Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht, 2017-10-19

Università degli Studi di Torino, Italy (UNITO)

NIS Centre of Excellence "Nanostructured Interfaces and Surfaces", Dipartimento di Chimica I.F.M. Universita' di Torino, Italy


Catlab reactor coupled with mass spectrometer for decomposition products determination and H2 evolution. Catlab reactor coupled with mass spectrometer for decomposition products determination and H2 evolution.

The Centre "Nanostructured Interphases and Surfaces" (NIS) has the dual mission of pursuing basic research and offering applied research services. The Centre offers a multi-disciplinary laboratory equipped with the most advanced techniques in microscopy and spectroscopy. The research groups of NIS of the University of Torino have focused their activities on several topics. Hydrogen storage is currently studied on different materials, including metallic hydrides.

NIS participates in advanced level training courses, supervises PhD students and use to welcoming and training foreigner visitors. The Centre participates in the Doctorate Course in Materials Science and Technology of the University of Torino and of Torino Polytechnic.

UNITO team participated to various European Projects on Hydrogen Storage (i.e. COSY and FLYHY). UNITO is coordinating the SSH2S project on hydrogen storage, financed by the FCH JU. UNITO is a member of the New European Research Grouping on Fuel Cells and Hydrogen, N.ERGHY.

In ECOSTORE, UNITO is leader of WP3, based on ab initio calculations and thermodynamic and kinetic modelling. In WP1 and WP2, UNITO will be involved for the experimental characterization of selected materials.


Key personnel

Prof. Marcello Baricco

Is an expert in kinetic and thermodynamic modelling. He is full professor in Metallurgy at the Department of Chemistry of the University of Torino, where he carries out teaching and research activity. He was supervisor of several degree and Ph.D. theses in Chemistry, Industrial Chemistry, Materials Science, Strategic Science. He has been responsible for the University of Torino in several national and international research projects with research institutions and industrial partners (PRIN-MIUR, UE, CRUI). He participated as scientific leader in research projects in the frame of the IV, V and VI Framework programs of the European Community (BRITE, RTN, MC-RTN).

Prof. Baricco's research activity is mainly based on Physical Metallurgy and it has been carried out at the Laboratory of Metallurgy of the Chemistry Department of the University of Torino. The scientific contributions have been presented in about 190 papers, published in international and national journals, and in several invited talks in international and national meetings.
The main research topics are related to metastable phases in metallic systems and may be classified as follows: a) Microstructure and kinetics of phase transformations in metallic systems; b) Thermodynamic properties an phase diagrams in metallic systems; c) Magnetic, mechanical and chemical properties of amorphous alloys and intermetallic compounds.

Prof. Roberto Gobetto

Full Professor of General and Inorganic Chemistry Prof. Gobetto is an expert of NMR techniques. As a member of the Governing Council of Interdivisional Group of Magnetic Resonance he organized several PhD schools of NMR at national and international level. He has been the supervisor of more than 90 degree thesis and 10 PhD thesis and he is author of 245 papers on international journals, 5 chapters on scientific books, three patents and a book of general and inorganic chemistry for university students. His main work has been devoted to the study of inorganic and organometallic systems. He developed also advanced NMR techniques in solution and solid state for the study of organometallic complexes, materials, pharmaceutical compounds and catalyzed reactions. Among his interests, the investigation of nonconventional hydrogen bonds by means of NMR relaxation times and the study of the hydrogen bond by means of solid state NMR coupled with data obtained from x-ray diffraction have to be underlined.

Prof. Carlo Nervi

Is associate professor in Inorganic Chemistry. He is interested in many aspects of electrochemistry and photophysics, in particular to the electrochemical behaviour of inorganic and organometallic complexes in non-aqueous solutions and their “solar fuel” applications. In this project he will follow the use of electrochemistry for batteries within the hydrogen storage framework. He is also exploring the field of the first principle calculations of NMR parameters in the solid state by employing periodic plane waves method.

Experimental and Theoretical Techniques

PXD, SEM, FTIR inside glove-box , Raman, TPD-MS, PCT, TGA, HP-DSC. Ab initio, thermodynamic and kinetic modelling of phase transformations.

11B MAS spectra for αCa(BH4)2 simulated coupling Quantum Espresso and GIPAW (red) compared to the experimental one (black).


Calculated phase diagrams for LiBH4 composition compared with literature experimental data. Blue dashed line for the stable phase diagram, black continuous line for the metastable phase diagram obtained rejecting Li2B12H12 from the calculations.


Experimental IR spectra of different LiBH4 + Lithium-halide mixtures

Selected publications

  • D. Pottmaier, C. Pistidda, E. Groppo, S. Bordiga, G. Spoto, M. Dornheim, M. Baricco, “Dehydrogenation reactions of 2NaBH4 + MgH2 system”, International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, 36 (2011) 7891-7896, DOI: 10.1016/j.ijhydene.2011.01.059.

  • D. Pottmaier, E. R. Pinatel, J. G. Vitillo, S. Garroni, M. Orlova, M. D. Barò, G. B. M. Vaughan, M. Fichtner, W. Lohstroh and M. Baricco, “Structure and Thermodynamic Properties of the NaMgH3 Perovskite: A Comprehensive Study”, Chem. Mater., 2011, 23 (9), pp 2317–2326, DOI: 10.1021/cm103204p.
  • A. El Kharbachi, E. Pinatel, I. Nuta, M. Baricco “A thermodynamic assessment of LiBH4” Calphad 39 (2012) 80. DOI: 10.1016/j.calphad.2012.08.005
  • E. Albanese, G. N. Kalantzopoulos, J. G. Vitillo, E. Pinatel, B. Civalleri, S. Deledda, S. Bordiga, B. C. Hauback, M. Baricco “Theoretical and experimental study on Mg(BH4) 2-Zn(BH4)2 mixed borohydrides” J. Alloy Compd. 580 (2013) S282. DOI: 10.1016/j.jallcom.2013.02.165
  • Piero Zanello, Carlo Nervi, Fabrizia Fabrizi de Biani, “Inorganic Electrochemistry. Theory, Practice and Application”, 2nd Ed., RSC, 2011, ISBN: 978-1-84973-071-6.
  • Federico Franco, Marcello Baricco, Michele R. Chierotti, Roberto Gobetto, Carlo Nervi, “Coupling Solid-State NMR with GIPAW ab Initio Calculations in Metal Hydrides and Borohydrides”, J. Phys. Chem. C, 2013, 117, 9991-9998.
  • Jan Rongé, Tom Bosserez, David Martel, Carlo Nervi, Luca Boarino, Francis Taulelle, Gero Decher, Silvia Bordiga, Johan A. Martens, “Monolithic Cells for Solar Fuels”, Chem.Soc.Rev., 2014, DOI: 10.1039/c3cs60424a.