminary data which shows that we can still achieve the same mechanism also with other elements.”

But we would still stick to cerium oxide as the host structure, with all its characteristics; advantages and disadvantages. For example, cerium is considered a rare earth element, although it should be mentioned that cerium is as abundant as copper at the large scale. “Accordingly, the second step will be to replace the cerium by, ideally, much more abundant elements such as titanium or manganese and transfer the mechanism for the cerium oxide host structures to such other metal oxide host structures that are ideally based on very abundant metals, environmentally friendly, non-toxic, cost-efficient and so on. This is the major target of this project,” says Dr. Bresser.

Three ERC Starting Grants for Karlsruhe Institute of Technology

For his research, Dr. Dominic Bresser received a Starting Grant from the European Research Council (ERC). With the award for the young researcher, the ERC has already awarded three Starting Grants to KIT in the 2021 funding round. The selected projects will be supported for five years with up to 1.5 million euros each.

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