Selection of publications

Some technical articles & papers

MW plasma technology for processing hydrogen
origin: © Alexander Kirch |

Hydrogen the future energy carrier

How to get H2 the smart & more eco-friendly way?

Today´s mainly promoted H2 processes still suffer from the significant emission of CO2, directly or indirectly, as well as from the operational inefficiency. They are very energy-intensive and thus will significantly further increase future electricity demand especially from renewables to allow H2 being labelled green. At the same time H2 storage and transportation involve high energy losses, need high CAPEX and bear major risks.

It should also be noted that the much-hyped techniques currently still require water of drinking quality. Clean drinking water, an extremely limited resource. And the situation with regard to access to clean water will become globally more difficult in the near future. The use of saltwater, as currently being researched, could be a solution to avoid the use of valuable drinking water, but it does not change the enormous additional energy demand for the generation of hydrogen.

What if there is a better solution than the ones currently being widely discussed? Find it and talk about it!

Plasma decarbonisation of natural gas

Make use of natural gas a cleaner way
Talking MW – Plasma Technology and not pyrolysis

A 100% CO2-free technology for catalytic cracking of CH4 into Hydrogen plus Carbon black at low temperatures and thus significantly less energy demanding than pyrolysis processes. The energetic conversion efficiency of approx. 90% at low enthalpy reduces energy consumption and dissipated heat remarkably compared to all other processes under discussion.

H2! Plasma Tech

The „self-sufficient“, „on-demand“, „on-site“ and “at-home” CO2-free decarbonisation of natural gas by means of plasma processing represents currently one of the most energy-efficient methods of producing hydrogen – H2.

Turning natural gas into a raw material for CO2-free H2 production to feed future energy demand

Forget about combusting or flaring natural gas. Making for instance wasted flare gas a valuable resource. No gas flaring any more means tremendously improved CO2 footprint, no pollution, eliminating all negative aspects related to it, thus active environment protection.

Turning venting and flaring into electricity and clean water by means of plasma technology. Use natural gas as raw material for something better and not as fuel.

Don´t demonise it because it is fossil. Natural gas will continue to be available, produced and developed for decades to come. Infrastructures and transport routes exist, it is and will be decentralised available and used. So why not using the aforementioned to make something better out of it, a raw material for a water saving and CO2-free production of the future fuel H2.

Plasma Technology, a smart and clever way producing hydrogen decentralized, on-demand, on-site wherever H2 directly as fuel, for the production of synthetic fuels, for generating power and heat (CHP) and clean water is needed. A novel patented Technology, turning CH4 into H2 + Carbon black by means of plasma technology, energy efficient, CO2 neutral (no emission neither direct nor indirect) and capable for self-sufficient operation. An very efficient way producing hydrogen.

Suitable for use wherever natural gas is available or can be made available. There is no demand for Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) and no demand for “grey” electricity. Its stand-alone capability makes H2 production independent from renewables. Once power from wind, sun or water is not available, in combination with a fuel cell the units can cover their own energy needs for operation, whereby the H2 out-put is higher than the H2 consumption for operation. So, in principle there is no need for external power and a permanent CO2-free H2 production is possible.

The modular & dynamically scalable plasma units can be installed decentralized at end user spot e.g. houses, residential areas, gas stations, power stations serving e-mobility, industry plants, etc.
H2 has a high mass specific energy density but is extremely volatile. Hydrogen is also highly reactive and aggressive to many materials such as metals. Metals become brittle can form cracks and thus become not highly durable. This makes transport and storage risky. Therefore, it is best not to store or transport it, but to produce it when needed. The combination of “self-sufficient”, “on-demand” and “on-site & at-home” eliminates the need for storage and transport as well as the associated energy losses, high investments and risks.

The plasma units can be built and commissioned quickly and are widely scalable by uprating. Installations are scalable in capacity by adding modules. The H2 produced is used directly or converted into electricity. As valuable byproduct carbon is produced in the process and can be used in a CO2-neutral manner. This Carbon black is a zero CO2 raw material for sell. It is a free flowing and conductive, high purity and quality powder, with spherically shaped particles. It is good for production of toner, tires, varnish and paints, conductive and heatable wall paints, electrodes, sol-gel agents, ceramics, light-weight materials, composites, lubricants, active coal products etc. It can also be of high interest for the agriculture sector being used as “Terra Preta” for soil improvement, as humus, to reduce the need of fertilizer and last, but not least, for increasing the long-term yield.

