ADEM News

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25 August 2016

Eyecatcher

ADEM researchers publish dozens of articles each year in leading national and international scientific journals. In each issue of this newsletter, Eyecatcher highlights two outstanding recent papers. This time: Martijn de Lange on metal-organic frameworks and Emanuela Negro on fuel cells.

From basic principle to practical application

The title of Martijn de Lange’s thesis and publication is Metal-Organic Frameworks for Adsorption-Driven Energy Transformation: From Fundamentals to Applications.

Ideal for use in heat pumps and chillers, metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) or porous crystalline materials are a new type of material De Lange has developed at ADEM. In his publication he explains that they deliver a performance superior to that of traditional sorbents [materials with the ability to absorb or adsorb liquids or gases – ed.] and so have the potential to make a major contribution to worldwide energy-saving.

Globally, 33 per cent of energy consumption goes into heating and cooling homes and other buildings. By using MOF-based heat pumps and chillers, De Lange claims, that figure could be reduced substantially and even low-quality residual heat and solar energy could be brought into the process. For researchers, MOFs open up opportunities to develop new materials with superior properties. In his work, De Lange has already discovered MOFs which remain relatively stable in the presence of water.

From atoms to fuel cells

The title of Emanuela Negro’s thesis and publication is Conductive Graphitic Networks: from Atoms to Fuel Cells.

Because of their electrical, mechanical and chemical properties, graphite-based materials are attracting a lot of interest in the world of sustainable energy production and storage. Negro’s contribution to global research in this area is a thesis focusing upon new interconnected carbon nanostructures, also known as carbon nanonetworks (CNNs).

Her publication is divided into two parts. In the first part, she examines the synthesis of CNNs by means of chemical vapour deposition (CVD), an evaporation-based process used to coat a substrate or other base material with a thin layer of material. She then goes on to discuss the use of CNNs as catalyst carriers in polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cells, where the membrane separates hydrogen from oxygen.  Negro also describes  an innovative new electrode whose straightforward synthesis procedure and streamlined production process makes it a promising material for use in fuel cells. While the work contained in this publication will not directly enhance cell efficiency, it does reveal a new and potentially more appropriate material solution, and so may pave the way for future improvements.