ECCM KickStart DE-NL project by Tsampas granted: earth abundant electrode materials

Published on December 16, 2021

The NWO executive board has awarded thirteen applications in the ECCM KICkstart DE-NL Call. ELEVATION of DIFFER group leader Mihalis Tsampas is co-applicant in one of the awarded projects; a project on earth abundant electrode materials and methane convertson.The project is a collaboration between DIFFER and UTwente on the Dutch side, and  Fumatech, RWThAachen University and FAU Erlangen-Nuremberg in Germany. The project aims at building an efficient electrolyzer based on earth abundant electrode materials. ECCM KICkstart DE-NL 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).

 German flag and a windmillThe 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).

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.

Mihalis Tsampas
Mihalis Tsampas. Photo: DIFFER

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.

ELEVATION: project description

Gas phase ELEctrocatalysis for methane VAlorizaTION  (ELEVATION)
Dr. M.A. Altomare, Dr. G. Katsoukis (UT), Dr. M. Tsampas (DIFFER), Vsparticle (NL), Fumatech (DE), RWThAachen University (DE), FAU Erlangen-Nuremberg (DE)

Methane is a hydrogen rich gas that can be used to produce hydrogen and (liquid)fuels, and as a feedstock for producing basic chemicals for the industry, health care and agriculture. However, the production of practical hydrocarbons from methane is currently based on an inefficient multistage processes using syngas, so carbon recoveries are low and CO2 emissions high. Breaking the C-H bond in methane is done at high temparatures - that hinders the efficiency. This crucial step needs improvement. Recent advances in the electrochemical conversion of small molecules provide new promising system designs for the electrification of chemical conversion processes – powered by renewable electricity. They are based on the integration of electrodes and membranes to convert methane into larger products or methanol, while co-generating hydrogen, H2. In this project the researchers aim to elucidate the water-mediated anodic conversion mechanism of methane. The goal is to gain control over the electrode surface reaction, to obtain high conversion efficiencies and more tuned reactions. The project ELEVATION aims at building an efficient electrolyzer based on earth abundant electrode materials and understanding how methane converts to valuable products using green electricity.


More information
Full press release: website NWO
Research group CEPEA (Tsampas)

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