Severo Ochoa Programme RESEARCH AREAS: ENERGY

As part of its commitment to a low-carbon society, the EU has set ambitious objectives in energy. The development of novel nano materials, technologies and devices is key to solving the many technological challenges in this area. Again graphene plays a leading role, being explored at the ICN2 as a means of boosting the lifetime of solar cells, and improving energy storage and charge transfer in flow batteries. But physical phenomena like ferro-, piezo- and flexoelectricities are also being studied in this context as a means of achieving superior performances and taking lead out of the equation.

Some key outcomes of our 2014-2017 Severo Ochoa programme so far include:

The ICN2 has demonstrated the feasibility of using graphene nanofluids as liquid electrodes for fast energy storage in a new type of flow cell. This line of research has given rise to a patent, a spinoff company and the first published article on this topic.

Currently receiving much attention for their potential as heat transfer fluids, the ICN2 went beyond the study of their thermal conductivity to explore their electroactivity and energy-storage capability. It did so for both graphene and graphene-based hybrids dispersed in electrolyte fluids, discovering their ultrafast capability to transfer charge, a property that makes them very attractive for energy storage.

The ICN2 is the lead coordinator of the COST Action StableNextSol co-funded under the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. This project brings together over 460 members from 35 countries and 22 sectors related to the lifetime and stability of organic and perovskite solar cells.

So far this project has produced a set of best practices and procedures for the correct evaluation of the stability of thin-film solar cells.