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GKSS Research Centre Geesthacht GmbH, Germany

The GKSS Research Center Geesthacht GmbH, situated near the town of Geesthacht, Germany belongs to the German Hermann von Helmholtz Association (HGF). With its 15 research centres, 24.000 employees and an annual budget of approx 2.2 billion euros the Helmholtz Association is Germany's largest research institution. GKSS is situated at Geesthacht near Hamburg and has a branch in Teltow near Berlin with a total staff of approximately 750 employees, including about 480 scientists, engineers and technicians. The three main GKSS research areas cover materials science, environmental research, and separation processes using membrane technologies. One of the core research topics at GKSS is Materials for Hydrogen Technology, covering purification and conditioning of hydrogen, development of new membranes for fuel cells, and hydrogen storage. GKSS has more than 9 years research experience in hydrogen storage in nanocrystalline light metal hydrides for mobile applications (25 publications, 3 patents, 6 patent applications pending) and was/is involved in international projects and co-operations in this field, including the EU IP's StorHy and NessHy, the EU-FP5 Networks FC-TEST-NET and EU-RTN "H-Sorption in Mg: Improved Hydrogen Sorption Kinetics in New Magnesium Composites for Clean Energy Storage and Transport". GKSS also has a strong background in materials design based on thermodynamics. For instance, the system Mg-Ni-H was calculated and modelled in detail using the THERMOCALC and CALPHAD (calculation of phase diagrams) methods. GKSS operates an on-site neutron facility (FRG 1) and its own beamline HARWI II at the German Electron Synchrotron (DESY) in Hamburg, both equipped for diffraction and scattering experiments to investigate structures in the range of Ångstroms up to microns.

Prototype tank for NaAlH4 based solid state hydrogen storage (capacity 8kg NaAlH4, ca. 400 g H2, developed and built in the NESSHY project at GKSS)

Prof. Dr. Rüdiger Bormann (Co-ordinator of COSY), an internationally recognized expert in applications of thermodynamics to alloy design and to the design of nanomaterials, Director of the Institute of Materials Research at GKSS, is the Co-ordinator of this Network. Professor Bormann studied Metal Physics at Göttingen University and received his Ph.D. in 1979. After a post-doctoral appointment, in 1981/82 he spent 15 months as a Visiting Scientist at Stanford University, USA. In 1982 he became an Assistant Professor (Hochschulassistent) at the University of Göttingen. 1988 he received his habilitation and the Venia Lengendi at Göttingen University, and was awarded a "Heisenberg-Fellowship". In 1989 he was appointed as head of the Department "Applied Metal Physics" at the Institute for Materials Research of the GKSS Research Centre and received professorship at the Technical University of Hamburg-Harburg. In 1996 he became Head of the Institute for Materials Research at GKSS. Additionally, he was appointed to chair the Department of Materials Science and Technology at the Technical University Hamburg-Harburg since 1997. Together he is heading more than 40 scientists and technicians. Prof. Bormann has more than 20 years of experience in the area of metastable and nanocrystalline phases and applications of thermodynamics and high energy milling. He started working on nanocrystalline metal hydrides for hydrogen storage in 1996. His publication list contains more than 150 scientific publications including 12 publications on nanocrystalline hydrides. He holds 8 patents including 5 on hydrogen storage. He is Member of the Advisory Board of the DGM (German Society of Materials) and vice president of the scientific commission of the German Science Council.

Miniature-Elektrolyser with drying unit (GKSS) for loading of solid state hydrogen storage tanks
(Foto Fraunhofer ISE, Freiburg, Germany)

Dr. Martin Dornheim is is an expert in the preparation of nanocrystalline materials. He obtained his PhD in 2002 at the University of Göttingen. From 2002 to 2003 he was leader of the group “Hydrogen in Metals and Nanoscale Materials” at the Institute or Physics of Materials at the University of Göttingen in place of Dr. A. Pundt. From 2003 to 2005 he was deputy leader of the group “Powder and Nanotechnology” at the Institute of Materials Research, GKSS Research Centre. Since 2005 he is the head of the group “Nanotechnology”.

