The VoltaChem Delft facilities: fully equipped for dedicated electrochemistry research

29-06-2021 | P2Chemicals

The VoltaChem Delft facilities: fully equipped for dedicated electrochemistry researchAt the TNO labs in Delft, VoltaChem has developed its key facilities for R&D on electrochemical conversion. There, together with partners from industry and academia, our expert researchers and engineers work on cutting-edge innovations in electrosynthesis, from bench-scale experiments towards industrially relevant process piloting. All with the aim to convert renewable feedstock, including CO2, into high-value products, and accelerate industrial electrification to create a sustainable chemical industry.

Dr. Elena Pérez Gallent and Dr. Roman Latsuzbaia are two VoltaChem electrochemical research scientists working in the Delft laboratories. According to Elena, it is their scope and size, combined with the level of automation, that make the facilities stand out in the buzzing arena of electrochemistry research. To which Roman adds that in Delft it is really all about applied research. "The equipment is state-of-the-art ranging from small-scale devices, for instance for catalyst development, towards larger scale facilities where complete reactor performance can be investigated. We can investigate and advance processes in stages of development from TRL 2 until 6. All in all, we are able to develop and scale up novel processes to a level of industrial relevance." 

Not just about technology development

Although the focus is on electrochemistry, the facilities range beyond electrodes and reactors, says Roman: "We have a range of complementing processing equipment that is of great value for the assessment and development of the process as a whole. Think of downstream equipment for crystallization, distillation, for extracting and separating the product." Elena: "We also put a lot of attention to integration with upstream processes, in particular regarding COconversion where we work on integration of capture and conversion. Furthermore, it is important to realize that at VoltaChem it is not just about technology development. We take into account the overall process, we are looking at the needs of the potential end users, we consider the economic viability, so in fact we consider the whole value chain. We will never put effort in technology development that would not stand a chance to be accepted by the industry." 

R&D projects at the Delft lab range from short-term co-funded research projects to long-term programmatic research, so that VoltaChem serves a wide range of customers and partners. Depending on the research challenges, a multi-disciplinary team of experienced researchers is assembled. Roman: "We always build on the knowledge and experience from earlier projects as well as on the latest insights from academic literature and industrial practice. I think we stand out because we have a lot of experience in projects together with companies. This industrial experience helps us to focus on the aspects that really are of importance in bringing technology to the market."

New facilities

The Delft laboratory features various set-ups with electrode sizes ranging from 1 cm2 to 1000 cm2 and typical electrolyte volumes from 500 ml to 1.5 l. Apart from three smaller batch-operated devices, a continuous flow configuration is used with single-, dual or triple compartment reactors. The most recent additions are the new 'COSEY2' and 'ELEKTRA' electrolysis test stations that have been operational since early 2021. 

COSEY2 contains the biggest electrochemical reactor available in Delft. It is a new, fully automated and larger version of a comparable setup that is still in use. COSEY2 is used within the European PERFORM project and for short-term bilateral research projects for industrial partners, producing samples of sustainable specialty chemicals. 

ELEKTRA is one of the largest installations for semi-continuous electroreduction of CO2 and CO, fully designed and constructed in-house. It is quite unique because of its flexibility in terms of pressures (up to 30 bar), temperatures (up to 85 °C), and most importantly its capability of operate gas diffusion electrodes at those conditions. It is an automated set-up that can be operated remotely, so it allows for long-term testing needed for crucial process stability tests. ELEKTRA exemplifies the VoltaChem capabilities for long-term programmatic research and features in the Interreg project E2C. Elena: “We are very proud of this set-up; it gives a glimpse into the future as to what scale we can achieve, right here in the lab. Also, this installation plays an important role in the VoltaChem Flagship Program on Integrated CO2 capture and electrochemical conversion.”

As a next step, VoltaChem is currently developing a pilot demonstrator that can accommodate stack reactors with 15 cells and a total area of about half a square meter. The equipment will be available for clients that would like to test their own components such as electrodes, reactors, or even electrochemical processes at real industrial conditions. This demonstrator will be employed in another VoltaChem research facility: the Fieldlab Industrial Electrification. This new innovation hub for testing Power-2-X technologies on a large scale is being developed in the Rotterdam-Moerdijk area. 


The Delft facilities are open for collaborations in many forms. This ranges from short bilateral projects facilitating clients in their own research, assisted by the VoltaChem experts, to short-term co-funded research and also long-term programmatic research cooperation such as the Flagship Program Integrated CO2 capture and electrochemical conversion . Would you like to know how VoltaChem can support you in taking the next step in electrochemistry development? Contact us! (details below).

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Contact:

Willem Frens

Business Development Power-2-Chemicals/ Commodities

+31 6 483 532 63

willem.frens@voltachem.com

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Reinier Grimbergen

Business Development Power-to-Chemicals/ Specialties

+31 6 271 438 18

reinier.grimbergen@voltachem.com

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Martijn de Graaff

Business and Program development VoltaChem general

+31 6 222 608 71

martijn.degraaff@voltachem.com

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