Research programme Energy Storage & Conversion
TNO collaborates with universities and industry to develop new concepts that convert sunlight into chemical energy. Carbon dioxide and hydrogen are converted to C1 chemicals and fuels in a photocatalytic process, in which metal catalyst particles are used on the nanoscale.
In the last decades, the massive use of fossil fuels had a big impact on the emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2). A strong acceleration is needed to timely transform the Dutch energy landscape from the current fossil fuel based one to a CO2 neutral renewable energy infrastructure as accorded by the EU and the Dutch developed agenda for Energy (Energie Agenda). Conversion and storage of renewable energy are pivotal for achieving this change.
In the research program Energy Storage and Conversion we focus on the use of renewable energy, i.e. renewable electricity and sunlight, CO2 and green hydrogen (H2) as a feedstock to produce C1 chemicals and fuels, which provides a great opportunity to store energy to overcome the inherent fluctuations in supply of renewable energy, and the spatial and temporal mismatch between demand and supply. It changes the actual energetic system towards a sustainable system and simultaneously implements a CO2 neutral system.
Routes to come to technically and economically viable technologies and processes are pursued, and feasibility will be demonstrated on laboratory scale (up to TRL 4).
The research line Photons-to-chemicals is focused on the conversion of CO2 to C1 chemicals and fuels, using sunlight as energy source for driving the reaction.
The potential of photochemical water splitting as a technology to produce H2 at lower costs than the conventional route via electrolysis is being investigated. Photolysis of water has a good perspective on the long term for cost-effective production of green hydrogen gas. Hydrogen gas is a promising energy carrier, but current hydrogen production processes are unsustainable and/or too expensive. Photochemical water splitting is an alternative process that enables sustainable hydrogen production from water using the energy from sunlight. The aim of this work was to develop a system for producing hydrogen via photo(-electro)chemical water splitting and to evaluate the business case of the selected process.
For the photochemical conversion of CO2 to C1 chemicals/fuels using sunlight as energy source a new generation of photoactive materials to produce solar fuels from CO2 is under development. Based on the localized plasmon resonance of nanoparticles, nano-dispersed materials are produced with large dispersion area and active phase that are able to reduce the CO2. The concept of plasmon catalysis was successfully demonstrated for photochemical hydrogenation of CO2 to methane. The research program Energy Storage and Conversion has established strong strategic partnerships with key academic and industrial players in the Netherlands on energy storage in molecular bonds.
Lab scale batch photo reactor
TNO has a solid track record in the preparation of nanoparticles and microparticles and the development of functional coatings for a variety of applications. The expertise and competence of TNO includes the development and characterization of nanoparticle catalysts, chemical conversion studies, reaction kinetics and efficiency of energy conversion.
Sunlight as fuel for sustainable chemical processes - project LUMEN
In the INTERREG LUMEN project, TNO, in collaboration with universities and industry, has the ambition to demonstrate that hydrogen and CO2, in combination with sunlight, can be converted into valuable and sustainable products in a commercially profitable way. First, work will be done on a lab-scale demonstrator. With the help of the developed demonstrator, we want to demonstrate the technical and commercial feasibility of the process. The research within LUMEN forms the basis for the future translation to an industrial process and offers commercial opportunities for manufacturers of materials and equipment, the chemical industry and the energy sector. Are you interested in knowing more? Please contact the Project LUMEN website.
Eugene VeerkampFunctie:Business developer
Eugène can rely on an impressive career in international business as a chemical & materials engineer that spans 25 years. He understands that the commercial and financial aspects are essential for new sustainable solutions to become successful. Cooperating closely with the industry and launching new innovation onto the market are two key drivers in Eugène’s daily work, along with sharing his own business development experience within an enthusiastic team of specialists.
Pascal BuskensFunctie:Program Principal scientist at TNO and professor at University of Hasselt on Nanostructured Materials
Pascal specializes in designing, manufacturing, characterizing and validating optical materials, coatings and films that interact in distinct ways with sunlight. The materials are mainly used in the photochemical and photoelectrochemical production of chemicals and fuels, as well as for regulating sunlight transmission through windows and for improving the efficiency and aesthetics of integrated solar panels in buildings.
Nicole MeulendijksFunctie:Project Manager
Nicole has over 15 years of experience working in challenging innovative environments. During that time she has managed several R&D projects with partners over complete value chains and different (company) cultures, with high involvement in business and project development & opportunity management. Known for her drive and proactive approach as part of a team, Nicole understands like no other how to manage international projects and work on cross-organisational assignments.
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