DIFFER and Demcon TSST signed contract for construction of PLD4Energy facility

Published on February 20, 2024

We celebrate the start of the construction phase of our new infrastructure project PLD4Energy, the Pulsed Laser Deposition Lab for Energy Research. Demcon TSST won the European tender for the largest part of this facility. It’s considered as a first big step towards the realisation of this new facility.

The facility gives Dutch academia and industry the opportunity to make and analyze thin films and components from small (1 inch) to large (4 inch) diameter for energy applications, such as new catalysts and batteries. It concerns single and multilayers of different materials and thickness -roughly 1000 times thinner than a human hair. The facility also incorporates many built-in, so-called in-situ diagnostic tools to analyse the films on-the-spot.

Contract signing TSST-Demcon and DIFFER
Signing of the contract agreement with TSST-DEMCON in Enschede on February 20, 2024 © Demcon TSST

The main part of the facility concerns this large tender that is on 2.2 million euros. Smaller tenders will follow in the coming years for the in-situ diagnostics. Three parties showed interest in taking part in this European tendering procedure. One of them, Demcon TSST, applied and won the tender. Martin van Breukelen, institute manager at DIFFER: “The tender team has done a great job. European tenders for scientific equipment are always complex, both for the contracting authority to write a good tender and for the bidding party to prepare the offer within the set deadlines and to meet the programme of requirements. This tender for PLD Research Cluster Basis went smoothly and in a relatively short time frame, which is a big compliment to the team that did this carefully and efficiently.”

As said, the new facility is capable of making thin layers for energy applications. That’s exactly why the signing of the contract with Demcon TSST has been celebrated with tompouces, the Dutch pastry that shows multiple layers. Anja Bieberle, scientific project leader of PLD4Energy and group leader Electrochemical Materials and Interfaces at DIFFER: “With our new facility, we can do thin films, multilayers, and structures comparable like in a tompouce. We can change the thickness and the material of the different layers as well as the structure and thus design highly efficient energy materials. We foresee to make the first thin films in 2025 and will finish the entire user facility including the in-situ diagnostics by 2028.”

Contract signing TSST-Demcon and DIFFER
Signing of the contract agreement with TSST-DEMCON in Enschede on February 20, 2024 © Demcon TSST

The consortium operates under the name PLD4Energy. DIFFER is the main applicant. Co-applicant University of Twente, together with DIFFER and RATIO, designed the facility, and together with co-applicant Eindhoven University of Technology, all parties collaborate on adding specific analytical equipment. Partners are Leiden University, Delft University of Technology, University of Groningen, Utrecht University and TNO.

The budget for the new facility comes from NWO's grant programme Research Infrastructure: national consortia. NWO will pay 4.7 million euros. The consortium will add 1.6 million euros to that. At the same time six other consortia will receive funding.

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