HIU discuss their groundbreaking work using MTI Equipment

July 19, 2023
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Amy Rowe
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Amy Rowe
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The Helmholtz Institute Ulm (HIU), as part of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), has been jointly founded in 2011 by the KIT, the University of Ulm, the Center for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden-Württemberg (ZSW), and the German Aerospace Center (DLR) to concentrate their highly complementary competences in the field of electrochemical energy storage. In 2014, the building was inaugurated and since then the HIU has become one of the worldwide leading research institutions in this field, covering basically every electrochemical energy storage technology that is of present importance and potential future impact.

These activities include the development of new and optimised electrode and electrolyte materials, but also electrochemically inactive cell components such as the current collector, the binder and the separator as well as the realisation of truly sustainable electrode and cell fabrication procedures – always with a particular focus on establishing a fundamental understanding of the physicochemical and electrochemical reactions and processes taking place in the cell, by benefitting of the complementary theoretical and experimental expertise at HIU. Based on this comprehensive understanding also new battery chemistries and technologies are developed, targeting an enhanced safety, sustainability, as well as improved energy and power densities.

Recent examples cover, for instance, the development of advanced single-ion polymer electrolytes with excellent ionic conductivity and electrochemical stability,[1,2] the realisation of aqueous electrode preparation processes for high-energy lithium battery cathodes,[3,4] and the finding of a new electrochemical reaction mechanism that is based on the atom-level reduction of metallic dopants within a structurally stable metal oxide framework.[5]

For all the experimental work, the use of coin cells and pouch cells is essential and their proper assembly and characterisation is key towards any new insights – concerning both an improved fundamental understanding of the reactions occurring and the confirmation of superior performances compared to the state of the art. Therefore, they might be considered the “bread-and-butter tools” for the work performed at HIU – in the best sense of this term. In fact, the cell assembly is frequently considered simple, while it is, in fact, an art and requires a lot of experience before obtaining truly reproducible results with the maximum output in terms of performance and insights into the electrochemical characteristics of battery materials and cells.


David Sardar, Dominic Bresser & Sefano Passerini


  1. H.-D. Nguyen, G.-T. Kim, J. Shi, E. Paillard, P. Judeinstein, S. Lyonnard, D. Bresser, C. Iojoiu, Energy Environ. Sci. 2018, 11, 3298.
  2. Z. Chen, D. Steinle, H.-D. Nguyen, J.-K. Kim, A. Mayer, J. Shi, E. Paillard, C. Iojoiu, S. Passerini, D. Bresser, Nano Energy 2020, 77, 105129.
  3. M. Kuenzel, D. Bresser, T. Diemant, D. Vieira Carvalho, G.-T. Kim, R. J. Behm, S. Passerini, ChemSusChem 2018, 11, 562.
  4. M. Kuenzel, H. Choi, F. Wu, A. Kazzazi, P. Axmann, M. Wohlfahrt-Mehrens, D. Bresser, S. Passerini, ChemSusChem 2020, 13, 2650.
  5. Y. Ma, Y. Ma, G. Giuli, H. Euchner, A. Groß, G. O. Lepore, F. d’Acapito, D. Geiger, J. Biskupek, U. Kaiser, H. M. Schütz, A. Carlsson, T. Diemant, R. J. Behm, M. Kuenzel, S. Passerini, D. Bresser, Adv. Energy Mater. 2020, 10, 2000783.