Stefan Freunberger

DI Dr. Sc. ETH

P: +43 316 873 32386 E:

Stefan Freunberger studied chemistry at Vienna University of Technology, Austria. During this time he gained industrial experience in silicon chemistry and semiconductor technology with Wacker Chemistry and Infineon technologies in Germany. For his master’s and Ph.D. thesis he moved to the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zurich and the Paul Scherrer Institute, Switzerland. The work, under the guidance of Prof. Alexander Wokaun and Felix Büchi was on polymer electrolyte fuel cells. To investigate transport processes on a wide range of relevant scales he developed advanced models and novel experimental techniques. Among others the work also involved projects with Michelin and a Japanese car manufacturer and a stay as visiting scientist with Prof. Ned Djilali at the University of Victoria, Canada.

For postdoctoral work he joined the group of Prof. Peter G. Bruce FRS at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland, to work on fundamental aspects of the non-aqueous Li-O2 battery. For this work he earned an EPSRC early career fellowship. His contributions to this rapidly evolving field embrace the development of in-situ spectroscopic techniques, elucidation of the reaction mechanism, electrocatalysis and the important role of electrolyte and electrode substrate.

He is author of over 30 peer reviewed publications, including in Science, Nature Materials and Nature Chemistry, furthermore four patents and two book chapters. His work was presented at numerous lectures at major conferences, many of which invited. In 2012 Freunberger moved to ICTM at Graz University of Technology to build his own research.

His research focuses on electrochemical energy storage materials, electrolytes and reaction mechanisms for advanced non-aqueous battery chemistries and their ageing behaviour.

Researcher ID ; google scholar

Selected Awards and distinctions

  • ERC Starting Independent Researcher Grant 2014
  • Styrian Promotion Award for Science and Research 2014 (Förderungspreis für Wissenschaft und Forschung des Landes Steiermark)
  • La Chaire TOTAL de la Fondation Balard "Chimie et énergies durables" 2014.  Invited professorship at the Université de Montpellier, France.
  • The Electrochemical Society: Energy Technology Division Supramaniam Srinivasan Young Investigator Award 2013.
  • Science Award Electrochemistry 2012 by BASF and Volkswagen: 2nd place.
  • EPSRC ‘Rising Star’ early career fellowship 2011.

Publications in peer reviewed journals


33.   L. Johnson, C. Li, Z. Liu, Y. Chen, S.A. Freunberger, P.C. Ashok, B.B. Praveen, K. Dholakia, J.-M. Tarascon, P.G. Bruce, "The role of LiO2 solubility in O2 reduction in aprotic solvents and its consequences for Li–O2 batteries", Nature Chemistry, 2014, 6, 1091–1099 doi:10.1038/nchem.2101.

32.   D. Aigner , S.A. Freunberger , M. Wilkening , R. Saf , S.M. Borisov , I. Klimant "Enhancing Photoinduced Electron Transfer Efficiency of Fluorescent pH-Probes with Halogenated Phenols" Anal.Chem., 2014, 86, 9293-9300. doi:10.1021/ac502513g

31.   A. Dunst, V. Epp, I. Hanzu, S. A. Freunberger, M. Wilkening "Short-range Li diffusion vs long-range ionic conduction in nanocrystalline lithium peroxide Li2O2 – the discharge product in lithium-air batteries" Energy Environ. Sci. , 2014, 7, 2739-2752. doi:10.1039/C4EE00496E

30.   D. G. Kwabi, N. Ortiz-Vitoriano, S. A. Freunberger, Y. Chen, N. Imanishi, P. G. Bruce, Y. Shao-Horn "Materials challenges in rechargeable lithium-air batteries" MRS Bulletin, 2014, 39, 443-452. doi:10.1557/mrs.2014.87

29.   C. Li, O. Fontaine, S. A. Freunberger, L. Johnson, S. Grugeon, S. Laruelle, P. G. Bruce, M. Armand "Aprotic Li–O2 Battery: Influence of Complexing Agents on Oxygen Reduction in an Aprotic Solvent." J. Phys. Chem. C, 2014, 118, 3393-3401. doi:10.1021/jp4093805


28.   M.M. Ottakam Thotiyl, S.A. Freunberger, Z. Peng, Y. Chen, Z. Liu, P.G. Bruce, " A stable cathode for the aprotic Li–O2 battery." Nature Materials 2013, 12, 1050-1056.doi:10.1038/NMAT3737

27.   Y. Chen*, S.A. Freunberger*, Z. Peng, O. Fontaine and P.G. Bruce, "Charging a Li–O2 battery using a redox mediator." Nature Chemistry 2013, 5, 489-494. doi:10.1038/nchem.1646 *equal contributions


26.   M.M. Ottakam Thotiyl, S.A. Freunberger, Z. Peng, P. G. Bruce, The Carbon Electrode in Non-aqueous Li-O2 Cells. J. Am. Chem. Soc., 135, 494–500 (2013).


