Dr. Anna Mechler - Electrocatalysis
|B.Sc. (Applied Science)||Bergische Universität Wuppertal (2005-2008)|
|M.Sc. (Materialwissenschaften) ||Universität Osnabrück (2008-2010)|
|Promotion||MPI für Eisenforschung, IMPRS SurMat / Ruhr-Universität Bochum (2011-2014)|
|Postdoc||Université Montpellier, Frankreich (2014-2015)|
|Postdoc||MPI CEC, Heterogene Reaktionen (2016)|
|Gruppenleiterin||MPI CEC (seit 2017)|
In our group we investigate electrocatalytic active materials that facilitate the conversion of electrical energy to chemical energy and vice versa. For the storage of excess electrical energy, as for example from sustainable energy sources, water electrolysis is a feasible technique to generate hydrogen (and oxygen), where the energy is stored in chemical bonds. Here we focus on the rate-limiting oxygen evolution reaction in alkaline media. The advantage of alkaline media is the higher stability of non-noble materials, as for instance functionalized carbon materials as produced by the Synthesis group.
On the other hand we study catalysts for the reverse reaction, i.e. the oxygen reduction reaction. This reaction takes place on the cathode of a fuel cell, therefore enabling the re-conversion to electrical energy. Also here we use materials based on carbon, doped with iron or other transition metals to boost their activity. Also hybrid materials of the combination of these non-precious metal catalysts with low amounts of precious metals are investigated to find possible synergies of these different material classes.
For a proper analysis we develop new experimental techniques, including for example an electrochemical flow cell coupled to an inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometer (ICP-OES) to characterize the stability of various catalyst materials. This cell also enables the implementation of further in situ techniques to improve our knowledge of material property changes during the electrochemical reaction.