STROMER - Sustainable Transformation by Electrochemical Reactions

The PhD college of the Research Unit Environmental Engineering and Biotechnology

Rapidly expanding and fluctuating electric power production based on renewable sources creates a need for electricity storage and utilization. This offers unprecedented potential for the utilization of electric energy in environmental and bio-technology. In electrochemical systems electrons are used as a uniform equivalent to monitor, control and drive a wide diversity of different redox processes. Using electrons as process drivers in engineered systems, e.g. to synthesize value-added compounds or to degrade contaminants, fulfills the principles of sustainable chemistry and promises an unrivaled economic advantage.

Knowledge gaps that were addressed

Electrochemical processes are based on interphases most prominently between electron and ion conductors, i.e. electrodes and electrolytes, and the transport in these conductors. Thus, for electrochemical process functions chemical, physical and biological heterogeneities at different structural and temporal levels play key roles. These heterogeneities can be utilized and steered using electrochemical potentials, e.g. for synthesis, degradation, and sensing. Thus, seizing electric power as described above cannot be achieved based on the current state of knowledge or even by utilizing existing technologies.

Overview STROMER The PhD college STROMER comprised 4 PhD-positions and was devoted to the understanding and engineering of physical, chemical and biological heterogeneities in electrochemical processes and reactors.

Research outcome

Dr. Jieying Zhou, Leipzig University, Faculty of Chemistry and Mineralogy, December 2021.

After completing her PhD, Dr. Zhou started working as a post-doctoral researcher at the Helmholtz Centre in Munich.


  1. J. Zhou, N. Saeidi, L.Y. Wick, F.-D. Kopinke, A. Georgi (2021): Adsorption of polar and ionic organic compounds on activated carbon: surface chemistry matters, Sci. Total Environ., art. 148508

  2. J. Zhou, Y. Zhang, M. Balda, V. Presser, F.-D. Kopinke, A. Georgi (2022): Electro-assisted removal of polar and ionic organic compounds from water using activated carbon felts, Chem. Eng. J., 433 (Part 2), art. 133544

  3. J. Zhou, N. Saeidi, L.Y. Wick, Y. Xie, F.-D. Kopinke, A. Georgi (2022): Efficient removal of trifluoroacetic acid from water using surface-modified activated carbon and electro-assisted desorption, J. Hazard. Mater., 436, art. 129051

Dr. Francesco Scarabotti, Leipzig University, Faculty of Life Science, May. 2022.

After completing his PhD, Dr. Scarabotti started working for the industry in fields of sensors, automation and biotechnology.


  1. F. Scarabotti, L. Rago, K. Bühler, F. Harnisch (2021):The electrode potential determines the yield coefficients of early-stage Geobacter sulfurreducens biofilm anodes, Bioelectrochemistry 140, art. 107752

  2. F. Scarabotti, A. Kuchenbuch, R. Kallies, K. Bühler, F. Harnisch (2022): Towards real-time determination of yield coefficients of early-stage electroactive biofilms using optical microscopy, Front. Energy Res. 10, art. 920266

  3. F. Scarabotti, K. Bühler, M. Schmidt, F. Harnisch (2022): Thickness and roughness of transparent gold-palladium anodes have no impact on growth kinetics and yield coefficients of early-stage Geobacter sulfurreducens biofilms, Bioelectrochemistry 2144, art. 108043

Mr. Anh Vu Nguyen is currently preparing his thesis for submission at the MLU Halle-Wittenberg.


  1. B. Lai, A.V. Nguyen, J.O. Krömer (2019): Characterizing the anoxic phenotype of Pseudomonas putida using a bioelectrochemical system, Methods Protoc., 2(2), 26

  2. A.V. Nguyen, B. Lai, L. Adrian, J.O. Krömer (2021): The anoxic electrode‐driven fructose catabolism of Pseudomonas putida KT2440. ; Microbial Biotechnology, 14, 1784–1796

  3. L. Pause, A. Weimer, N.T. Wirth, A.V. Nguyen, M. Pan, C. Wittmann, P.I. Nikel, B. Lai, J.O. Krömer: Anaerobic glucose uptake in Pseudomonas putida KT2440 in a bioelectrochemical system, To be submitted

The PhD was finally terminated by the candidate to start on an engineering position in the biotechnology industry.