Electrochemical energy technologies
The CSIR electrochemical energy technologies research group focuses on developing new materials-based technologies for energy storage systems and demonstrating these technologies to enable new industrial activity through manufacturing of such materials and systems. Specific areas of focus are on manganese and nickel-rich cathode materials, as well as titanium- and silicon-based anode materials. The group also has skills in the beyond lithium-ion battery electrode materials; platinum group metals (PGM) - and non-PGM-based electrocatalysts for fuel cells and electrolysers. New materials afford new opportunities that benefit their respective sectors for mobile, stationary and other power applications.
The group accelerates and unlocks the beneficiation of South Africa’s manganese and PGM resources by localising electrode material for energy storage and conversion with better cost to performance ratio. In addition, it pursues value-creating opportunities in other minerals to leverage CSIR skills, existing assets and experience to enhance value delivery for clients.
- Analysis of energy storage and conversion technologies and cost, as well as recommendations on potential best-fit options for the application. Such assessments include the role of energy storage, fuel cells and electrolysers, while considering storage duration, performance, cost projections and decommissioning and disposal options.
- Testing of energy storage and conversion materials.
- Testing of battery cells (at present < 6 V and 40 A, with the possibility of testing larger cells in the future).
- Testing of fuel cell and electrolyser cells (up to four cells).
- Characterisation of electrochemical properties of the materials (batteries, supercapacitors, fuel cells, electrolysers and carbon dioxide reduction).
- Synthesis and characterisation of electrode materials for energy storage systems
- Synthesis and characterisation of electrocatalysts for fuel cells and electrolysers
- Fabrication, assembly and testing of coin cells and pouch cells
- Fabrication and testing of membrane electrode assemblies
- Development of membrane electrolyte for fuel cells and electrolysers