Christina Toigo has found her professional calling in the fields of hydrogen technology and sustainability. The mother of two is working on making hydrogen technology more economical and energy storage systems fit for the future. In addition to her research and teaching activities at the Wels University of Applied Sciences, she also advises companies.
“Hydrogen technology and energy storage are incredibly exciting fields of research. There is an unbelievable amount of movement here at the moment,” says Toigo. The 36-year-old chemist passes on her knowledge to students studying electrical engineering, applied energy technology and sustainable energy systems.
The key to the energy transition
Hydrogen is considered a building block for the energy transition. The possibility of splitting water into its components hydrogen and oxygen using electricity – ideally obtained from renewable energy sources – makes hydrogen a green energy storage medium. Hydrogen can be converted back into electrical energy using a fuel cell. This requires innovative solutions for storing this energy safely and efficiently.
Toigo focuses on sustainable energy storage systems. “I focus on materials that do not contain critical battery raw materials such as cobalt or nickel. They should be readily available in Europe and easy to obtain.” The scientist is convinced that it is becoming increasingly important for Europe to be able to position itself on the world market without being dependent on China, for example. In addition to rechargeable batteries based on lithium ions, Toigo is also researching systems based on other raw materials such as sodium, zinc or aluminum. “Apart from sodium, research here is still in its infancy. I see great potential in this.”
When it comes to hydrogen technology, however, the scientist, who comes from the district of Passau, curbs the expectations of everyone who hopes for results that are too quick. “Good research is time-consuming and cannot be conjured up,” says Toigo. “Hydrogen will not solve all energy problems either, but it will be a possible complement to existing systems.”