Get to know Mathias Primbs from Technische Universität Berlin

Hello, I’m Mathias, a Chemist with background in material science and specialized in electro catalysts for hydrogen fuel cells in the group of Peter Strasser at TU Berlin. My main work in BRAVA is coordination of research efforts in our group on highly stable and active platinum-based catalysts.  We work on intermetallic alloys with high loading and sepcial focus on finding a scalable synthesis process.

What was your original motivation to become a researcher?
My original motivation to become a researcher stemmed from a combination of academic curiosity and a passion for addressing real-world challenges. I sought to contribute to the broader scientific community by exploring novel materials and techniques for energy storage and conversion, which are critical for sustainable energy solutions. This motivation was in line with the broader goals of advancing renewable energy technologies, reducing environmental impacts, and enhancing energy efficiency. The opportunity to collaborate with like-minded scientists and engage in interdisciplinary research also fueled my passion for this field.

What is your (main) research area today?
My current research focuses on fuel cell catalyst materials, encompassing both noble metals and non-noble metal catalysts. Fuel cells are vital for clean energy conversion, and optimizing catalysts is key to enhancing their efficiency and affordability. Fuel cells find applications in various sectors such as automotive, heavy-duty, and aviation, each with unique requirements. Consequently, my research extends to investigating different catalysts and tailoring their specifications to meet these diverse demands.

What is the main objective of your team in BRAVA?
Within the team led by Prof. Peter Strasser at TU Berlin, our central objective in the BRAVA project is to optimize catalyst materials within the fuel cell stack to meet the demanding requirements of aviation. This involves striking a delicate balance between critical performance metrics in our materials, such as activity and stability, and the need for a scalable and efficient production process. One of our foremost challenges is achieving very high metal loading on the carbon support.

What expertise and facilities does your team have to meet those objectives?
Our team boasts over a decade of extensive experience in fuel cell catalyst research, and we collaborate with an international team, fostering global partnerships. We possess comprehensive laboratory capabilities, ranging from small-scale synthesis to cutting-edge characterizations using state-of-the-art techniques. Notably, our in situ X-ray diffraction (XRD) techniques enable us to intricately observe the synthesis process, facilitating rapid optimization of our routes. This capability allows us to explore diverse pathways leading to the ideal material in a swift and organized manner.

Which aspects of your research at BRAVA do you believe are the most innovative and what unique opportunities offer BRAVA to yourself and/or your organisation?
Engaging in fuel cell research for aviation not only aligns with our commitment to innovation but also enables us to contribute to a more sustainable and environmentally friendly aviation sector. It reflects our dedication to reducing emissions and actively shaping the future of aviation through cutting-edge technologies and strategic collaborations with industry leaders. Our partnership with industry and research stakeholders provides us with opportunities to translate our research into practical solutions tailored to meet the evolving demands of future challenges. Being part of this emerging technology field represents an opportunity that will profoundly impact our collective future.

How do you see the future use of the BRAVA-results and the impact of BRAVA-project in our daily lives?
The future application of fuel cells in aviation promises a greener, more sustainable, and economically viable aviation sector. This transformation will have a profound impact on our daily lives by significantly reducing emissions, enhancing air quality, expanding travel options, and stimulating innovation and economic growth. The BRAVA project represents a significant step toward realizing these objectives and ushering in a more environmentally conscious and technologically advanced era in aviation.

Project info
Project progress

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