Iron Power

In short

The Iron Power consortium focuses on the use of iron powder as energy carrier. Research at TU/e is focused on combustion properties of iron powder as well as regeneration of combusted iron powder with hydrogen.


The team was initiated by Philip de Goey (full professor, ME) who first got interested in this idea in 2015. During 2016-2018 he laid the groundwork for Student Team SOLID that helped to build the first proof of concept 100kW iron powder burner, the foundation of Metalot as partnership with interested companies and helped in setting up EIRES to make sure there was a broader academic basis for the needed interdisciplinary research. However, funding was lacking until early 2019, in which year the first projects were finally approved. This allowed setting up a broader consortium including Jeroen van Oijen and Niels Deen (full professors, ME), hiring new academic staff like Giulia Finotello and Xiaocheng Mi (assistant professors, ME)¸and expanding the collaboration with partners from the chemistry department like John van der Schaaf and Martin van Sint Annaland (full professors, CE&C). In the meantime, the collaboration in Metalot resulted in spinout company Iron+ and the collaboration with team SOLID resulted in the spinout company RIFT – which has proven to be very successful in attracting funding and generating publicity for this topic. With critical support from people like Roy Hermanns and Tim Spee (project lead and program support, ME) the consortium is now preparing an application for the national growth fund.


The research project focuses on using granular iron powder as a sustainable fuel. The energy density (per volume), abundance availability, convenience and safety in handling makes iron powder an ideal energy storage medium. The research of the Iron Power consortium focuses on controlling the combustion properties to minimize undesired emissions like NOx and soot, and avoid loss of iron powder in the form of nanoparticles or due to coagulation. Another line of research focuses on the regeneration process of the combusted iron, focusing on efficiency and quality of the regenerated iron powder so that it can be used in following combustion and regeneration cycles. The work of the Iron Power consortium is currently ca 10 years ahead of all other research efforts in this field globally and shows enormous scientific and societal impact. There are no other consortia looking into iron powder combustion or regeneration at this scale, although other universities (McGill, Lund, Darmstadt) are following up now quickly with small scale laboratory tests, and first commercial activities are set up in Australia and Canada (spin-off from McGill) as well.

The strength of the team is in the collaboration between high-quality academic work in different disciplines (ME and CE&C) with the drive and impact of student team SOLID, ecosystem builder Metalot, and startups Iron+ and RIFT. Without this combination the work would have remained an academic interesting project at lab scale. Even though there were some struggles with IP in the beginning, the unique proposition of this time is the shared drive for making societal impact with this new technology.