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Campus Energia

Advanced Materials for Energy

Group Leader of Nanoionics and Fuel Cells

Prof. ICREA Dr. Albert Tarancón
Jardins de les Dones de Negre 1, 2ª pl.
Sant Adrià de Besòs 08930
+34 933 562 615
+34 933 563 802

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Albert holds M.Sc. and PhD degrees in Physics from the University of Barcelona (2001, 2007) and M. Eng. degree in Materials Science from the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (2007).

He has worked as a research associate at the Institute of Microelectronics of Barcelona (ES) and as a visiting researcher at the University of Oslo (NO), Imperial College London(UK) and Caltech (USA). In 2010, Albert gained a Ramon y Cajal Fellowship and joined the Catalonia Institute for Energy Research (IREC) as the Head of the Nanoionics and Fuel Cells Group. Currently, he is ICREA Professor at IREC and leads a group of 25+ people devoted to nanomaterials for alternative energy technologies and their applicability in powering portable devices and synthetic fuel production. He has been principal investigator of 8 EU research projects, including one ERC-Consolidator Grant and two H2020 coordinated projects, attracting a total amount of 15+ M€ as PI. He is currently editor of the Journal of Physics Energy of the Institute of Physics.

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Research Interests

The research work carried out by Albert is in advanced materials for energy applications. In particular, he has been developing innovative concepts for improving the performance of different solid state energy devices such as Solid Oxide Fuel and Electrolysis Cells (SOFC/SOEC), ThermoElectric Generators (TEGs) or Li-ion batteries for energy storage and portable power applications.

In the last years, Albert has been specifically developing new concepts for the unexplored field of Nanoionics. Nanoionics is called to drive a new revolution similarly to Nanoelectronics, underlining the relevance of size effects and interfaces on mass transfer, transport and storage. Albert's group is pioneer in implementing interface-dominated nanomaterials in real devices for radically new applications. In this direction, he was recently awarded with an ERC CoG to implement disruptive Nanoionics concepts in Si-integrated micro-SOFC technology.


1) Layered perovskites as promising cathodes for Intermediate Temperature SOFCs. A. Tarancón, M. R. Chater, S. J. Skinner, F. Hernández and J. A. Kilner

Journal of Materials Chemistry 17 (2007) 3175. Selected as hot paper of the journal

Reviewed in Chemical Technology4 (2007) T60

Oxygen transport properties and electrical performance of GdBaCo2O5+δ, a mixed ionic-electronic conductor with layered structure, were evaluated showing its potential as a cathode for intermediate temperature solid oxide fuel cells. Its structural characteristics suggest a new family of SOFCs cathode materials based on layered perovskites

2) Characterization of the Electrical Properties of Individual Tin-Oxide Nanowires Contacted to Platinum Nanoelectrodes. F. Hernández, A. Tarancón, O. Casals, E. Pellicer, J. Rodríguez, A. Romano, J. R. Morante, S. Barth, S. Mathur

Physical Review B 76 (2007) 085429

A simple and useful experimental alternative to field-effect transistors for measuring electrical properties (free electron concentration, electrical mobility, and conductivity) in individual nanowires has been developed. A combined model involving thermionic emission and tunneling through interface states is proposed to describe the electrical conduction through the platinum-nanowire contacts, fabricated by focused ion beam techniques. Current-voltage plots of single nanowires measured in both two- and four-probe configurations revealed high contact resistances and rectifying characteristics. The observed electrical behavior was modeled using an equivalent circuit constituted by a resistance placed between two back-to-back Schottky barriers, arising from the metal-semiconductor-metal junctions.