H2! Plasma Tech

A clever, energy efficient and CO2-free way of producing H2 as carrier for feeding future energy needs.

Key Takeaways !

No combustion and flaring of natural gas anymore.

Use natural gas as raw material for something better.

Do it the clever way:
Emission-free conversion of
CH4 into 2H2 and Carbon black
by means of H2! Plasma Tech.

High energetic conversion efficiency, low temperature processing.

Self-sufficient, on-demand, on-site, at-home & scalable.

Lab Diamonds

What is formed over a billion years, one can generate within hours and days by focusing the elemental forces in a vacuum vessel. A method used to culture diamonds in the lab is the chemical vapour deposition (CVD).

Man-made or lab-grown diamonds (so called lab-diamonds) are optically, chemically and physically identical to their earth-mined counterparts.

Specialized CVD reactors are used to culture the high-quality roughs to become later a polished gem or a crystalline lens, an implant, a cutting blade, a scalpel edge, etc. Single crystalline, poly crystalline, electronic grade as well as highly oriented and ultra-nano crystalline material can be farmed.

From lab grown roughs to beautiful polished gems

In terms of jewellery, ethical and ecological gemstones are a booming market. Whichever way you look at lab grown diamonds, customers, especially younger generations want it and thus the growth is inevitable.

The smartest way culturing diamonds for jewellery in the lab is going for a turnkey solution including all processes along the production chain for roughs. Such modular expandable production cells are standardized, exclusive and unique.

Fast market access is essential

To fast-track the access to roughs from the lab, thus the participation in a rapidly growing market, operator models and contract production could be the entrance, also to bridge the time span until one really decides on setting up a vertically integrated own production line considering all the pros and cons. The main driver deciding for the fast track is the lack of expertise in farming diamonds. To get that, needs time. Time passing, while others take over the lead.

For applications other than jewellery tailored modifications of lab grown diamonds are of high future interest. Man-made diamonds modified to purpose can become of high interest for various future applications, e.g. as truly bio-inert material in the fast growing health care business as medical and dental implants, in the electronics and micro sensor sector, for micro-mechanics, as cutting blades, for quantum computing.

For such technical uses machines for research are available and will be specifically designed to purpose.

Pimp My Tool:  Attraktives Verhaltensprofil durch „Präparation + Hightech Beschichtung“
G.Erkens, In: WOMag Kompetenz in Werkstoff und funktioneller Oberfläche, Ausgabe 06 / 2018, pp. 18-20

CoEx – Coating Excellence: MpC Excellence Schichten bieten breitestes Anwendungsspektrum
G.Erkens, In: WOMag – Kompetenz in Werkstoff und funktioneller Oberfläche, Band 6, 1-2 (2017), pp. 36-37

Paradigmenwechsel: Universell einsetzbare Verbundsysteme durch PVD- und PECVD-Excellence Schichten
G.Erkens, In: WOMag – Kompetenz in Werkstoff und funktioneller Oberfläche, Band 5, 06 (2017), pp. 18-20

Novel multipurpose coatings (MpC) for universal use
G.Erkens, In: WOMag – Kompetenz in Werkstoff und funktioneller Oberfläche, Band 5, 7-8 (2016), pp. 17-18

Steigerung der Ressourceneffizienz bei HSS-Fräsern: Angepasste Mikrogeometrien und Beschichtungen erhöhen Produktivität bei HSS-Werkzeugen
G. Erkens, B. Richter, T. Grove, B. Denkena, In: wt Werkstattstechnik online Jahrgang 108 (2018) H. 1/2, pp. 56-62

HSS – produktiv mit Verrundungs-Beschichtungs-Kombination
G. Erkens, B. Denkena, B. Richter, In: VDI-Z Special Werkzeuge August 2018, pp. 19-21

About the Synthesis of Next Generation High Oxidation Resistant Hard Coatings by Means of Novel High Ionization Hybrid PVD Processing HI3
G. Erkens, J. Vetter, et al., In: Proceedings 18th Plansee Seminar, HM44, (2013), pp. 1366–1380

