maandag 28 december 2020

NWO-MVI: additional topic energy transition

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Newsflash December 2020
Opportunities for collaboration

Additional topic for MVI top-up call ECCM

Recently, a new tenure track has been awarded within the Electrochemical Conversion and Materials (ECCM) programme. Now grantee Georgios Katsukis is looking for researchers from the social sciences and humanities who want to connect to his research into artificial photosynthesis. The aim is to submit a joint proposal for the ECCM MVI top-up call, for which the closing date is February 11th, 2021.

Physical chemist Georgios Katsukis engineers nanostructured materials and novel catalysts for artificial photosynthesis: using light to convert COand other chemicals into sustainable fuels. Through the ECCM programme, he was awarded a tenure track position at Twente University. 

About the new tenure track
'I will be working on solving major scientific challenges for scaling clean fuel production,' Katsukis explains. 'My work draws inspiration from natural photosynthesis, the only process that stores solar energy on a hundred terawatt-scale. My research will overcome barriers to the technical implementation of artificial photosynthesis at scale, enabling adoption of this powerful solar energy and energy storage technology by industry, thus making it available to consumers. In addition to fuel creation, the technology I am working on can replace fossil fuels which are currently used by the chemical industry as an input for creating chemical products that are important for agriculture, materials, and healthcare industries, to name a few.'
 
Katsukis aims at developing and testing a range of new materials based on ultrathin oxide layers,  that will be integrated in full assemblies for photoelectrocatalytic conversion of CO2, or other feedstock, to clean fuels. On a more fundamental level, he will also investigate CO2 conversion mechanisms to learn more about the factors that influence product yield and selectivity. 

Proactive design and development perspective
This project offers plenty of opportunities for collaboration with researchers from the social sciences and humanities, Katsukis thinks. 'An interesting starting point for a responsible innovation research project would be to study a proactive design and development perspective for the early-stage technology artificial photosynthesis. Compared to photovoltaic electrolysis, the advantage of solar fuel production through artificial photosynthesis is the immediate storage of solar energy in a single step which opens up a new design space for scale-up.'

About opportunities for collaboration
From his own perspective, Katsukis defined a number of aspects that might be interesting to address:

  • The logistical and (geo)political consequences of the implementation and the public perception could be investigated, i.e. decentralized transport of fuel vs. electricity, or decentralized production of chemicals for which fossil fuels are currently being used.
  • Investigating not just the production, but also the entire life cycle, including recycling of a device. It is equally important to explore the raw material, production and recycling costs as the economic profitability of the used and stored energy.
  • New legislation might be required, for instance in the area of safety when producing a certain type of product such as methanol or ammonia.

Of course, Katsukis is also interested in, and open to, suggestions for MVI-research ideas from social and humanities researchers.

ECCM top-up call
The ECCM MVI top-up call focusses on the collaboration between the (beta) tenure track researchers from the Electrochemical Conversion and Materials (ECCM) programme and researchers from the social sciences and humanities. Since one of the researchers who originally was awarded a tenure track position in the ECCM programme, has declined the grant, NWO has decided to grant the next applicant that met the criteria. Applications for the top-up call have to be submitted on behalf of consortia with an interdisciplinary composition. These consortia will implement the societal components of research into ECCM. Expertise from the humanities, natural sciences and social sciences has to be deployed in these consortia in an integrated manner.

Researchers who are interested in collaborating with Georgios Katsukis can contact him either by email [email protected] or by phone +49 1511 9678620.

For more information on the ECCM top-up call, please visit: https://www.nwo.nl/en/calls/eccm/mvi-top

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NWO-MVI research focuses on important societal challenges and the innovations required for these. It itemises the societal aspects of these (technological) innovations at an early stage so that they can be taken into account during the design and development phase. Our aim? To realise innovations that are acceptable to society!
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Responsible Innovation

NWO-MVI research focuses on important societal challenges and the innovations required for these. It itemises the societal aspects of these (technological) innovations at an early stage so that they can be taken into account during the design and development phase. Our aim? To realise innovations that are acceptable to society!

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