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Annukka Santasalo Aarnio, Speaker at Chemical Engineering Conferences
Aalto University, Finland
Title : Catalyst and support materials in energy storage systems


In order to provide the human kind energy but simultaneously mitigating the climate change the share of renewable energy production must be increased. To balance the intermittence renewable energy production, various different energy storage systems have been proposed such as lithium ion batteries and electrolysers. Additionally, also fuel cells that would convert the chemically stored energy back to electricity with high efficiency would come to the market. All of these before mentioned applications include scarce and/or very expensive metal materials. As their volume increase significantly, there is a concern where these critical elements required as their catalyst will be obtained and therefore, their recovery from the end of life devices is at high importance.      

Currently, the catalysis research has been focusing on a design-for-performance approach where variety of exotic, high cost metal elements has favored. In addition, the research trend has been towards nanomaterials, alloys, hybrid materials and ultra-thin coatings to decrease the amount of these raw materials in each application. However, at the same time, their recovery becomes impossible and less economically feasible. This is contradictory with the aim for design-for-recycling where the selected raw materials are design in a way to facilitate their recovery at the end of life products. This speech addresses these phenomena, and how research community should address them while planning the new material solutions to the energy storage devices.


Prof. Santasalo-Aarnio completed her doctorate in physical chemistry with the catalyst and support material development for fuel cells at the Aalto University School of Chemistry 2012. After this she continued her work with a post doc project on solar energy storage for H2 with bench-scale SO2 depolarized electrolyser. She obtained a university lecturer position for material science and engineering 2015 where she has been involved in recycling of energy devices such as lithium-ion batteries and fuel cells. With the strong collaboration with Helmholtz institute, she has developed new insight in how to take into account recyclability in the planning phase of energy storage solutions. She was appointed as assistant professor of energy conversion and storage at the school of engineering in September 2018 where she will continue the work on renewable energy interaction to energy policy.