Dr. ir. Marnix Wagemaker will receive a Vici grant from NWO. Wagemaker is getting this grant, which amounts to 1.5 million euros, to investigate the inner workings of batteries. Among other things, the researcher aims to find out why the storage capacity achieved by the current generation of batteries is lagging behind that which should theoretically be feasible. An additional 250.000 euros of in-kind contributions will be provided by companies that are involved in the research. 

In recent years, researchers have developed new electrodes and electrolyte materials in order to make better batteries. Such research has borne fruit, but strangely enough the way in which these new materials function within batteries is still somewhat of a mystery. The reason for this gap in our knowledge is that there have been no methods that can monitor processes in working batteries.

Fundamental understanding
Marnix Wagemaker intends to unravel these complex processes by means of a series of new, experimental tools such as NMR spectroscopy, synchotron and neutron radiation. ‘I want to understand, on a fundamental level, why some chemical processes in batteries fail while others succeed,’ says Wagemaker. The envisaged methods have the additional benefit of being non-destructive.

Wagemaker is also interested in the interaction between processes that take place on the atomic scale and processes that take place on the larger, so-called ‘mesoscopic' scale. Such an integrated approach can lead to a theoretical model that predicts what the bottleneck in battery performance will be’, says Wagemaker. ‘With this knowledge, better batteries and materials can be designed.’

About Vici

Vici is targeted at outstanding senior researchers who have successfully demonstrated the ability to develop their own innovative lines of research, and to act as coaches for young researchers. Vici offers researchers the opportunity to build their own research group, often in anticipation of a structural professor's position.

More information:
Delft Center for Chemical Energy Storage
'In search of better Li-on batteries and alternatives', research story about the new TU Delft battery lab.