Paul van Gerven
31 August 2020

Eindhoven University of Technology (TUE) has launched the Eindhoven Institute for Renewable Energy Systems (EIRES) on Monday, during the opening of the academic year. EIRES aims to work closely with the high-tech industry to develop decentralized and smart solutions for energy conversion and storage. TUE is investing 10 million euros in the establishment of the new institute.

EIRES electrolyzer
Credit: Eindhoven University of Technology

“We have excellent researchers in the field of energy storage and conversion, among other things. Moreover, the Brainport Region Eindhoven has a fantastic high-tech and manufacturing industry that can help with the energy transition. We’re joining these forces in this new institute,” says TUE president Robert-Jan Smits.

“We’re trying to rise to the biggest challenge of the energy transition: making the energy, transport and chemical sectors sustainable all at the same time. So it’s not only about energy, but also about sustainable and high-quality raw materials for chemistry,” explains Richard van de Sanden, the scientific director of EIRES.

As an example, EIRES has started the Dutch Electrolyzer consortium, working towards a production line for electrolyzers, which ‘split’ water into hydrogen and oxygen by running electric current through it. Hydrogen can store energy from wind or solar panels but can also be used as feedstock for the chemical industry, as input for fuel cells to generate electricity, and as a clean burning fuel itself.

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The consortium focuses on small-scale modular devices, of which the production can easily be scaled up. This way, electrolyzers can easily be installed in neighborhoods, or perhaps even in individual wind turbines. TUE and VDL Groep recently signed a letter of intent to further develop this technology together.

Other EIRES research programs focus on heat batteries, metal fuels and modeling and simulation tools for future energy systems.