Creating a radically accessible open-hardware platform for redox-flow batteries

Alliance team receives SPARK grant for building a FAIR-Battery

With a SPARK grant from the Centre for Unusual Collaboration (CUCo), a team of scientists and scholars from Utrecht, Wageningen, and Eindhoven Universities will create an open-hardware platform for redox-flow batteries. Their aim is to make the platform radically accessible: 1- by deliberately using low cost and locally available materials suitable for local user groups, and 2- by setting up the education communities on top of the open-hardware design. This platform not only provides the necessary technical details for engineering and production, but also incorporates the local constraints for actually adopting and using the technology. These constraints relate to language, availability of materials and expertise, maintenance capacity, or other locally varying conditions, which will be identified in the course of the project from a social science perspective.

“Our envisioned FAIR-Battery platform will track and seek to remove these constraints in each stage of the development by direct consultation with the user-groups.” says Sanli Faez, who is coordinating the project. The review committee states in their awarding letter that “unusualness of the project has been uniquely interpreted and revolves around questions of justice and access”.

The team members bring together a wide range of expertise. Antoni Forner-Cuenca (TUE) is an expert in redox-flow batteries, fuel cells, and electrolysers and Yali Tang (TUE) focuses on the fundamentals of multiphase flows using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modelling. Peter Ngene (UU) is a chemist who researches synthesis and characterization of novel materials for the conversion and storage of energy. Maarten Voors and Stephanie Hobbis from Wageningen University bring the necessary socio-technological expertise to the team and provide a locally-driven perspective on the socio-cultural dynamics of infrastructural development projects. Maarten has recently received a VIDI grant on understanding the role of electrification in development.

For further information about the project, please contact Sanli Faez.