Prof. Dr. Thomas Klassen is an expert in hydrogen sorption and its catalysis. He obtained his Ph.D. in Engineering and Materials Science from the Technical University Hamburg-Harburg, was a Post-Docoratal Fellow in the group of Prof. R. Averback, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, leader of several projects in the field of high-energy milling at GKSS and now is Head of the Institute of Materials Science at the Helmut-Schmidt-University Hamburg. He is laurate of the German Society for Materials Science Young Scientist Award 1997 and ISMANAM 1997 Young Scientist Gold Medal.

Dr. Klaus Pranzas is an expert in small-angle neutron scattering. He is in charge of the instruments SANS-2 and DCD at the Geesthacht Neutron Facility, GeNF and is thus involved in various research projects concerning structural investigations in the field of materials research. He has an expertise in small-angle scattering investigations using neutron and synchrotron radiation of nanostructures. His main focus is currently the structural characterization of nanocrystalline metal hydrides.

Experimental facilities: high energy ball mills, reactive milling, Sievert’s apparatus, DSC, TGA, X-ray Diffraction, Small-Angle Neutron Scattering (GeNF), access to synchrotron radiation facilities (DESY) through beam time application.

Learn more about hydrogen technology at GKSS.

Selected Publications

Barkhordarian, G.; Jensen, T. R.; Doppiu, S.; Bosenberg, U.; Borgschulte, A.; Gremaud, R.; Cerenius, Y.; Dornheim, M.; Klassen, T.; Bormann, R.; “Formation of Ca(BH4)2 from Hydrogenation of CaH2+MgB2 Composite”; J. Phys. Chem. C.; Vol. 112 No. 7 (2008) 2743-2749,

M. Dornheim, N. Eigen, G. Barkhordarian, T. Klassen, R. Bormann, „Tailoring Hydrogen Storage Materials Towards Application”, In: Advanced Engineering Materials. Vol. 8 (5), (Wiley VCH, 2006) 377 - 385.

T. Klassen, Nanocrystalline light metal hydrides for hydrogen storage, in Nanostructure Control of materials, edited by R. Hannick and A. J. Hill, Woodhead Publisher Cambridge, UK, 2006.

P.-A. Huhn, M. Dornheim, T. Klassen, and R. Bormann, "Thermal Stability of Nanocrystalline MgH2 for Hydrogen Storage", Journal of Alloys and Compounds 404–406 (2005) 499–502

X. Z. Ma, E. Martinez-Franco, M. Dornheim, T. Klassen, and R. Bormann, "Catalyzed Na2LiAlH6 for hydrogen storage", Journal of Alloys and Compounds 404–406 (2005) 771–774.

G. Barkhordarian, T. Klassen, and R. Bormann, "Effect of Nb2O5 Content on Hydrogen Reaction Kinetics of Mg", J. Alloys and Compounds 364 1, 242 (2004)

G. Barkhordarian, T. Klassen, and R. Bormann, "Fast Hydrogen Sorption Kinetics of Nanocrystalline Mg using Nb2O5 as Catalyst", Scripta mater. 49, 213 (2003)

W. Oelerich, T. Klassen, and R. Bormann, "Comparison of the Catalytic Effects of V, V2O5, N, and VC on the Hydrogen Sorption of Nanocrystalline Mg", J. Alloys and Compounds 322, L5 (2001)

W. Oelerich, T. Klassen, and R. Bormann, "Hydrogen Sorption of Nanocrystalline Mg at Reduced Temperatures by Metal Oxide Catalysts", Advanced Engineering Materials 3, 487 (2001)

W. Oelerich, T. Klassen, and R. Bormann, "Metal Oxides as Catalysts for Improved Hydrogen Sorption in Nanocrystalline Mg-Based Materials", J. Alloys and Compounds 315, 237 (2001)


Dr. Klaus Taube
GKSS Research Centre Geesthacht GmbH
Institute for Materials Research
Max-Planck-Str. 1
D-21502  Geesthacht

Phone + 49 (4152) 87 - 2541
Fax +49 (4152) 87 - 2636

News and Events

Joint NESSHY - COSY Final Event

Oct., 5 - 6, 2010, Torino

9th COSY Project Meeting

October, 4 - 5, 2010
University of Torino, Italy

List of Workshops

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