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Six questions to Prof. Dr. Christina Roth

Prof. Dr. Christina Roth joins the HIU as a guest scientist: in collaboration with Dr. Zeis, she studies materials and methodical development for electrochemical energy technologies since March this year.

 

Both scientists know each other since 2012 when they worked together at the KIT. There, Christina Roth was employed as a group leader at the Institute for Applied Materials - Energy Storage Systems (Prof. H. Ehrenberg).

 

After her degree in materials science at the Technical University Darmstadt in 2001 and her habilitation in 2008, she worked in Darmstadt as a German junior professor. In 2012, she moved to the Free University of Berlin as a professor for Applied Physical Chemestry.

 

You can find further information at:


www.bcp.fu-berlin.de/chemie/chemie/forschung/PhysTheoChem/agroth/index.html

 

- Ulm, 21.04.2017 -

 

What are your research topics at the moment? In particular, what do you study at the HIU?

I’m interested in electrochemical energy technologies, such as fuel cells (they were the starting point of my research activities), redox-flow batteries (which I have been studying since my days at the KIT), and CO2 electroreduction (recently at the FU Berlin).

In collaboration with Dr. Zeis, here at HIU, I study ageing processes of C-based electrodes as well as electrolyte-filled electrodes.

 

How did you get involved with this research topic? What do you find fascinating about it?

In fact, it was rather by chance: as a materials scientist, I planned on developing artificial knee joints –  but “God moves in mysterious ways”. And by the way, saving the world is also quite nice!

 

How would you assess the development of the HIU in the past years?

I still remember the construction plans, before the HIU was even built. Now it is finished and I really like it. There is a wide range of expertise at the HIU and the methodical facilities are excellent. However, a more “diverse” staff would be even better: more international, younger, more female.

 

How do you evaluate the current battery technology in the context of media reports about burning smartphone batteries?

I’m not an expert in this field. RFB technology is primarily linked to stationary applications, e.g. the storage of excessive wind power (see ICT Pfinztal). But, of course, bad publicity is always bad for the particular technology, too.

 

In your opinion, did the German research institutions catch up in the international comparison?

We are getting better, but it’s hard to reverse the demolition of electrochemistry 25 years ago. To succeed, you need persistence as well as well-educated young scientists with career opportunities.

 

What do you think are the biggest challenges for research on batteries and fuel cells?

Costs, life expectancy, customer acceptance, infrastructure – the list is endless. Much remains to be done!