Dr. Christoph Bäumer investigates catalysts for the electrolysis of water. These are materials that can accelerate the splitting of water into hydrogen and oxygen, thus contributing to the efficient storage of renewable electrical energy. He uses the Oxide Cluster at the Peter Grünberg Institute (PGI-7) for this purpose. Headed by Prof. Regina Dittmann, researchers produce and investigate special materials at the facility that serve as model systems for applications in information technology and for energy storage. The materials are wafer-thin layers of compounds containing oxygen (oxides). These often have special electronic properties. Because impurities from the ambient air can change the surface of the thin layers, all processes at the facility must take place in an ultra-high vacuum. The pressure here is more than 10 billion times lower than the ambient pressure.
What are you researching right now, Mr Bäumer?
Dr. Christoph Bäumer works as Marie-Skłodowska-Curie Fellow of the EU at RWTH Aachen University, Forschungszentrum Jülich and Stanford University in the USA.
“I’m looking for new materials to store energy using hydrogen. In concrete terms, these are catalysts for the electrolysis of water, that is, substances that accelerate the splitting of water into hydrogen and oxygen. Materials used so far, such as platinum, are expensive and rare or too sensitive for continuous operation. We are investigating cheaper alternatives such as nickel oxides, which we manufacture and test at our Jülich plant. We want to understand the processes on the surface of the materials at the atomic level in order to develop stable and efficient catalysts.”
Photos: Forschungszentrum Jülich/Sascha Kreklau