Focus area of Eindhoven Institute for Renewable Energy Systems (EIRES)

Chemistry for Sustainable Energy Systems

This focus area is home to scientific discussions and collaborative research opportunities in the field of chemistry of (photo/electro/plasma-) catalysis for high value chemicals.


The scientific goal of this focus area is to unravel the detailed relationship between structure (e.g. morphology, grain boundaries, facets, bulk vs. surface effects, oxidation states and dopants) and performance of (photo/electro/plasma-) catalysts. This scientific goal aims to benefit from machine learning-driven approaches, to screen materials ab initio, as well as from advanced diagnostic tools to investigate reaction mechanisms occurring at gas-liquid-solid interfaces. The choice of focusing on high-value chemicals such as H2, alcohols, carbonates, carbamates, oxygenates, syngas, olefins and NH3, is strategic because these products are presently synthesized and needed at a substantial scale. Therefore, a switch to renewable powered production (supported by CO2 capture technologies) of high-value chemicals is expected to lead to a major decrease in carbon emissions.
We expect that the collaboration between this focus area and the focus area Engineering for Sustainable Energy Systems will be key to a successful chain-of-knowledge towards technological solutions, such as the Dutch Electrolyzer.

Iconic project: Dutch Electrolyzer

A topic high on the research agenda is electrochemical conversion with a unique expertise of Eindhoven being scalable electrochemical reactors such as the spinning disc reactor. A flagship project called the ‘Dutch Electrolyzer’ is proposed, connecting basic research in the field of electrochemical reactor engineering, electrocatalysis, electricity conversion and process systems engineering at TU/e to the Brainport high tech industry. The aim is to learn step-by-step how to upscale an electrolyzer to a MW scale, linking to relevant roadmaps in the Netherlands. This approach will lead to many fundamental scientific and engineering challenges to be addressed between scientists, engineers and (start-up) companies. Such a flagship is to be embedded in the broader range of activities in this area in the Netherlands (MW test center, GW electrolyzer project, e-Refinery, TNO Faraday lab).

Principal Scientists

Departments involved/ contributing to EIRES

  • Applied Physics
  • Chemical Engineering and Chemistry
  • Mechanical Engineering

Research and application areas

  • H2O electrolysis
  • Photo-electrochemical conversion processes
  • CO2 electrolysis
  • Hydrocarbon oxidation routes
  • Plasma-catalysis
  • CO2 capture and storage technologies

Related Research Groups

We acknowledge the TU/e research groups which are already involved with EIRES, either through the TU/e Sector Plan positions and PhD projects. We welcome all research groups interested in collaborating and contributing to the research focus of EIRES.

Current and planned collaborations

Current projects and collaborations where Principal Investigators (PI) or Sector Plan positions are involved:

  • DTU, ENGIE, Volkswagen and TU/e spin-off DENS through the EU funded project C2FUEL (industrial-scale conversion of CO2 captured from carbon-intensive industries to chemical fuels).
  • TUD, RUG, WUR, Shell, Tata Steel, Nuon, Avebe, and Yara with the E2CB – TTW program 'Electrons to Chemical Bonds'.
  • With several academic (UU, UvA, etc), industrial (AkzoNobel, Shell, BASF, etc) and governmental (ChemistryNL, NWO) partners through the Dutch national research centre (ARC-CBBC) that investigates chemical building blocks for novel sustainable energy and materials.
  • Nouryon, DIFFER, local industry (e.g. VDL Group, ASML, TBRM, ...), TNO Voltachem and Province of Noord-Brabant with the iconic project of the Dutch Electrolyzer.
  • TUD, UT, Avantium, TataSteel, Hydrogenics, Johnson Mattey, etc with an NWA project on power conversion for electrochemical storage RELEASE.
  • DIFFER-TU/e Impuls PhD research programs with a focus on novel electro-catalysts for oxygen and hydrogen evolution reactions.
  • DIFFER-Syngaschem B.V.-TU/e research program to unravel the fundamental principles behind high-value chemicals synthesis from green electricity, water and carbon dioxide, through an NWO (Chemical) Industrial Partnership Program (CH)IPP.
  • Carbyon-DIFFER-TU/e research program on direct air CO2 capture with thin-film technologies through an Eindhoven Engine research project.
  • Elestor and Nedstack, through the personal grant of Antoni Forner Cuenca (Veni-NWO) that focuses on the design and synthesize of novel electrodes with architected microstructures.
  • Stoli Catalysts, with the PhD projects of Evgeny Rebrov in magnetically assisted electrocatalysis and fluidized bed plasma reactor design.


EIRES | Focus Area: Chemistry for Sustainable Energy Systems