Thirteen exploratory cross-border collaborative projects start working on ElectroChemical Conversion and Materials

The NWO executive board has awarded thirteen applications in the ECCM KICkstart DE-NL Call. The research focuses, among other things, on bridging the gap between materials at the nanoscale and the large-scale production of these materials, so that the latest developments, for example for the development of electrolysers, can be applied more quickly.


The ECCM KICkstart DE-NL call is intended for short, exploratory, cross-border and public-private projects between Germany and the Netherlands in the field of ElectroChemical Conversion and Materials (ECCM). The thirteen most innovative ideas in the field of electrochemical conversion and materials have been developed with the Dutch and German industry in short-term projects. This is necessary because the electrification of industry is one of the most pressing challenges of the energy transition.

This call was funded by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy and was conducted by NWO under the Knowledge and Innovation Covenant (KIC).

About KICKstart DE-NL and the awarded research projects.

In both Germany and the Netherlands, the development of a CO2-neutral industry is strongly supported by the innovation and economic landscape. The border region between the Netherlands and Germany is a powerful industrial cluster, making it an excellent candidate to develop new climate neutral technologies for energy-intensive industry in view of the energy targets for 2050.

The aim of the ECCM KICkstart DE-NL financing scheme is to stimulate cross-border cooperation between the Netherlands and Germany in this area. That is why a larger follow-up call is planned in which consortia will be formed in which German parties will be even more represented.

The awarded research projects are broadly oriented and offer scope for researching developments in the five ECCM focus areas: electrolysis, electrosynthesis and electroconversion, materials and catalysis, engineering and manufacturing of cell equipment and system design and system integration. The collaboration and knowledge exchange between Dutch and German researchers is central to this. The consortia consist of at least one participant based in the Netherlands and at least one participant based in Germany.

Project summaries:

Gas phase ELEctrocatalysis for methane VAlorizaTION  (ELEVATION)
Dr. M.A. Altomare, dr. G. Katsoukis (UT), M. Tsampas (DIFFER), VSParticle, Fumatech (DE), RWThAachen University (DE), FAU Erlangen-Nuremberg (DE)
Methane utilization requires better technologies in response to the electrification of industry, societal demand of feedstocks and practical fuels, and worldwide appeal for sustainable energy. The project aims at building an efficient electrolyzer based on earth abundant electrode materials and understanding how methane converts to valuable products using green electricity.

Electrochemical carboxylation – E-CARB
A. Anastasopol MSc, dr. E. Perez Gallent (TNO), E.L.V. Goetheer, W. de Jong (TUD), ETB catalytic technologies, VSParticle, Ruhr Universität Bochum (DE), Fraunhofer UMSICHT (DE)
E-CARB is developing a showcase for a novel electrochemical utilization route of CO2, renewable electricity and circular bio-feedstock for the production of adipic acid, a precursor of nylon 6,6 polymer. E-CARB gathers a consortium of academic experts and companies along the nylon 6,6 polymer value chain from Germany and the Netherlands.

High entropy oxide electrocatalysts to overcome the activity-stability dilemma in water electrolysis
Dr. C. Baeumer (UT), dr. ir. J. van Deelen (TNO), Detering & Partner (DE), Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (DE), Forschungszentrum Jülich (DE)
The generation of hydrogen can help store renewable energy. Currently, the materials used for water electrolysis do not last long and are not optimally efficient. We will introduce a new material class called high-entropy oxides that lasts longer and makes the reaction more efficient, for an overall improved hydrogen production.

CO2 methanation using high temperature proton-conducting ceramic electrolysers
Dr. ing. A. Banerjee, L. Lefferts (UT), Eifer (DE), Shell Global Solutions
Next-generation proton ceramic electrolysers offer the promise of efficient synthesis of high value chemicals and fuels from relatively abundant and inexpensive raw materials. This project tests that promise by attempting to make synthetic methane inside a proton ceramic cell using CO2, steam, and electricity.

Solid Oxide Electrolyser modelling: Exploring scale-up of cell size
Dr. F.P.F. van Berkel (TNO), dr. ing. A. Banerjee (UT), Shell Global Solutions, Sunfire (DE), Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (DE)
Solid Oxide Electrolysis is an energy-efficient conversion technology enabling green chemicals and fuels generation. This project addresses the scale-up of the Solid Oxide Electrolyser technology towards multi-MW scale by determining through modelling the maximum size for a planar solid oxide cell that can tolerate different modes of electrolysis operation without mechanical failure.

