Chair of Colloid and Environmental Chemistry

Main research areas

1) Studies of nanostructured and chemically modified materials (Kaido Tammeveski,

  • development of new cathode materials for low-temperature fuel cells
  • oxygen reduction on nitrogen-doped carbon nanomaterials and non-precious metal catalysts
  • electrochemical reduction of oxygen on nanostructured metal electrodes
  • electrocatalytic properties of metal nanoparticles attached to carbon nanotubes and graphene
  • electrocatalytic properties of chemically modified electrodes towards oxygen reduction
  • influence of organic films on the electrochemical properties of various materials (C, Au, Ni)

The study of electrocatalysis of the oxygen reduction reaction is related to the development of low-temperature fuel cells (see Scheme). The electrochemical reduction of oxygen occurs on the fuel cell cathode and platinum and its alloys are predominantly used as electrocatalysts for this process. The high price of Pt and its limited supply are the main factors that hinder the wider commercialization of fuel cells. For this reason we have carried out research to replace costly platinum with cheaper alternative catalysts. The basic requirements for novel and less expensive catalysts materials are high electrocatalytic activity towards oxygen reduction and good durability in fuel cell conditions. We have paid a great deal of attention to the determination of kinetic parameters for oxygen reduction on these non-precious metal catalysts.

Fuel cells, which operate at lower temperature than 100 ºC, are considered as attractive energy conversion devices in several fields, including automotive applications. Fuel cell technology is environmentally friendly, because the only product of fuel cell processes is water.

Group members:
Dr. Kaido Tammeveski, Associate Professor
Dr. Ave Sarapuu, Senior Research Associate
Dr. Nadežda Kongi, Researcher
Dr. Ivar Kruusenberg, Researcher
Dr. Elo Kibena, Researcher

In 2010-2015 four PhD thesis have been defended (Nadežda Kongi, Marko Kullapere, Ivar Kruusenberg and Elo Kibena). We have published 50 papers in peer-reviewed Journals during this period.


2) Environmental chemistry and technology (Toomas Tenno,

  • environmental impact of oil shale semi-coke deposition and physico-chemical processes in semi-coke
  • production of biogas by anaerobic treatment of biological waste
  • mass transfer processes through the air-water interface
  • bioremediation of soils polluted with oil products
  • optimization of the composting technologies

3) Research and development of biosensors (Toonika Rinken,

  • biosensor construction and modelling
  • study of biosensor arrays
  • development and application of biosensors: for the detection of antibiotic residues in raw milk, biogenic amines etc.
  • separation, purification and immobilization of enzymes and other bioactive compounds for application in biosensors
  • development of biosensors based on microorganisms and their application for the determination of biochemical oxygen demand (BOD)


Lectures, seminars and laboratory works in environmental chemistry, analysis and modelling, waste management, colloid- and surface chemistry, etc.


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