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Science2business award 2019

Florian Frauscher (BMDW), Danny Müller (TUW), Gisela Zechner (life-science Karriere Services)
Foto: Anna Rauchenberger

Our Post-Doc Danny Müller was able to prevail in the nationalwide competion for the project "Industrial applications for thermochemical energy storage".

September 5, 2019

He was awarded the science2business award in category B (research projects with planned future business cooperation). The jury emphasised the importance, topicality and the high degree of prospects of the project. A total of 44 other projects from 14 universities and 100 companies were competing against each other in two categories.
The award is realised by the life-science career services within the annual life-science-success conference. The prize is supported and provided by the Federal Ministry for Digital and Economic Affairs.

The project

The problem of industrial waste heat that mostly evaporates unused is omnipresent. Thermochemical energy storage can help - it enables the storage and subsequent use of previously unused waste heat. For industrial companies this potentially means more energy- and cost-efficient production.

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Theodor Körner Prize 2019

Danny Müller with Renate Anderl, President of the chamber of labour and President to the board of trustees of the Theodor-Körner-Prize
Foto: Ernst Müller
Prize winner Danny Müller with Austrian Federal President Alexander van der Bellen
Foto: Ernst Müller

Danny Müller was awared the Theodor-Körner Prize for his project on thermochemical energy storage systems.

May 10, 2019

Electrical energy is not always needed exactly when it is produced. Decoupling power consumption and power generation is one of the major challenges for our energy supply. One approach to solving this problem is offered by heat storage technologies that store waste heat and release it again at a later point in time when it is needed.

Dr. Danny Müller has developed a thermochemical heat storage material that is ideally suited for applications such as waste heat recycling or solar thermal energy. The Theodor Körner Fonds has now awarded him a promotional prize. This means that Danny Müller can now implement his current project: A demonstration model of the heat storage technology is being built, with which stakeholders from industry of the potential of heat storage technology shall be convinced in a practical way.

"We were able to develop and patent a storage system in advance, which proved to be extremely promising in terms of reaction times, reversibility and reaction conditions. In order to now convince stakeholders and decision-makers from industry and business of the potential of this technology, the next step is the practical demonstration by means of a prototype on a very small scale," explains Danny Müller.

On Friday, May 10, 2019, Dr. Danny Müller and 17 other scientists and artists were presented with this year's Theodor Körner Award. The prize was established by the workers organization on the occasion of the 80th birthday of Austrians Federal President Theodor Körner and was first awarded in 1954. Since then the prize has been awarded annually to scientists and artists who have already done excellent work.

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Loschmidt Prize 2018

Prize winner Danny Müller and Herwig Peterlik (Head of the CPG)
Foto: Ernst Müller

Danny Müller's research on bistable iron complexes was awarded by the Chemical-Physical Society Vienna.

November 13, 2018

The Loschmidt Prize is anually awarded for outstanding dissertations, this year it was awarded to Danny Müller's disseration on "Iron(II) spin crossover complexes - from chirality to multifunctionality".

The electronic components used in data storage or for new sensors are becoming smaller and smaller. Today, chemistry also plays an important role in this miniaturisation. The laureate is researching so-called "bistable iron complexes", which can be switched back and forth between different states in a targeted manner.

These individually controllable states are retained even if the molecules are anchored individually on a surface. This means that these iron complexes open up the possibility of realising novel sensor or data storage concepts on the scale of individual molecules.

Depending on temperature, pressure, exposure to light or other physical quantities, the bistable iron complexes can change certain properties, for example their colour, their magnetic moment or their dielectric constant. This change can be reversed in the same way, so that the molecules can be switched back and forth between different states as often as desired, similar to a light switch.

In order to use these molecular switches technologically, a suitable method of reading out their current state is needed. However, the classic laboratory methods that are normally used for this are very complicated and take too long. "Therefore, we decided to use polarised light for this purpose," says Danny Müller. "We were able to show that the two different states of our iron compounds interact in different ways with polarised light. So we found a feasible way to solve this problem with known technology". Danny Müller's dissertation has already resulted in several patents, which now form the basis for further research in this field. 

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Dr. Ernst Fehrer Prize 2017

Awardee Christian Knoll, Vice Chancellor Sabine Seidler, Angelika Mauel-Fehrer
Foto: Thomas Blazina

Christian Knoll was awarded with the TU Wien's Fehrer Prize for the project "New technologies for energy storage".

December 6, 2017

His work looking for a way to store energy was awarded the prize which is sponsored by Dr. Rosemarie Fehrer, widow to the inventor and industrialist Dr. Ernst Fehrer. It is awarded for outstanding technical research services with practical applications every year and was presented to the laureate by the benefactress herself.

The project

It is one of the major problems of our time: How can energy be stored and reused efficiently? One possible solution comes from chemistry; by supplying energy a chemical reaction can take place, thus the storage of the resulting material is possible until the reaction is reversed and the stored energy is released again in the form of heat.

The use of chemical instead of physical storage comes to mind. "The simplest concept is used at home: hot water tanks which are heated with night-time electricity. If it is well insulated the energy is used during the day - but a continuous loss is inevitable," says Christian Knoll, "There are also special physical energy storage systems that use the heat of crystallization during the phase transition between solid and liquid. But chemical energy storage systems such as those we are developing are not yet available".

The search for suitable substances was long, but promising candidates such as calcium oxalate monohydrate were identified. Exposure to heat results in removal of the chemically bound water from calcium oxalate, which can be stored for long periods in its anhydrous form. By adding water vapor, heat is generated, and the material can be reused for energy storage.

One of the key questions was whether the material is capable of surviving a large number of charging and discharging cycles. The results are promising: "We were able to run over a hundred cycles and did not detect any signs of wear - not even under the electron microscope," says Knoll.

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