Excursion to Schneeberg

Our company excursion took place on 04.06.2024. We headed up the Schneeberg – the highest mountain in Lower Austria. Some took the Schneebergbahn, others went up the mountain on foot. Strengthened by lunch at the Damböckhaus, we all walked up the Waxriegel together. 

Unfortunately, the summit cross was covered in fog. But we didn’t let that put us off, as the sun greeted us on the descent.

Thanks to everyone for the great trip.

copyright -Michael Meindl/ecoplus

Long Night of Research

On May 24, we proudly took part in the Long Night of Research, where families and interested visitors had the opportunity to experience science and research at our site in Wr. Neustadt. 

We are proud to be part of this fantastic event, with more than 90 participating research institutions throughout Lower Austria and to give an impression about our projects, capabilities and visions for the future.

For this reason, a big shout out to our colleagues, who took care of our demonstration stations and passionately sparked enthusiasm for science among visitors and the next generation of young scientists.

Riddhi Dhawan, Hermias Venter, Rene Wultsch, Markus Ostermann and Matthias Kogler

And a special thank you to the organizers of this fantastic event:
Rainer Gotsbacher, Sonja Schranz, ecoplus Niederösterreichs


copyright -Michael Meindl/ecoplus
copyright -Michael Meindl/ecoplus

COAST 2024

Many thanks to all speakers and around 100 participants who ensured a successful conference with a growing audience from academia and industry for the third time in a row!

On May 6 and 7, 2024 our 3rd Conference on Applied Surface Technology (COAST) took place in Vienna, focusing on surface-related topics to bridge the gap between basic research and its translation into industrial applications. The topics ranged from analytics, materials and sustainability to energy.

Surface chemistry is a wide field of research with significant implications for a broad range of other research fields, ranging from surface analytics over energy materials to sustainable solutions for our future. 

The aim of the conference was to present highlights of the diverse spectrum of surface chemical research. Furthermore, the variety of the different research approaches and the great importance of this field to develop solutions for sustainable novel technologies was highlighted.

Latest scientific results, exciting presentations and intensive discussions were framed by poster sessions, a conference dinner and networking opportunities. There was also a vote for the best poster and the winner received prize money and a certificate.

Save the date for next year – we look forward to seeing you on May 19 and 20, 2025!

Standard Article: Energy storage as a key technology

We are pleased to announce the publication of a groundbreaking standard article on energy storage. This article highlights the crucial role that energy storage plays as a key technology for the transformation of our energy system.

Energy storage technologies are essential to drive the expansion of renewable energy and make industrial processes sustainable. We are a leader in the development of innovative materials and processes for energy storage. Through continuous research and innovation, we make a significant contribution to improving the efficiency, reliability and cost-effectiveness of energy storage systems.

You can find out more HERE.

Success story: EFRE projects to reduce greenhouse gases on the rise

We are pleased to announce that a number of ERDF projects for the reduction of greenhouse gases have successfully won funding. One outstanding example is the “AktivMAT” project, which is dedicated to the development and benchmarking of new active materials for H2 and CO2 electrolyzers in order to produce green gases.

In close cooperation with the University of Applied Sciences Wiener Neustadt and the renowned company Fotec, we are taking an important step towards a sustainable future with “AktivMAT”. The partnership with the University of Applied Sciences Wiener Neustadt promises a solid scientific basis for the development of innovative technologies. At the same time, Fotec’s expertise will ensure that these technologies can be efficiently implemented in practice.

The funding of these ERDF projects is a decisive step towards actively tackling the challenges of climate change. By using hydrogen and capturing carbon dioxide, we are not only contributing to the reduction of greenhouse gases, but also creating new economic opportunities and strengthening the innovative power of our region.

We are confident that the success of these projects will make a significant contribution to achieving our environmental goals. Together with our partners, we are striving for a future in which green gases are a mainstay of a sustainable energy supply.

Developments on redof flow batteries

CEST and industry partner Enerox present research developments on redox flow batteries:

Together with collaborators from our industrial partner Enerox, researchers at CEST could unravel the role of active sites in electrodes, enabeling the development of more efficent and long-lasting Vanadium redox flow batteries.

Chemistry Europe – Unveiling the Role of Electrografted Carbon-Based Electrodes for Vanadium Redox Flow Batteries

This complements our joint efforts in extending the lifetime and efficiency of those promising energy storage systems. With our scientific collaborators at DECHEMA, we provided an overview about the aging of battery membranes, which is decisive to understand and avoid the degradation of battery systems.

Taylor & Francis Online – Membrane degradation in redox flow batteries

For further questions please contact our leading researcher in this field:

Dr. Christian Pichler
02622/ 222 66 – 521

Innovation Award 2023/24

We congratulate Dr. Markus Ostermann and Dr. Pierluigi Bilotto on winning this year’s Innovation Award 2023/24 at Technopol Wiener Neustadt.

Category: Start-up – innovative business ideas, Sponsor: accent

With 2D to sustainability: Producing green graphene nanosheets as multipurpose solution (production of graphene nanosheets for use in various industries)

With this outstanding topic, the two of them worked hard to win the prize.

We thank them for their cooperation.