“ 唯一真正” 的高能效混合工艺———苏尔寿
HI3 PVD 技术开创新一代高性能涂层
High Productivity by Sulzer HI3 PVD Technology, The “only true” Energy Efficient Hybrid Process Technique to Synthesise Next Generation High Performance Coatings

G. Erkens, J. Vetter, J. Mueller, In: The Magazine for Cutting & Measuring Engineering Vol. 47 No.5 (2013), total issue No. 477, pp. 3-7

SIBONICA———采用新型高离化混合 PVD 工艺 HI3 技术生成
SIBONICA, The next Generation of Highest Oxidation Resistant Tool Coatings Synthesised by Means of Novel High Ionization Hybrid PVD Processing HI3

G. Erkens, J. Vetter, J. Mueller, Th. Krienke, In: The Magazine for Cutting & Measuring Engineering Vol. 47 No.9 (2013), total issue No. 481, pp. 18-24

An Innovative Approach to New Hybrid Coatings based on HiPIMS Technology: The HI3 process
J. Vetter, J. Müller, G. Erkens, In: Proceedings TIRI+SFSJ Tokyo (2012)

Domino Platform: PVD Coaters for Arc Evaporation and High Current Pulsed Magnetron Sputtering
Vetter, J., Müller, J., Erkens, G, In: IOP Conf. Ser.: Mater. Sci. Eng. 39 1 012004 (2012)

Trends in der PVD-Beschichtung
G. Erkens et al., In: Werkstatt-Betrieb WB 145 1-2/ (2012), pp. 32-35

High performance hard carbon coatings (diamond-like coatings)
Vetter, J. Ackerman, C., Meunier, F., Jarry, O., Schumacher, D., Erkens, G., In: Vakuum in Forschung und Praxis 24 2 (2012), pp. 18-23

Hochleistungsschichten – maßgeschneidert in atomaren Dimensionen
J. Vetter, G. Erkens, et al., In: Galvanotechnik 8/ (2011), pp. 1826-1830

Plasma Assisted Surface Coating
Processes, methods, systems and applications

G. Erkens, et al., Bibliothek der Technik Süddeutscher Verlag anpact GmbH

full text: auf Anfrage / upon request

Residual Stress in PVD-Coated Carbide Cutting Inserts – Applications of the sin2ψ and the Scattering Vector Method
B. Denkena, G. Erkens, B. Breidenstein, In: Processing and manufacturing of advanced materials (2010), pp. 2383-2388

A Novel Approach to Micro Alloying and Structure Design of High Performance Coatings
G. Erkens, J. Alami, et al., In: Proceedings 17th Plansee Seminar, Vol. 2, HM37/1-8, (2009)

Hochleistungsschichten – maßgeschneidert in atomaren Dimensionen
J. Vetter, G. Erkens, J. Alami, M. Fromme, U. Baier, In: Werkstoffe 3/ (2009), pp. 31-33; Galvanotechnik 8/ (2011), pp. 1826-1830

Mikrolegierte Beschichtung Mpower für die Hochleistungszerspanung: Hochgradig angepasste Systeme
Erkens, G., Alami, J., Muller, J., In: Werkstatt und Betrieb 142  4 (2009), pp. 18-23

Beschichtungen und Oberflächenmodifikationen in der Lagertechnik
Brinke, T.a.d., Erkens, G., Crummenauer, J., In: Gleit- und Walzlagerungen VDI Berichte 2069 (2009), pp. 289-296

Mikrolegierte PVD Hartstoffschichten – Mehr Produktivität bei hohen Schnittraten
G. Erkens, J. Alami, J. Müller, In: JOT Journal für Oberflächentechnik 04/ (2009), pp. 2-5

Innovative PVD-Schichten und neuste PVD-Beschichtungstechnik
Vetter, J., Erkens, G., Alami, J., Müller, J., Elektrowaerme International Heft 2 (2009), pp.93-96

Hochleistungsbeschichtungen für Präzisionswerkzeuge der Zerspanung, der Ur- und Umformung, der Formgebung und der Kunststoffverarbeitung
G. Erkens, In: Jahrbuch der Oberflächentechnik 2008 Band 64 (2008), pp. 100-131

