Universities of Twente and Leiden, Akzo Nobel, Shell, Magneto special anodes and Elson Technologies partner over improvement of electrochemical processes

Enschede, Netherlands, 16-4-2015 — /EuropaWire/ — NWO, the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research, recently announced that it will grant five ‘Technology Area subsidies’ to chemical sciences researchers who closely cooperate with the corporate sector. Within one of the approved projects, Guido Mul and Detlef Lohse of the University of Twente (MESA+) cooperate with researchers of the University of Leiden and the companies Akzo Nobel, Shell, Magneto special anodes and Elson Technologies.

Electrochemical processes are given renewed attention by the chemical industry as the sustainable generation of electricity is increasing, and a (periodical) decline in electricity prices is to be expected. The use of sustainably generated electricity is not only essential to the balance in the electricity network, but also offers new opportunities for economically viable electrochemical processes. The consortium will improve the efficiency, selectiveness and sustainability of electrochemical processes, focussing on reactions in which gases such as hydrogen, oxygen and chlorine are formed. Within the consortium, the UT researchers will mainly focus on two aspects. Firstly, the behaviour of gas bubbles on electrode surfaces will be analysed, for which fast-capture cameras will be used. The influence of the nanostructures of electrodes and ultrasound on the behaviour of the bells will be examined in particular. In a second project, the aim of the UT researchers will be to replace an oxide layer, which is currently used by Akzo in the electrochemical production of chlorate, with an environmentally friendlier alternative. The total project involves an amount of 1.12 million euros, of which 410,000 euros (cash and in-kind) will be contributed by the companies. The UT researchers may spend around 500,000 euros on doctoral candidates and equipment.


The New Chemical Innovations Fund has granted five ‘Technology Area subsidies’ to university researchers for research projects in cooperation with the corporate sector. NWO Chemical Sciences contributes over 3.5 million euros to the various projects and the corporate sector a total of over 1.7 million euros. In this public-private partnership, at least two companies and two knowledge institutions will cooperate in chemical research per project.

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