From food colorants to new battery materials

January 22nd 2018

With a research grant from the NWO program on Materials for Sustainability Mat4Sus, computational scientist Süleyman Er (DIFFER) and his research team will develop new battery materials for stationary electrical energy storage.

The team’s approach is certainly innovative: starting from a database of known and stable food coloring compounds, the team will generate a library of large number of candidate compounds. Robust high-throughput calculations on these new materials will investigate their key properties for redox flow batteries and simultaneously select the best candidates. That way, together with the industrial partner Green Energy Storage (Italy), the researchers will lab-test only the most favorable functional materials, at a much shorter timescale and reduced cost when compared to conventional methods.

NWO gives sustainable materials a nine million euro boost

Süleyman Er's research project is part of the 9 million euro NWO programme on Materials for Sustainability Mat4Sus. The aim of Mat4Sus is to boost interdisciplinary materials research in the Netherlands. The approved projects represent a significant step forward in the development of economical, long-lasting materials that can add to our energy supply with little or no environmental impact. The programme funding will be used to launch fifteen new research projects, five of which (including the project by DIFFER and Green Energy Storage) involve public-private consortia, in which companies assist with the research work.

The Materials for Sustainability programme is the first step in the development of a larger-scale materials programme for the Netherlands. NWO’s 2018-2019 support for the top sectors of Energy, Chemistry, and High Tech Systems and Materials (HTSM) includes a wide range of funding options for materials research within the ‘Materials NL’ scheme. This offers scope both for public-private partnerships and for fundamental research.