Current Projects

Bilateral Projects

Cobalt-free curing of alkyds and of vinylester-styrene coatings

Many coatings dry via chemical crosslinking reactions, which are catalyzed by transition metal complexes. The toxicity of some of these metals is under review currently. In this project, we will search for alternative catalysts based on transition metals that avoid potential toxicity.

Project leader: Prof.dr. Wesley Browne (University of Groningen)
Project manager: Dr. Jitte Flapper (AkzoNobel Coatings)


Polyester synthesis using novel and efficient esterification catalysts

Aim of this project is to develop new catalysts for polyester syntheses with an attractive environmental and economic profile. These catalysts will lead to more eco-friendly processes and will broaden the scope of raw materials (including renewable-based raw materials) that can be used in polyester syntheses.

Project leader: Adri Minnaard (University of Groningen)
Project manager: Dr. Keimpe van den Berg (AkzoNobel Coatings)


Perovskite crystallization for stable and large scale printable solar cells

The project aims at obtaining fundamental insights in the processes that govern perovskite thin film formation and crystallization for photovoltaic applications. Crystallite size, crystallite orientation, surface coverage, surface roughness and interaction with the receiving surface are crucial parameters that determine the solar cell performance. One of the principal issues in perovskites currently revolves around stability. The significant strides made in recent time provide the opportunity to comfortably think of large scale deployment. Scale-up of printing technology to GWp/a scale, necessary to impact global energy systems, requires intimate knowledge on the crystallization processes and their dependence on process conditions. Using a range of in-situ spectroscopic and X-ray diffraction techniques the mechanisms and kinetics of crystallization of organometal perovskite layers will be investigated in real time during film formation. This will provide guidelines to develop large scale and fast roll-to-roll printing processes for this promising new energy technology. 

Project leader: René Janssen (Eindhoven University of Technology)
Project manager: Dr. Sipke Wadman (Shell)


Fundamentals of reduction of Ni-based catalysts

Heterogeneous metal catalysts are amongst the most important industrial catalysts. During catalyst preparation it is of high interest to yield a stable and highly dispersed active metal phase. The reduction of these catalysts is a vital step in the catalyst preparation as it determines the dispersion and thereby activity. There has been a wealth of investigations on the mechanism of reduction, however, most studies were performed either ex-situ or with model systems. This project focuses on gaining insights into the reduction mechanisms of nickel catalysts. In that respect, it is vital to study the evolution of the active phases of typical catalysts with a combination of complementary techniques. Along with the understanding thus generated, the project aims at improving the synthesis of current catalysts by influencing the reduction processes and beyond that leading to new and improved catalyst properties. 

Project leader: Krijn de Jong (Utrecht University)
Project manager: Dr. Bennie Reesink (BASF)


Electrochemical CO2 conversion: elucidating the role of catalyst, support and electrolyte

Producing a solar fuel, by reaction of water and CO2 captured from the environment is an attractive option to store cheap intermittent renewable electricity in a fuel that can be directly introduced to the market, with net zero CO2 emissions.

This project aims to develop electrochemical technology for this application by fundamental investigation (both computationally and experimentally) of catalysts, including metal alloys and innovative supports, and organic electrolytes. In order to screen materials and to rationalize the effect of each interplaying factor, a new testing unit will be developed wherein materials and operating conditions can be varied, mass transfer can be controlled, and in-situ analysis (both quantitatively and qualitatively) of the products of electrochemical CO2 reduction is possible.

Project leader: Prof. dr. Petra de Jongh (Utrecht University)
Project manager: Dr. Emanuela Negro (Shell)