The University of Twente has become a partner of the Alistore European Research Institute. Within this prestigious European network in the field of battery research, top-level research groups work in close collaboration to develop the batteries of the future. Mark Huijben, battery researcher at the University of Twente, feels this validates his research and the chosen course.
The Alistore European Research Institute is the largest research network in the field of battery research in Europe. The network consists of 22 top groups that are engaged in cutting-edge fundamental research in the field of batteries and the materials involved in making batteries. Alistore is the point of contact for large European research institutes, coordinates research for the business community and is committed to obtaining financing for battery research. MESA+ researcher Mark Huijben, who focuses on conducting fundamental research into optimizing new and existing materials for batteries, sees this as validation of his work. “Here in Twente we are relatively new to the field of battery research, but we are making huge strides in our development. For me, accession to Alistore is a recognition of our work."
You can only join the consortium at the invitation of a current member and you will only be invited if you bring new and exciting expertise to the table. Huijben brings years of expertise to the table in the area of nanotechnology in general and thin-film deposition in particular. This technique allows you to create new materials with a high degree of accuracy by constructing a series of atom layers.
The Vidi grant awarded to Huijben in 2014 was the kick-off for his battery research. His main focus is on developing materials that can be used in a solid-state battery. Normal batteries contain a liquid electrolyte. However, if you succeed in replacing this with a solid substance, there could be some interesting advantages. The battery could store more energy per volume unit and the batteries will also be safer and last longer.
Mark Huijben works closely with research institutes in Münster and Julich (he has an ancillary position as a ‘visiting scientist’ with the latter) and that is essential if you want to develop new technology. "Cooperation is vital in this field because the developments are going so fast. Scientists have to work together but also cooperate closely with the business community. By joining Alistore, the University of Twente is now at the centre of the most important developments in the area of battery development in the European Union.”
Together with the plans, recently announced, of the Lithium Werks company to build an R&D campus close to the university, a strong impulse is given to future battery technology.
(photo Gijs van Ouwerkerk)