Israel National Research Center for Electrochemical Propulsion

Supported by the Council for Higher Education and Prime Minister Office

In the strategic interest of the nation of Israel, the government announced that research and development of technologies that reduce the use of oil in transportation constitutes a nation-wide task that requires the full exploitation of the nation’s intellectual resources. The main components of this program are to bolster academic research both in infrastructure changes, as well as research into oil substitute materials.

Description of the Program

Technion is one of six collaborating institutions in the Israel National Research Center for Electrochemical Propulsion (INREP). The goal is to combine forces on the development of new materials, new concepts and new analytical methodologies, as well as functioning prototypes.

The development of advanced materials and technologies for electric vehicles (EVs) is essential for Israel’s energy independence. Transitioning away from  internal combustion engines (ICE), moving toward battery and fuel cell-based propulsion for ground transportation, is expected to solidify our economy, while reducing pollution and damaging effects on human health and Nature’s biodiversity.

Grand Technion Energy Program (GTEP) faculty member Prof. Yair Ein-Eli is on the five person INREP management team. Material Sciences and Engineering Prof. Ein-Eli’s research interests include: Energy Storage – Li ion Technology, Metal air batteries, Alkaline cells. Fuel Cell Technologies – PEM Fuel Cells Materials. Efficient Buildings – Electrochromic Materials.

Other GTEP INREP members include:

GTEP Director Prof. Yoed Tsur – Chemical Engineering Prof. Tsur’s research interests include: Fuel Cell Technologies – Solid Oxide Fuel Cells; analysis of impedance spectroscopy; solid state ionics.

Prof. Dario Dekel – Chemical Engineering Prof. Dekel’s research interests include: Non-Carbon Fuels;  Hydrogen Technology; Solar Hydrogen production, Electrolysis; Redox Flow Batteries; Membrane based Electrochemical Systems for Energy, Alkaline Membrane Fuel Cells; Anion Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells; Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Fuel Cells; Membrane based Electrochemical Systems for Energy; Alternative Fuels for Fuel Cells.

Prof. Ze’ev Gross – Chemistry Prof. Gross’ research interests include: Hydrogen Technology- Design of catalysts for production of hydrogen from water, Solar Hydrogen Production- Photo-catalytic Water Splitting, Fuel Cell Technologies- Non-platinum catalysts for selective reduction of oxygen to water at low overpotentia,  Photovoltaics- Better performing dyes for Dye Sensitized Solar Cells (DSCC).

Prof. Viatcheslav Freger – Chemical Engineering Prof. Freger’s research interests include: Membranes separations – physical mechanisms in membranes, water purification and desalination, Fuel cells – hydration, ion conductance and selectivity in FC membranes, development of novel composite membranes.

Assistant Prof. Matthew Suss – Mechanical Engineering Prof. Suss’s research interests include: designing, building, and studying novel redox flow batteries for large scale energy storage, and novel capacitive deionization systems for simultaneous energy storage and water desalination.

The Center promotes cutting-edge research in the fields of high energy density rechargeable batteries and metal-air batteries, high power density electrical double layer capacitors (EDLCs) – also known as super-capacitors, and effective fuel cells. Currently, the most promising avenue for powering EVs is Li-ion batteries, which is becoming an increasingly established power source. Yet, there are considerable challenges related to improving the specific energy density.

Furthermore, Li ion batteries can be combined with emerging technologies based on metal-air batteries, EDLCs and fuel cells to form integrated power sources for EVs. Breakthroughs in metal-air batteries and Fuel cells are expected to emerge from novel nano-based methodologies of electro-catalysis, supported by activated porous structures fabricated from nanotubes, nanowires and nanosheets of carbonaceous materials. Non-platinum nano-catalysts based on alloys with core-shell structure are being developed to overcome low efficiency and high cost of existing catalysts.

The search for new catalysts that can replace metals include novel combinatorial work based on fast preparation of mixed transition metal oxides by pulse laser deposition, combined with effective and rapid characterization. R&D of both novel fuel cells and metal-air batteries have benefited from these combinatorial efforts. Ongoing breakthroughs in EDLCs utilize new types of composite electrodes comprising nano materials such as carpets of vertically aligned carbon nano-tubes together with highly porous activated carbon matrices.  Research at the Center is also defining the state of the art in design of advanced and high resolution analytical tools that supports the R&D efforts. In addition to R&D of devices, the Center promotes work on energy management, recycling and battery waste management.

The Center also hosts educational activities and conferences and promotes collaboration between academia and industry. A wide range of relevant companies and start-ups are connected with the Center and benefit from its work. The Center benefits from expanded intensive cooperation with leading companies and research institutions from North America, Europe, and East Asia.