MEET Master student Sebastian Puls was awarded the Energy Research Prize 2021 at the Battery Day NRW Online. In the category Bachelor Thesis, Puls took first place with his thesis “Synthesis and modification of Li/Mn-rich transition metal layer oxides as cathode material for lithium-ion batteries”. The Energy Research Prize was awarded by the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Innovation, Digitalisation and Energy of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) for outstanding bachelor, master and doctoral thesis that make a decisive contribution to climate protection in NRW.
Further development of high-energy lithium-ion batteries
In his bachelor thesis, Puls focused on the further development of high-energy lithium-ion batteries and optimising crucial parameters such as energy density, lifetime and sustainability of the battery cells. “The cathode in particular limits the specific capacity of the battery. Lithium/manganese-rich compounds have the potential to compensate these limitations due to their high discharge capacities, and at the same time they are cost-effective. However, their structural instability causes the cells to lose capacity during long-term cycling, which reduces their lifetime”, Puls explains the approach of his research.
He aimed to reduce this loss of capacity by selectively doping the material. Using a Taylor-Couette-Flow Reactor, the MEET Master student developed a specially synthesised lithium/manganese-rich compound, which was then doped with the chemical element molybdenum. This significantly improved the rate and cycle stability of lithium-ion cells. Possible reasons are increased lattice parameters in the structure and a changed morphology.
About the Energy Research Award
The NRW Ministry of Energy and Economic Affairs awards the Energy Research Prize to outstanding young scientists for the second time. The focus of this year's prize was battery development. Practical and application-oriented work was awarded that focused on the use of batteries to achieve climate protection goals. The Energy Research Award is endowed with a total of 6,000 euros, 1,000 euros were awarded in the category Bachelor Thesis.