The prizes were donated by ecoplus. Niederösterreichs Wirtschaftsagentur GmbH, tecnet equity NÖ Technologiebeteiligungs-Invest GmbH, accent Inkubator GmbH and the University of Applied Sciences Wiener Neustadt GmbH.

Click here for the Eco Plus article: Innovation Award 2023/24: Outstanding projects honored (ecoplus.at)

Mention in BHM 01/2024

Dear customers, partners and readers,

We are pleased to inform you that CEST Competence center for electrochemical surface technology GmbH has been mentioned in the Berg- und Hüttenmännische Monatsheft 01/2024 of ASMET (austian society for metallurgy and materials).

Read the article here : 

Thank you for your continued support!

With best regards,

Rebirth of biomass technology for functional materials through supramolecular upcycling – By Olga Guselnikova

For a considerable period, the engine of progress was fuelled primarily by economic incentives. However, this paradigm has shifted due to increased awareness of the environmental consequences of society. Focus has turned towards embracing sustainability as a precursor to assimilating the fruits of progress into industry. This trend leverages the conversion of different waste feedstock like plastics, metals, etc, into new added value matter. The added value matter could be fuels, solvents, organic substrates, new polymers, and functional materials.

Embracing the notion that “the new is often the well-forgotten old,” the use of biomass as a feedstock for materials with practicable qualities has been revisited and revitalized. The biomass is feedstock mainly derived from agricultural and forestry resources, and animal resources. Compared to other waste feedstock, such as plastic, electronic, and construction waste, biomass already fits more within the sustainable economic strategy due to its natural origin. The other side of this coin is the insufficient mechanical properties of biomass-derived materials which leads to poor durability and recyclability of functional materials from biomass.

Recent work from Leixiao Yu, Lingyan Gao, Shengyi Dong and team suggests a supramolecular strategy to overcome these limitations. They reported the conversion of 6 types of biomass (cellulose, guar gum, sericin protein, chitin, corn protein and potato starch) to functional materials via copolymerization with thioctic acid (TA) to afford poly[TA-biomass]. The material formation is driven by hydrogen bonding between TA and the polar functional groups in the biomass. Despite such non-covalent forces being reversible and inherently weaker than covalent bonds, prepared materials are proven to be highly impact resistant. The prepared poly[TA-biomass] is highly adhesive and water-resistant, however, it could be fully depolymerized by simple ethanol treatment and involved in the next cycle of polymerization-utilization without any obvious decay in mechanical strength. This anticipates potential applications of poly[TA-biomass as anti-water, impact resistant materials. The team expanded the potential application directions to the biomedical field by demonstrating high biocompatibility, nontoxicity, and antimicrobial effects towards both gram-positive and negative bacteria, attributed to TA. For instance, the newly prepared poly[TA-biomass] may hold promise for smart packaging or wound healing materials.

Figure 1:Chemical structures of biomass (upper block,) and preparation of poly[TA-biomass]s via supramolecular approach – formation of hydrogen bonding hydrogen bonding between thioctic and the polar functional groups in the biomass (middle block) and key advantages of poly[TA-biomass]s materials. Reproduced from DOI: 10.1039/d3mh01692g with permission from the Royal Society of Chemistry.

This recent work is a perfect example of the “waste to wealth” approach, where materials chemistry assisted in transforming common feedstock into functional materials. Combining waste feedstock with a supramolecular strategy is a promising concept that can be broadened to the use of other types of feedstock (plastic, metal) and a broad family of non-covalent interactions (hydrogen bonding, π- π stacking, hydrophobic effects). At the moment, however, this research directs the attention of the community to biomass as a promising feedstock for functional materials design.

To find out more, please read:

A supramolecular approach for converting renewable biomass into functional materials

Yunfei Zhang, Changyong Cai, Ke Xu, Xiao Yang, Leixiao Yu, Lingyan Gao and Shengyi Dong

Mater. Horiz., 2024, Advance Article, DOI: 10.1039/D3MH01692G


Dr Olga Guselnikova is a member of the Materials Horizons Community Board. She recently joined the Center for Electrochemistry and Surface Technology (Austria) to work on functional materials as a group leader. 

Dr. Guselnikova received her PhD degree in chemistry from the University of Chemistry and Technology Prague (Czech Republic) and Tomsk Polytechnic University (Russia) in 2019. Her research interests are related to surface chemistry for functional materials. This means that she is applying her background in organic chemistry to materials science: plasmonic and polymer surfaces are hybridized with organic molecules to create high-performance elements and devices.

Visit of Prof. Gogotsi at our ELSA lab!

It was a great honor for us to meet Prof. Yury Gogotsi, one of the discoverers of MXenes and leader in 2D material science. Prof. Gogotsi gave a lecture on MXenes at TU Wien explaining the incredible properties of MXenes and their applications in many fields such as catalysis, functional coatings, and energy storage. Prof. Gogotsi visited our ELSA facility and different groups at TU Wien (Prof Dominik Eder, Dr. Bayer-Skoff, and Prof. Carsten Gachot), including the Applied Interface Physics group of Prof. Markus Valtiner.

Our PhD students had the opportunity to discuss with him the best strategies to succeed in MXenes research. CEST is being successful in expanding its international collaboration and it looks forward to collaboration with key scientific partners around the world.