Jan grosse Austing was born on 12th June 1983 in Lohne, Germany.
After finishing his Abitur [comparable to A-Level], he studied Mathematics and Chemistry at the university of Marburg. He graduated with the degree of 1. Staatsexamen für das Lehramt an Gymnasien [German degree, first qualification for becoming a teacher] he decided to volunteer abroad for one year. With a German volunteering program named "solivol" he spend one year at a secondary school in a small village in Tanzania. He took part in the daily teaching routine and got involved in the environmental club activities, trying to initiate a solar light project. During that time he decided not to become a teacher, but pursued his interest in renewable energies. Therefore he studied the master program "Renewable energy and energy efficiency" at the university of Kassel. In his master thesis which he made at a research centre, he dealt with a vanadium air redox flow cell; following his believe that electrochemical energy storages are the bottle-neck for the extension of renewable energies. The topic of his master thesis still intrigues him much, therefore he decided to research on selected components of the system during a PhD.
Short description of the doctoral thesis:
"Design, development and characterization of cathodes for bidirectional vanadium air redox flow cells"
Global warming, the limitation of fossil fuels and the decision of the German government to quit nuclear power are the main reasons for increasing renewable energies. But fluctuating energy production of the latter is still a big challenge.
Electrochemical energy storages might overcome the problems of discontinuous energy production due to fast response times and the independence of geographical conditions. Redox flow batteries are a promosing candidate for stationary storage solutions because of their round-trip efficiencies and the expectation that they can be realized with reasonable costs. Additionally and in contrast to most other battery systems, power and capacity can be scaled independently. One important drawback of redox flow cells is their poor energy density (comparable to lead-acid batteries). By changing over to redox flow air batteries, an increase in the energy density is expected. This is mainly caused by the fact that one electrolyte tank is saved and therefore the energy density of the whole system is increased.
The aim of the PhD is to develop cathodes for the use in Vanadium air redox flow cells and to characterize them. Porous substrates (e.g. graphite felts or titanium felts) will be used as the basis for the electrodes and the catalysts will be deposited onto it electrochemically. For the charging and the discharging reaction different catalysts are necessary. Firstly, both catalysts will be deposited first separately and analysed concerning structural and functional properties. The best catalyst pair then will be deployed for manufacturing a bifunctional electrode. This electrode will be tested in a prototype of a vanadium air redox flow system.