Pushing the limits of redox flow battery power density through novel porous electrode architectures   (ULTRAPEAR)
Dr. ir. A.F.C. Forner Cuenca (TU/e), dr. P. Fischer (Fraunhofer, DE), Shell Global Solutions, Vanadis Power, Volterion (DE), SGL Carbon (DE)
Transitioning to a renewable energy economy necessitates the deployment of large-scale energy storage, to which redox flow batteries are promising because they are easy to scale and have projected low costs. In this project, the researchers will develop new porous electrodes at the heart of the battery, based on polymer phase separation, to increase performance and decrease the cost.

Imaging oxidation reactions on high surface area anodes for paired electrolysis
Dr. A.C. Garcia (UvA), dr. C.A. Andronescu (Universität Duisburg-Essen, DE), Sensolytics (DE)
Coupling electrochemical methodology with scanning electrochemical techniques holds great promise for making more stable electrocatalysts to contribute to a more sustainable chemical industry. This project studies the fundamental aspects of imaging techniques as a powerful tool to investigate activity and stability of electrode materials to be employed in electro-organic synthesis.

Better Electrodes for Water Electrolysis (BEWE)
Dr. ir. J.W. Haverkort (TUD), Magneto, Veco, Thyssenkrupp (DE), RWThAachen University (DE)
Hydrogen is very suitable for the large scale storage of green electricity. In this project we are working on better electrodes, to significantly reduce the price of hydrogen. Using simulations, we determine how the shape of the electrodes can be improved, which we test, to ultimately arrive at optimal electrodes.

Towards upscaling alkaline electrolysis: Pushing the limits of interfacial transport
Prof. dr. D. Lohse, R.G.H. Lammertink, dr. D.J. Krug, M. Odijk, A. van den Berg, dr. J.A. Wood (UT), Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden Rossendorf (DE), Nobian, TU Dresden (DE)
Hydrogen (H2) produced from renewable electricity can be an integral part of our future energy strategy. However, this process cannot be operated economically with today’s technology. This research program will combine fundamental insights across chemistry, fluid dynamics and engineering in order to develop more efficient and upscaled technologies for hydrogen production by alkaline electrolysis by understanding interfacial transport limitations.

Scalable production of large-area materials with nano-precision for the energy transition
Prof. dr. ir. J.R. van Ommen (TUD), prof.dr. D. Segets (Universität Duisburg-Essen, DE), Coatema Machinery (DE), Johnson Matthey, Covestro
The energy transition will require novel large-scale equipment for energy conversion, e.g. for the production of hydrogen. The components of such equipment (electrodes, membranes) will also need to be manufactured at large scale, while working economically with the required scarce metals. Our research aims at developing production methodologies to achieve this.

ALKALICOAT: Catalyst coated membranes for alkaline water electrolysis
Dr. ir. J. van der Schaaf (TU/e), Nobian, Veco, Agfa (BE), Forschungszentrum Jülich (DE)
Green hydrogen is a CO2-free energy carrier that can be made from water and solar or wind energy. This process is carried out with electrolyzers, but these are still expensive. The project ALKALICOAT improves the interplay between anodes, cathodes and membranes in the electrolyzers improving their performance and making them cheaper.

Circularity and sustainability assessment of CO2-based chemicals via electrochemical conversions
Dr. L. Shen (UU), RWE (DE), Avantium
CO2 emitted from waste combustion can be collected and converted into useful chemicals via electrochemical reactions. Will the chemicals made from CO2 offer climate benefits over their conventional competitors? Will electrochemical conversion leads us to a circular chemical industry? The eCO2Circle project will search for the answers to these questions.

X-ray computed tomography measurement of the 3D gas distribution in zero-gap electrolysers
Dr. ir. Y. Tang, prof. N.G. Deen (TU/e), Nobian, Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (DE)
Micro X-ray computed tomography measurement of the 3D gas distribution in zero-gap
electrolysers. Using micro X-ray tomography measurements, the flow structure within zero-gap electrolysers for hydrogen production will be visualised for the first time. The results may explain why the electrolyser has higher energy consumption than expected. This research will pave the way to accelerate the development of high efficiency alkaline water electrolysers.

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