Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (DE)
Dr. Andreas Gutsch coordinates KIT’s Competence E research association that covers all activities in fields of electric energy storage and driving systems in KIT. It is joint effort from KIT Energy and NanoMicro Centers, as well as the KIT Focuses of Mobility Systems, Humans and Technology.
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Summary of the interview:
Could you tell me about your area of research?
My area of research is related to the whole topic of electric mobility and electric energy storage for stationary applications. So we start with the base material development for new energy storage devices. We integrate those materials into batteries and then we put these batteries into mobile applications, such as cars. On the other hand, those same base materials are also tested in stationary applications, like storage of energy for wind turbines. In summary, we work along the total value chain, starting from base material and chemical development to the level where we integrate the devices into the applications, such as cars or trains. We have a special focus on the production and process technology, because most of the cost in the storage device comes from the production and process technology that is used to create the product. So the aim is to lower production costs in the future.
How do you see the market for energy source stationary and mobile applications?
I think that the market for batteries for automotive applications will grow to several hundred million Euros within the next few years. And I estimate that around 2018 the market size will be about a billion Euros.
For stationary applications this market has to grow and develop more significantly. It is still very premature. The main market for stationary applications is in countries where there are bigger problems with power grids, like countries in Africa or Eastern Europe for example. The question is whether the production of these batteries for stationary applications that support the power grid will be here in Europe. Overall I think that this market will become even bigger than the market for automotive batteries.
Could you tell me briefly about nanotechnology in energy storage?
There are already number of nano particles used in the battery or cell technology itself. Mostly they are used to increase the capability of the battery and to increase electric conductivity within the battery itself. In some energy storage materials and applications we even have nano particles as the active materials, meaning that the nano material is used for storage itself. And in the future, I think that most of the future nanotech or nanomaterials will help to increase the energy storage capability.
Could you tell me about your EuroNanoForum talk topic?
I will talk about the use of nano materials in battery technology. I will show which kind of materials are already used in commercial products and tell which materials are most likely going to be used in the future. I will also speak a bit about the market and applications.