Complex materials play a crucial role for many important energy technologies. The performance of such materials is determined by their internal structure right down to the micro- and nano-scale. This research alliance will develop unique 3D micro-structural characterization methods, which make it possible to investigate components under realistic conditions and in real time. By correlating performance to local changes in the microstructure it will become possible to optimize the materials, leading to devices with higher efficiency, longer lifetime and lower cost.

The two major scientific topics will be 1) flow, i.e. correlating local flow properties with the 3D microstructure of a porous material, and 2) damage, where the influence of the 3D microstructure on crack nucleation and propagation is investigated. Flow properties are highly important in e.g. catalysts, batteries, fuel cells, and CO2 storage media. Damage induced microstructure changes determine the lifetime of e.g. wind turbines, catalyst pellets and solid oxide fuel cells.

By developing methods to address the two topics relating to experimental design, data acquisition, and data handling and analysis, the alliance will accelerate the introduction of energy technologies with improved efficiency or lifetime, significantly. Furthermore, the methods developed will be unique tools for quality control of components, thereby reducing cost and supporting standardization. The alliance joins three strong Danish groups, which have pioneered 3D X-ray imaging and analysis, and internationally renowned research leaders in wind turbine materials, fuel cell development, catalyst design and CO2-solid interactions. Currently five industry partners ensure a close focus on the most technologically relevant problems, while international partners bring access to additional state-of-the-art facilities and modelling competences.