New approaches to plasma enhanced sputtering of advanced hard coatings
G. Erkens, In: Surface & Coatings Technology Volume: 201, Issue: 9 (2007), pp. 4806-4812

Beschichten in eigener Regie
von der Heide, V., Erkens, G., In: Werkstatt und Betrieb 140 6 (2007), pp. 48-51

Über die Vorteile gepulster Plasmen zur Abscheidung innovativer tribologischer Hochleistungs-schichten auf Lagerkomponenten
G. Erkens, T. Rasa, J. Müller, CH. Brecher, In: Galvanotechnik Volume: 97, Issue: 55 (2006), pp. 1224-1235

A novel Method to characterize Cohesion and Adhesion Properties of Coatings by Means of the inclined Impact Test
Bouzakis, K. D., Asimakopoulos, A., Erkens, G. et al., In: Plansee Seminar Powder metallurgical high performance materials (2005), pp. 1221-1234

Properties and performance of high aluminum containing (Ti,Al)N based supernitride coatings in innovative cutting applications
Erkens, G., Cremer, R., et al., In: Surface & Coatings Technology 177-178 (2004), pp. 727-734

C/7 Supernitrides: A novel generation of PVD hardcoatings to meet the requirements of high demanding cutting applications
Erkens, G. et al., In: International Institution for Production Engineering Research; Manufacturing technology (2003), pp. 65-68

Sputter deposition of crystalline alumina coatings
Cremer, R., Reichert, K., Neuschütz, D., Erkens, G., Leyendecker, T., In: Surface & Coatings Technology 163-164 (2003), pp. 157-163

Oxidation resistance of titanium-aluminium-silicon nitride coatings
Vennemann, A., Stock, H.-R., Kohlscheen, J., Rambadt, S., Erkens, G., In: Surface & Coatings Technology 174-175 (2003), pp. 408-415

Pulsed Plasma Deposition of Oxide Hard Coatings
Cremer, R., Reichert, K, Erkens, G., Neuschutz, D. , In: High Temperature Material Processes  6  4 , pp. 455-468 (2002)

Coating Processes
K.-D. Bouzakis, N. Vidakis, G. Erkens, In: Sensors in Manufacturing, Edited by H.K.Tönnshoff, I.Inasaki, Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH Volume 1 (2001), pp. 307-325

Comparative characterization of alumina coatings deposited by RF, DC and pulsed reactive magnetron sputtering
Cremer, R., Witthaut, M., Neuschutz, D., Erkens, G. et al., In: Metallurgical coatings and thin films (1999), pp. 213-218

Technology and Application of Soft, Hard and Superhard Coatings
Erkens, G., Leyendecker, T. et al., In: Surface engineering and coatings (1999), pp. 433-442

Performance of oxygen-rich TiAlON-coatings for dry cutting applications
H.-G. Fuss, T. Leyendecker, G. Erkens, .., H.K.Tönshoff et al., In: Surface and Coatings Technology, Vol. 108-109 (1-3) (1998), pp. 535-542

Upscaling Multilayer Applications in a PVD-Coating System
Leyendecker, T., Erkens, G., Esser, S., In: Society of Vacuum Coaters 40 (1997), pp. 24-28

TiAlN-Al2O3 PVD-Multilayer for Metal Cutting Operation
Leyendecker, T., Rass, I., Erkens, G., Feldhege, M., In: Plasma surface engineering 1/3 (1997), pp. 790-793

A Comparative Study of ZrO2 Film Deposition by Electron and Laser Radiation
Kreutz, E. W., Alunovic, M., Erkens, G., Funken, J., In: Welding and melting by electron and laser beams (1993), pp. 475-488

The morphology and mechanical properties of Al2O3, ZrO2 and SiC laser-assisted physically vapour deposited films
Sung, H., Erkens, G. Funken, J., Voss, A., In: Surface & Coatings Technology 54/55,  1/3-2 (1992), 541-547

Characterization and Applications of PLD Oxide Ceramic Films
Erkens, G. et al., In: Laser treatment of metals (1992), pp. 451-460