Electrochemical Conversion & Materials Committee starts work

29 March 2017

In the coming weeks, at the invitation of the top sectors Energy, High Tech Systems and Materials (HTSM), and Chemistry, the Electrochemical Conversion and Materials advisory committee (ECCM) will start work on a vision for the transition to a CO2-neutral society, based on renewably-generated energy. “This theme demands a national approach”, says the committee’s chair, Richard van de Sanden. “The Netherlands has a strong knowledge position, as well as a large and diverse private sector that is keen to tackle this subject. This opportunity is too good to pass up.”

Friday 16 June the committee will present the draft results during a theme day.

Society is on the verge of a major energy and raw materials transition in the context of the shift to a CO2-neutral economy by 2050 – the aspiration set out by the government in its Energy agenda. This is a major challenge, especially for traditional capital-intensive sectors such as the chemical, refining and steel industries. In NL Next Level (its vision for the new government), the Confederation of Netherlands Industry and Employers (VNO-NCW) also points out that this transition will require innovations that really make a difference. The exponential growth of renewable energy from the wind and the sun offers a significant opportunity for large-scale improvements in sustainability. Prof. Van de Sanden points out that “In the Netherlands, public and private research in the fields of materials, process technology and catalysis ranks among the best in the world. This capability, in terms of knowledge and technology, gives the Netherlands a unique international starting point from which to develop, demonstrate and deploy new solutions for the transition to a low CO2 emission society.”

Major transition, robust foundation

The top sectors of Energy, HTSM and Chemistry note that a great deal of work is already taking place at the interfaces between these sectors, especially in relation to the conversion of sunlight and electricity into products. Accordingly, these top sectors – in cooperation with the Ministry of Economic Affairs – held a theme day on this subject last January. The information presented on that day gave the participants an impression of the challenges facing companies in various sectors. They also gained an overview of the various programmes and projects that have been established around this subject, many of which are cooperative ventures between industry, knowledge institutes and the government. The Energy top sector recently held a symposium entitled ‘Transition to a CO2-neutral industrial sector’. There, a dialogue took place with industry on exactly which innovations are needed and how the Netherlands can gain a place among the leaders in this field. These activities provide an ideal basis for positioning the Netherlands at national and international level. This will involve cooperating even more closely and closing any gaps in the knowledge chain, from fundamental research to implementation.

National approach

Paulien Herder (member of the board of the Top Sector Energy) feels that what is needed is a national approach. Prof. Herder explains that “During the theme day, we concluded – together with the participants – that a joint approach is needed to accelerate the introduction of electrochemical conversion and materials for society, thus speeding up the transition to a future-oriented, low CO2 emission society”. “The subject requires cooperation between different disciplines, as well as new alliances between companies and institutions from various sectors. It also calls for cooperation across top sector boundaries.” In an effort to bring this national approach another step closer, the top sectors Energy, HTSM and Chemistry have appointed a committee of experts who – on behalf of a diverse constituency of businesses and scientists – will develop a common vision.

The ECCM advisory committee
The following experts will be getting started in the upcoming weeks:

  • Prof. dr. ir. Richard van de Sanden (DIFFER), voorzitter
    Directeur DIFFER, Plasmafysica en chemie
  • Dr. Peter Bouwman (Nedstack fuel cell technology)
    Chief Technology Officer
  • Prof. dr. Bernard Dam (TU Delft)
    Materials for Energy Conversion & Storage
  • Dr. ir. Earl Goetheer (TNO)
    Principle scientist Sustainable Process & Energy Systems
  • Prof. dr. Gert-Jan Gruter (Avantium)
    Chief Technology Officer
  • Prof. dr. Petra de Jongh (Universiteit Utrecht)
    Inorganic Chemistry & Catalysis
  • Prof. dr. Marc Koper (Universiteit Leiden)
  • Prof. dr. Guido Mul (Universiteit Twente) 
    Photocatalytic synthesis
  • Dr. Alexander van der Made (Shell)
    Principal Scientist Future Energy Technologies
  • Dr. ir. John van der Schaaf (TU/e)
    Chemical reactor engineering
  • Drs. Marco Waas (AkzoNobel)
    Director RD&I and Technology Industrial Chemicals
  • Dr. ir. Hans van der Weijde (Tata Steel)
    Programmamanager Elektrochemie en CO2-reductie
  • Dr. ir. Wim Willeboer (RWE)
    Strategic Engineer Process Technology

The committee will be starting work with a broad administrative mandate from the various top sectors and Top Consortia for Knowledge and Innovation (TKIs) involved. The boards of the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (specifically, of the ENW (Science) and TTW (Applied and Engineering Sciences) domains) and TO2 (Applied Research Organizations) were also consulted. The committee was asked to obtain feedback on its vision from the TKIs of the top sectors involved and from a broader group with wide ranging expertise in innovation, management and governance.

The committee will discuss its interim results during a second theme day, which is scheduled to start at 12:00 on Friday 16 June, in The Hague. You can register here.

Further details
If you have any questions, please contact the secretaries concerned: Sandra de Keijzer (Energy, T: +31 (0)6-42035174), Frank Karelse (HTSM, T: +31 (0)6-11567154), Mark Schmets (Chemistry, T: +31 (0)6-30369239), and Martijn de Graaff (TO2, T: +31 (0)6-22260871), all of whom can also be contacted via secretariaat@eccm-mail.nl.

Source: NWO