Ekkes joined the Faculty of Applied Sciences at Delft University of Technology January 2008 as head of the section Fundamental Aspects of Materials and Energy. Employing microscopic and macroscopic techniques, Ekkes main research interest is in materials for renewable energy and energy saving (MCE, Li-ion batteries, H storage, solar cells, self-healing materials, catalysts). In this work in-situ, neutron scattering, X-ray diffraction, positron annihilation and Mössbauer spectroscopy play an important role.
Ekkes major scientific effort and scholarly contribution of the past 15 years is to establish magnetocaloric material as a new, sustainability-oriented discipline. He is recognized as leading expert in this field.
Overall, Ekkes has published more than 440 papers with more than 9200 citations (ISI); and generated 13 patents. He is editor of the Handbook of Magnetism and Magnetic Materials, co-organized the Intermag Conference in Amsterdam and initiated the recurring Delft Days on Magnetocalorics.
Ekkes international activities include strong research collaborations with universities and research institutes in China and Vietnam. He stayed as visiting professor at the Department of Mechanical Engineering, at the Federal University of Santa Catarina Brazil and as PosDoc at the Department of Materials Science of Stanford University.
During the NWO pioneer project Ekkes started working on magnetocaloric materials. The MnFePAs materials studied in this project, turned out to have excellent magnetocaloric properties. However, the presence of As in these first generation materials prohibits broad application in household appliances. In the third generation materials As has been completely replaced by Si, making these materials environmentally benign. These materials have now been used in a magnetocaloric wine cooler first presented in Las Vegas at CES 2015 and were the trigger to award Ekkes in 2016 the prestigious FOM valorization price.