Lots of Veni grants for Chemical Engineering and Chemistry

No fewer than four talented, young researchers from the Chemical Engineering and Chemistry department have received a Veni grant of up to 250,000 euros. Seven TU/e researchers in total have received a Veni; this equals the highest number of Veni’s ever gained by TU/e.

The four CE&C winners will be undertaking research in a new type of battery, polymers that are vibrated by light, catalytic processes and new materials by stabilizing interfaces.

The ‘Veni’ is awarded each year by NWO. This grant is aimed at giving promising young researchers the possibility to spend three years developing their ideas. In total, this round saw 1127 submissions by researchers of research projects for funding, 154 of which were ultimately honored.

The four winners and projects of CE&C are:

Catalysis at ‘mesoscale’

Dr.ir. Ivo Filot – Chemical Engineering 
Inorganic Materials Chemistry (prof.dr.ir. Emiel Hensen)

Catalysts are crucial for a sustainable future. They are vital for a clean, chemical industry and the transition from fossil fuels to sustainable alternatives like biomass. Insight into catalytic processes is thereby essential. Ivo Filot (32) will be studying these processes at ‘mesoscale’, a scale of length that lies between the atomic level (nanoscale) and the level of whole reactors (macroscale). 
See the short film about his research.

From organic molecule to flow battery

Dr. Koen Hendriks – Chemical Engineering / DIFFER
Molecular Science and Technology (prof.dr.ir. René Janssen en prof.dr.ir. Richard van der Sanden)

For sustainable energy production cheap and large-scale energy storage is key; wind and sun are not available at every moment of the day. A new type of battery, a so-called flow battery, is regarded as a very promising candidate for this, but it is still in its infancy in terms of development. Koen Hendriks (31) will be working on a new class of organic molecules that can be charged both positive and negative, and form the basis of a flow battery.

Vibrated by light

Dr. Ghislaine Vantomme  – Institute for Complex Molecular Systems
(prof.dr. Bert Meijer)

French researcher Ghislaine Vantomme (31) will build on the world first recently presented by TU/e researchers in Nature. She wants to take the next step in polymers that react to light with an uncontrolled movement and work towards self-sufficient materials with surfaces that vibrate in a controlled way to a constant beam of light. These surfaces can be used for self-cleaning and the transport of liquids through membranes or pipelines.

Structure of macromolecular interfaces

Dr. Mark Vis – Chemical Engineering
Physical Chemistry (prof.dr.ir. Remco Tuinier)

Many everyday materials, such as paint formulations and foodstuffs, are macromolecular mixtures. These macromolecules macromolecules often show no willingness to join together in one mixture, thereby forming two separate phases. Examples include pigment and binding particles in paint or polysaccharides and proteins in foodstuffs. Usually this phase separation is unwanted, but Vis (29) will use new, experimental techniques to understand this interface and try to be able to stabilize it. If he succeeds, it will pave the way for new materials, like fat-free mayonaise or new types of paint.