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NWO ECCM MVI Top-up call Granted to Dr. Marco Altomare

Granted NWO ECCM MVI Top-up call for Dr. Marco Altomare

A ‘responsible research and innovation’ grant (NWO ECCM MVI top-up call 2021) has been awarded to a UT consortium composed of Marco Altomare (ECCM tenure tracker at TNW-PCS), Kornelia Konrad and Andreas Weber (from BMS-STePS), and Laura Franco-García (from BMS-CSTM). The 3-year project starts in October 2021, and the research will be developed alongside an ongoing, closely linked, ECCM project led by Marco Altomare.

Nowadays, new types of electrochemical conversion processes and electrolyzers are expected to contribute to a transition towards more sustainable, ‘green’ chemicals based on electricity from renewables. With this MVI project, the UT consortium aims at studying possible socio-technical configurations and pathways for perspective electrochemical processes to synthesize common chemical compounds, namely the upgrade of bio-oil and the synthesis of hydrogen peroxide.

The project focus is to assess the environmental and societal implications related to the choice of involved materials (such as electrocatalysts and electrode materials) and produced chemical compounds. The research takes a long-term perspective by not only scrutinizing present application scenarios and anticipating potential future socio-technical pathways, but also extending our perspective into the recent past, learning from challenges and failures in preceding innovation trajectories. In particular, the project considers the challenges and opportunities related to the embedding of the envisaged applications in current and changing structures of the related sectors, such as the chemical industry, and the energy or wastewater sectors, with a focus on multi-sector settings and directions towards decentralized processes.

Methodologically, the project connects approaches from constructive technology assessment and lifecycle thinking as means to integrate sustainability criteria and the perspectives of a broad set of stakeholders in the anticipation and assessment of possible application pathways. The research will proceed in a highly integrated manner with ongoing electrochemical research, mutually adjusting agendas and allowing for reflecting on implications for design. In this way, the MVI project will help to develop societally viable and responsible electrochemical processes and applications that can contribute to ‘greening’ the chemical industry in the Netherlands and beyond.