What are the relevant competences and experiences of the organization for the project?
In the Institute for Materials Research at UHasselt, expertise of chemists, physicists and engineers are combined to research new materials for a sustainable world. In the field of energy, the focus is on materials research for both energy generation (e.g. solar cells), energy storage (e.g. in batteries or in chemicals) and energy efficiency (thermochromic windows), in which case the entire chain of material design, synthesis until reliability of the devices is discussed. We are a partner in various national, interregional and European research programs. The group of Prof. Hardy and Prof. Van Bael (Inorganic and Physical Chemistry) has expertise in developing and understanding solution-based synthesis processes for the controlled production of inorganic materials as building blocks for sustainable applications. Examples are electrodes and electrolytes for batteries, interface layers in solar cells, printable functional coatings, etc. Thanks to our interdisciplinary approach within the institute, we can provide knowledge and expertise in developing economically and ecologically sound synthesis and deposition processes of materials, the chemical and physical characterization of these materials as well as the performance of the developed materials in innovative devices. The common thread and motivation of the research is invariably ‘sustainability’. Not only do we realize progress in the design, production and application of materials as building blocks for innovative sustainability solutions. We also train young scientists to include innovation and sustainability as evident ingredients in their vision as scientists.
What is the motivation of the organization to participate in the project?
The institute for materials research at UHasselt specializes in fundamental and application-oriented interdisciplinary materials research. We strive to play a leading role in knowledge and development of advanced material systems that contribute to a sustainable and healthy world. With this we aim to offer scientific / technological achievements with economic added value that can provide a solution to the social challenges of our time and environment. Research into sustainable energy-related materials is a spearhead at UHasselt, which is one of the four partners in ‘Energyville’ and, as a ‘civic university’, wants to conduct research that contributes to the prosperity of the region. Cross-regional collaborations with other research and industrial partners are a great added value and motivation.
The objective of the Interreg project, SUNOVATE, fits perfectly with our ambitions to contribute to innovation in sustainability in this region, as well as our expertise and drive to design, synthesize and characterize materials that serve as building blocks for sustainable applications. It offers us an opportunity to also use our knowledge in the development of pigments for sustainable energy generation and saving in buildings. We have already worked with TNO and other partners in the Interreg project ENEF for this. The complementarity between the partners within the consortium is a clear added value and a requirement to valorize the building blocks that we can carefully develop in well-thought-out demonstrators and give us meaning as a region in this important research domain.