25.   N.-S. Choi, Z. Chen, S.A. Freunberger, G. Yushin, X. Ji, Y.-K. Sun, K. Amine, L.F. Nazar,  J. Cho, P.G. Bruce, Challenges Facing Lithium Batteries and Electrical Double-Layer Capacitors. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 51, 9994–10024 (2012); Angew. Chem., 124, 10134–10166 (2012).

24.   Z. Peng*, S.A. Freunberger*, Y. Chen, P. G. Bruce, A reversible and higher rate Li-O2 battery. Science, 337, 563 (2012). *equal contributions

Nature | Research Highlight: Rechargeable Li-air battery. Nature 488, 8 (2012).
Issue Highlight in Science 3 August 2012: Science 337, 563 (2012).


23.   Y. Chen, S.A. Freunberger, Z. Peng, P. G. Bruce, The Li-O2 battery with a dimethylformamide electrolyte. J. Am. Chem. Soc., 134, 7952 (2012).

22.   P. G. Bruce, S.A. Freunberger, L. J. Hardwick, J-M. Tarascon, Li-O2 and Li-S Batteries with High Energy Storage. Nature Mater., 11, 19 (2012).


21.   S.A. Freunberger, N. E. Drewett, L. J. Hardwick, F. Bardé, P. G. Bruce, The Lithium-Oxygen Battery with Ether-based Electrolytes. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 50, 8609 (2011); Angew. Chem., 123, 8768–8772 (2011).

Editor’s Choice: ‘Hot paper’ for its importance in a rapidly evolving field of high current interest.

20.   S. A. Freunberger, Y. Chen, Z. Peng, J. M. Griffin, L. J. Hardwick, F. Bardé, P. Novák, P. G. Bruce, Reactions in the rechargeable lithium-O2 battery with alkyl carbonate electrolytes. J. Am. Chem. Soc., 133, 8040 (2011).


19.   Z. Peng, S. A. Freunberger, L. J. Hardwick, Y. Chen, V. Giordani, F. Bardé, P. Novák, D. Graham, J.-M. Tarascon, P. G. Bruce, Oxygen Reactions in a Non-Aqueous Li+ Electrolyte. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 50, 6351 (2011).

18.   V. Giordani, S.A. Freunberger, P.G. Bruce, J.-M. Tarascon, D. Larcher, H2O2 decomposition reaction as selecting tool for catalysts in Li-O2 cells. Electrochem. Solid State Lett. 14, A64 (2011).


17.   L. Trahey, C.S. Johnson, J.T. Vaughey, S.-H. Kang, L.J. Hardwick, S.A. Freunberger, P.G. Bruce, M.M. Thackeray, Activated Lithium-Metal-Oxides as Catalytic Electrodes for Li-O2 Cells.  Electrochem. Solid State Lett. 13, A180 (2010).


16.   M. Reum, S.A. Freunberger, A. Wokaun, F.N. Büchi, Measuring the Current Distribution in PEFCs with Sub-Millimeter Resolution, II. Impact of Operating Parameters. J. Electrochem. Soc. 156, B310 (2009).


15.   R. Flückiger, S.A. Freunberger, D. Kramer, A. Wokaun, G.G. Scherer, F.N. Büchi, Anisotropic, effective diffusivity of porous gas diffusion layer materials for PEFC. Electrochim. Acta 54, 551 (2008).

14.   S.A. Freunberger, I.A. Schneider, P.-C. Sui, A. Wokaun, N. Djilali, F.N. Büchi, Cell Interaction Phenomena in Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cell Stacks J. Electrochem. Soc., 155,  B704 (2008).

13.   D. Kramer, S.A. Freunberger, R. Flückiger, I.A. Schneider, A. Wokaun, F.N. Büchi, G.G. Scherer, Electrochemical diffusimetry of fuel cell gas diffusion layers, J. Electroanalyt. Chem., 612, 63 (2008).


12.   F.N. Büchi, G. Paganelli, P. Dietrich, D. Laurent, A. Tsukada, P.-A. Magne, D. Walser, P. Varenne, R. Kötz, S.A. Freunberger, A. Delfino, D. Olsommer, Consumption and Efficiency of a Passenger Car with a Hydrogen/Oxygen PEFC based Hybrid Electric Drive Train. Fuel Cells, 7, 329 (2007).

