Energy Storage and Hydrogen & Fuel Cells

The Energy Storage group’s research is supported by three labs on the NTU Campus and at CleanTech One.

Lab @ School of Material Science and Engineering (MSE)

Facilities at MSE are equipped with wet labs and fumehoods (~100 sqm), and are geared towards supporting synthesis strategies and development of high performance electrodes based on multifunctional nanoscale materials.

MSE reactors enable high-temperature anneals (up to 1500°C), special atmospheres, pressurized nucleation, freeze-drying, LN2 quenching, and high-energy mechanical processes.  Powders, liquids, gels, castings and monoliths can then be subjected to fundamental materials characterisation (diffraction techniques / electron microscopy / spectroscopy) on site with the FACTS lab. The labs house comprehensive equipment for electrode slurry preparation, electrode coating (doctor blading/screen printing), device assembly and electrical characterisation. Batteries and supercapacitors are made in coin cell (2016/2032) and pouch cell formats and electrochemical characterisation is performed on broad frequency response analyzers (Solartron 1470E/1260), microcurrent cyclers (Bio-logic SP200) and macrocurrent cyclers (Neware/Arbin cell testers).

Singapore-CEA Alliance for Research in Circular Economy Lab (SCARCE)

The SCARCE lab focuses on the precious resource recovery of waste electronics. A mechanical shredder has been installed for automated grinding of modular batteries that have reached their end of life in preparation for chemical extraction processes. The feedstock can include button cells, coincells, prismatic cells and cylindrical cell packs. High-pressure reactors enable green supercritical solvent and pH-modulated extraction methodologies in a safe and efficient manner, while fitted in-line with in-situ spectroscopic monitoring. The activities here focus on transforming expired battery materials into rejuvenated batteries, to create a low-cost, environmentally-friendly, closed supply chain loop. The centre also delves into the solar cell, plasic and printed circuit board (PCB) recycling.

Prototyping Lab at CleanTech One

A dedicated Energy Storage Prototyping Lab aims to scale-up lab scale innovations; attracting both industry and academic partners that are interested in developing battery technologies in larger formats. It provides a link between typical research lab sized battery testing incorporating low volumes of active material such as coin cells and those more commonly found in a commercial / industrial setting such as pouch, prismatic and cylindrical (18650) cells.

The prototyping lab has a state-of-the-art 40m2 dryroom facility, (-40ºC dew point with 2 people working inside and dehumidifying capacity of 209 g/h), completed in October 2013. It provides the necessary space for pilot-scale battery / supercapacitor fabrication and packaging.

Catalyst Laboratory @ CleanTech One (CTO)

The Catalyst Laboratory at CTO is setup and configured to formulate and synthesize fuel cell catalyst ink quickly to be sprayed onto Nafion membrane.  The catalytic coated membrane is assembled with gas diffusion layer and bipolar plates to form a single cell.  The works on precious group metal (PGM) and non-PGM fuel cell catalysts are performed in this laboratory.

Fuel Cell laboratory @ School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

The Fuel Cell laboratory @ MAE has a mixture of research activities ranging from fundamental studies to system demonstration in polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell, solid oxide fuel cell and hydrogen related technologies. This laboratory is equipped with facilities to synthesize materials for characterisation and perform light machining work.

Fischer-Tropsch laboratory @ School of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering

The Fischer-Tropsch laboratory is a key centrepiece in the Power-to-power and Power-to-gas energy path.  The facilities in the laboratory support the investigation and study of the activity, selectivity and stability of catalysts (Both in-house developed and commercial products) for the synthesis reaction.  The facilities are also able to separate, identify and quantify hydrogen, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and various forms of hydrocarbons (C1 to C15) with high accuracy and repeatability.