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 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.
OUR HISTORY IN A NUTSHELL
ATLAB was launched in 2010 as one of the first research groups at the Catalonia Institute for Energy Research (IREC). The original idea was to combine fundamental and more applied aspects of mass transport and nanoscale phenomena for developing novel solid state energy devices. Early years were dedicated to consolidate our main research lines, create key permanent positions and commissioning lab facilities for manufacturing and characterization. First EU granted actions (SAPIENS in 2012 and SiNERGY in 2013) were an important boost to start a continuous growth in personnel, budget and research network. Step by step, a solid strong alliance with national, international and industrial partners crystallized in new opportunities, international visibility and relevant scientific and technological outputs. In particular, the coordination of the Cell3Ditor project (2016) and the funded ERC Consolidator Grant ULTRASOFC (2016) were important milestones to launch innovative independent research lines such as 3D printing of Solid Oxide Cells and interface-dominated micropower sources, respectively. Further consolidation of the group leader position with an ICREA Professorship (2018) as well as the recognition with the “Consolidated Research Group” SGR label by the Generalitat de Catalunya (2018) are also considered turning points. At the international level, the strengthening of the group reputation took shape with the appointment to the organization of the main European conferences for Solid State Ionics (2018 and 2020 EMRS Spring symposium with 200+ abstracts) and Thermoelectrics (European Conference on Thermoelectrics, ECT 2022), the incorporation of our group leader to editorial boards of relevant journals (Journal of the European Ceramics Society- Elsevier, Journal of Physics Energy- IoP) and the guest edition of special issues (Advanced Materials Interfaces or JPhysEnergy, among other). Nowadays, we are a well-established and reputed research group with a vast network of ongoing collaborations and a consolidated annual budget well above 2M€.