Three Utrecht researchers collaborate with India in ‘data-driven’ energy science

NWO grants for René van Roij, Laura Filion, and Marjolein Dijkstra

Three out of the four NWO projects that receive funding in the programme Data-driven science - computational and data sciences - for smart and sustainable energy research’ are based at Utrecht University. In these Indian-Dutch collaboration projects, the researchers will deploy computational and data science in sustainable energy research. Physics researchers René van Roij, Laura Filion, and Marjolein Dijkstra are the main applicants of the projects.

prof. Roij Rene van
Prof. René van Roij

Optimised energy harvest and storage using discrete electrolytes

Prof. René van Roij (Utrecht University) and Prof. Balasubramanian Sundaram (Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research)

Ionic liquids (ILs) have unique material properties that in theory make them even more suitable than other electrolytes for energy storage in, for example, solar cells. Unfortunately increased energy density in ILs is associated with dramatically low power density, which cannot be explained with existing theoretical models due to the complex molecular composition. The researchers want to understand the behaviour of ILs better by using a combination of theory and various molecular dynamics simulations for which use will be made of cloud computing.

Dr. Laura Filion, lid van de Utrecht Young Academy.
Dr. Laura Filion

Design and Synthesis of Novel Catalysts for Energy Applications via Nanoparticle Self-Assembly

Dr Laura Filion (Utrecht University) and Prof. Sudeep Punnathanam (Indian Institute of Science)

This project focuses on catalytic materials that are important for technological developments in, for example, photovoltaic solar cells and fuel cells. The researchers want to design a system of metallic, coated nanoparticles and study how these particles organise themselves in open lattice structures. With the help of computer simulations they hope to realise design rules that make it clear under which conditions the desired open crystals arise and accordingly to make the future experimental realisation of new catalytic materials possible.

Marjolein Dijkstra
Prof. Marjolein Dijkstra

Design of novel nanophotonic and plasmonic structures for improved solar cells using reverse-engineering

Prof. Marjolein Dijkstra (Utrecht University) and Prof. Srikanth Sastry (Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research)

Using computer simulations and optimisation algorithms, the researchers want to design new photonic and plasmonic structures that can improve the efficiency of thin-film solar cells. By means of reverse engineering they want to produce nanoscale building blocks that can organise themselves into crystalline structures with the desired photonic and plasmonic properties. The formation of nanostructured materials will be made programmable by using new algorithms for the shape of building blocks and the direction and selectivity of their interactions, for example.