Utrecht University graduate Jochem Wijten has won the Unilever Research Prize, for his Master’s research into more efficient storage methods for solar energy. The prize includes a trophy and a monetary award of € 2,500.
Wijten attended the Graduate Program on Solar Fuels Catalysis, an honours track of the Utrecht Master’s programme in Nanomaterials. His supervisors, Professors Bert Weckhuysen and Monica Barroso from Utrecht University and Jan Philipp Hofmann at TU Eindhoven, nominated Wijten for his remarkable talent and huge passion for research.
In his Master’s research, Wijten proved that Metal-Organic Frameworks (MOFs) can contribute to the more efficient storage of solar energy. MOFs, a new category of nanomaterials, can accelerate the conversion of water into oxygen and hydrogen. They are safe, cheap and sustainable, and could therefore play a major role in the development of cleaner supplies of energy.
Cooperation with TU Eindhoven
The Graduate Program on Solar Fuels Catalysis is a programme of the Netherlands Institute for Catalysis Research. For his Master’s research, Wijten combined the expertise and technical infrastructure available at Utrecht University and TU Eindhoven.
Jochem Wijten earned his Bachelor’s degree cum laude in Chemistry at Utrecht University. He also earned honours for his Master’s degree. At the moment, Wijtens is working as a PhD student in Utrecht University’s Anorganic Chemistry and Catalysis research group, studying the electro-catalytic splitting of water molecules using nickel-molybdenum alloys.