11.   F.N. Büchi, S.A. Freunberger, M. Reum, G. Paganelli, A. Tsukada, P. Dietrich, A. Delfino, On the Efficiency of an Advanced Automotive Fuel Cell System. Fuel Cells, 7, 159 (2007).

10.   I.A. Schneider, S.A. Freunberger , D. Kramer, A. Wokaun, G.G. Scherer, Oscillations in the gas channels, I. The Forgotten Player in Impedance Spectroscopy in Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cells. J. Electrochem. Soc., 154, B383 (2007).


9.    M. Santis, S.A. Freunberger, M. Papra, A. Wokaun, F.N. Büchi, Experimental Investigation of Coupling Phenomena in Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cell Stacks. J. Power Sources, 161, 1076 (2006).

8.    S.A. Freunberger , M. Reum, J. Evertz, A. Wokaun, F.N. Büchi, Measuring the Current Distribution in PEFCs with Sub-Millimeter Resolution, I. Methodology. J. Electrochem. Soc., 153, A2158 (2006).

Energy Research Highlight 2006 at Paul Scherrer Institute

7.    S.A. Freunberger, M. Reum, A. Wokaun, F.N. Büchi, Expanding Current Distribution Measurement in PEFCs to Sub-Millimeter Resolution. Electrochem. Commun., 8, 1438 (2006).

6.    M. Santis, S.A. Freunberger, A. Reiner, F.N. Büchi, Homogenization of the Current Density in Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cells by In-Plane Cathode Catalyst Gradients. Electrochimica Acta, 51, 5383 (2006).

5.    S.A. Freunberger , A. Wokaun, F.N. Büchi, In-Plane Effects in Large Scale PEFC, II. The Influence of Cooling Strategy on Cell Performance. J. Electrochem. Soc., 153, A909 (2006).

4.    S.A. Freunberger, M. Santis, I.A. Schneider, A. Wokaun, F.N. Büchi, In-Plane Effects in Large Scale PEFC, I. Model Formulation and Validation. J. Electrochem. Soc., 153, A396 (2006).

3.    F.N. Büchi, S.A. Freunberger, M. Santis, What is Learned Beyond the Scale of Single Cells? ECS Trans., 3, 963 (2006).


2.    J. Mantzaras, S.A. Freunberger , F.N. Büchi, M. Roos, W. Brandstätter, M. Prestat, L.L. Gauckler, B. Andreaus, F. Hajbolouri, S.M. Senn, D. Poulikakos, A.K. Chaniotis, D. Larrain, N. Autissier, F. Marechal, Fuel Cell Modeling and Simulation. Chimia, 58, 857 (2004).

1.    M. Santis, D. Schmid, M. Ruge, S.A. Freunberger}, F.N. Büchi, Modular Stack-Internal Air Humidification Concept-Verification in a 1kW Stack. Fuel Cells, 4, 214 (2004).


4.    F. Bardé, P.G. Bruce, Y. Chen, S.A. Freunberger.

Stable non-aqueous electrolyte promoting ideal reaction process in rechargeable Metal-Air batteries,

Int. Patent Nr. WO2013053378-A1 (2013).

3.    F. Bardé, P.G. Bruce, S.A. Freunberger, Y. Chen, L. Hardwick,

Production and composition of cathode material for rechargeable lithium-air batteries,

Int. Patent Nr. WO 2012111169 (2012).

2.    F. Bardé, P.G. Bruce, S.A. Freunberger

Cathode catalyst for rechargeable metal-air rechargeable metal-air battery.

Int. Patent Nr: WO2011148518-A1 (2011).

1.    F.N. Büchi, S.A. Freunberger, Method and device for the stacking of fuel cells.

Int. Patent  Nr: PCT/EP03/07840 (2003).

Book Chapters (peer reviewed)

2.   S. A. Freunberger, Y. Chen, F. Bardé, K. Takechi, F. Mizuno, P.G. Bruce. Chapter 2: "Nonaqueous Electrolytes". DOI 10.1007/978-1-4899-8062-5_2. in Lithium-air batteries: Fundamentals.  Nobuyuki Imanishi, Alan C.Luntz, Peter G. Bruce (Eds.) Springer (2014) ISBN 978-1-4899-8062-5.

Invited contribution

1.    S.A. Freunberger, M. Reum, F.N. Büchi

Design Approaches for Determining Local Current and Resistance in PEFC, in Handbook of Fuel Cells – Fundamentals, Technology and Applications, John Wiley & Sons, New York, Vol. 6, Chapter 41 (2009).

Invited contribution