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Advancement in storage capability and hydrogen kinetics of hydride storage alloys through nanocoating with multifunctional hybrid polymer


The objective of the project is to enhance the electrode material of NiMH batteries in a way that it is possible to replace ecological questionable NiCd batteries even in high current applications. To attain that goal it is necessary to develop novel and multifunctional nanosized hydride storage alloys for the negative electrode of nickel metal hydride (NiMH) batteries. This nanosized material has the advantage of increased surface, e.g. high reactivity. Therefore it is expected that the rate capability of these batteries is improved drastically. But due to the increased surface the alloy powder becomes strongly flammable in contact with air. This creates problems during processing. A polymeric nano-coating can solve these problems.

The nanocoating has two different tasks: to secure the process ability of dispersed hydride storage alloy and to act as an ion conductor for hydrogen ions. Also it is expected that the nanocoated particles in alkaline medium will offer an improved electrochemical connection and stability. So, the rate-determining step at the negative electrode will be improved. Basing on new ideas experts from different companies and universities will cooperate. Both ideas described above, the prevention of fire and the ion conductivity of a polymeric agent, are new and not yet explored. Before introducing the improved materials in the production a lot of fundamental research is necessary.

A success of this project would boost the power of the European industry because high rate NiMH batteries are important for key applications as power tools, hybrid vehicles and many small portable devices. Worldwide there is a hard fight in the battery industry on the market. More and more battery manufacturer in Europe stop operation, while the far east battery manufacturer show increasing turn over rates of more than 10%. This project can help the European battery industry to gain leadership in this important market.

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