Energy Research and Technology

Water, the sustainable chemical of excellence, plays a prominent role in energy research and technology. On the one hand, it passively guides energy and/or reaction pathways in chemical and physical processes,statically through tuning its highly polar character and dielectric properties or dynamically through dielectric relaxation as a Debye or near-Debye-type of liquid. On the other hand, the oxygen-hydrogen bond in water is among the strongest single bond known in chemistry and allows efficient energy storage and transformation, converting heat or photonenergy into chemical energy, by water splitting or association. Challenges in this field include the detailed study of the structure and dynamics of processes in which water is actively involved as a reacting species –ranging from corrosion, over water as catalyst (“on-water” chemistry or water-splitting) to (photo-)electrochemical processes, photo-conversionand energy storage. Nano-confinement and nano-structuring may enable tuning of the physical properties and chemical reactivity of water, which is especially important for water as molecular level solvent and for membrane technologies (purification and desalination).

Spokespersons: Simone Techert (DESY/U Göttingen), Andreas Stierle (DESY/U Hamburg), Olaf Magnussen (CAU Kiel), Eric Breynaert (KU Leuven).