3) Monolithically integrated thermoelectric energy harvester based on silicon nanowire arrays for powering micro/nanodevices. D. Dávila, A. Tarancón, C. Calaza, M. Salleras, M. Fernández-Regúlez, A. San Paulo, L. Fonseca

Nano Energy 1 (2012) 812. Selected for the cover image of the issue

For the first time, silicon nanowires were implemented in a planar thermoelectric microgenerator. A power generation high enough for micro/nanodevices; 23 μW/cm2 at ΔT=50 °C was achieved. The papers presents a good thermoelectric metamaterial based on linked arrays of doped silicon nanowires with enhanced performance for harvesting applications based on abundant, low-cost and integrable materials.

4) Full ceramic micro solid oxide fuel cells: towards more reliable MEMS power generators operating at high temperatures. I. Garbayo, D. Pla, A. Morata, L. Fonseca, N. Sabaté, A. Tarancón

Energy Environ. Sci., 7 (2014), 3617. Selected for the front cover of the issue

Batteries, with a limited capacity, have dominated the power supply of portable devices for decades. Recently, the emergence of new types of highly efficient miniaturized power generators like micro fuel cells has opened up alternatives for continuous operation on the basis of unlimited fuel feeding. This work addresses for the first time the development of a full ceramic micro solid oxide fuel cell fabricated in silicon technology. This full-ceramic device represents a new generation of miniaturized power generators able to operate at high temperatures, and therefore able to work with a hydrocarbon fuel supply.

5) Engineering Mixed Ionic Electronic Conduction in La0.8Sr0.2MnO3+δ Nanostructures through Fast Grain Boundary Oxygen Diffusivity. A. M. Saranya, D. Pla, A. Morata, A. Cavallaro, J. Canalez-Vázquez, J. A. Kilner, M. Burriel, A. Tarancón

Advanced Energy Materials , DOI: 10.1002/aenm.201570064 (2015). Selected for the cover of the issue

Nanoionics has become an increasingly promising field for the future development of advanced energy conversion and storage devices, such as batteries, fuel cells and supercapacitors. Particularly, nanostructured materials offer unique properties or combinations of properties as electrodes and electrolytes in a range of energy devices. However, the enhancement of the mass transport properties at the nanoscale has often been found to be difficult to implement in nanostructures. In this work, an artificial mixed ionic electronic conducting oxide is fabricated by grain boundary engineering thin films of La0.8Sr0.2MnO3+δ. This electronic conductor is converted into a good mixed ionic electronic conductor by synthesizing a nanostructure with high density of vertically aligned grain boundaries with high concentration of strain-induced defects.


1. ENhanced DURability materials for Advanced stacks of New solid oxide fuel Cells (ENDURANCE), FP7-EU (621207). IREC’s Budget: 395.000€; 2014-2016(36 months). PI: Albert Tarancón

2. Silicon Friendly Materials and Device Solutions for Microenergy Applications (SiNERGY), FP7-NMP-EU (604169); IREC’s Budget: 588.000€; 2013-2016(36 months). PI: Albert Tarancón

3. Development of cost effective manufacturing technologies for key components or fuel cell systems (Cell3Ditor), EU-H2020-JTI-FCH-2015-1 (700266), Total Budget: 2180k€, IREC’s Budget: 503.000€; 2016-2020(42 months). Coordinator: Albert Tarancón

4. Efficient Co-Electrolyser for Efficient Renewable Energy Storage (ECo), EU-H2020-JTI-FCH-2015-1 (699892), IREC’s Budget: 323.000€; 2016-2019 (36 months). PI: Albert Tarancón -

5. Breaking the temperature limits of Solid Oxide Fuel Cells: Towards a new family of ultra-thin portable power sources (ULTRASOFC), EU-H2020- ERC-CoG-2015 (681146), IREC’s Budget: 1.886.000€, 2016-2021 (60 months). PI: Albert Tarancón

6. Energy HarveStorers for Powering the Internet of Things (HARVESTORE), EU-H2020-FETPROACT # 824072; Total Budget: 7.600.200€; IREC’s Budget: 964.000€; 2018-2023 (60 months). Coordinator: Albert Tarancón