Our group addresses the challenge of developing highly efficient and clean solid state energy conversion technologies for powering a sustainable society. We use our knowledge in ionic, electronic and thermal transport combined with the expertise in advanced manufacturing to develop new energy concepts from the microwatt to the kilowatt range.
In the microwatt range, we develop miniaturized energy sources for powering the Internet of Things (IoT). Using disruptive ideas from the emerging Nanoionics and Iontronics disciplines, which deal with the complex interplay between electrons and ions in the nanoscale, we develop new families of all-solid state micro-energy sources able to harvest and store energy at the same time. Together with high-tech ambitious companies, we look for the viability of such a new paradigm of embedded energy.
In the kilowatt range, we develop advanced solid oxide fuel cells and electrolysers that will enable a hydrogen-based zero-emissions energy system. Innovative ceramic 3D printing of ionic conductors is employed to fabricate a new generation of enhanced solid oxide cells that makes real the dream of getting novel functionalities and improved performance by design. In our lab, we push for joint development of such original concepts and more conventional technologies with the current leading industry.
The NANOEN research group was created in 2010 with the foundation of Catalan Institute of Energy Research (IREC). From the growth of the NANOEN group and from the consolidation of its activities, researchers and laboratories in recent years, the current request of a consolidated research group emerges. The growth of the group has materialized in the period 2014-2017 with the consolidation of two positions of senior researchers (to add a total of four permanent researchers), the obtaining by the main investigator of a contract “ERC Consolidator Grant “in 2015 and the coordination of a European project H2020 (Cell3Ditor) and a national project (3DMADE). The strong activity of specific technology transfer in hydrogen technologies has also meant a strong increase in the industrial contracting of the group in recent years, allowing the incorporation of new postdoctoral researchers. Currently, apart from the four permanent researchers, the group includes 6 doctors working directly in competitive and non-competitive R & D contracts.
The IREC’s fellowship program, direct recruitment and national and Catalan calls have allowed to maintain a high number of pre-doctoral contracts, which is currently located in 7 with exclusive dedication to the group’s research lines. In addition, relations with Catalan and foreign academic institutions have been strengthened in order to host research placements for undergraduate and master’s students. Over the last few years, up to 14 master’s theses have been defended by NANOEN group members in Norway, Italy and Spain.