14 December it was announced which NWO Take-off projects will receive funding. The projects, consisting of feasibility studies and early-stage projects, are designed to see if they have commercial or societal applicability.

Among the awarded projects, we also find members of the Royal Dutch Chemical Society. Their projects are highlighted below.

Take-off phase 1: Feasibility studies WO

KNCV-lid prof.dr.ir. Rene Janssen (Technische Universiteit Eindhoven): Flowganic

To alleviate congestion on the grid and deal with the intermittency of solar and wind energy, decentralized storage of electrical energy on medium to large scale is inevitable. A recent discovery of extremely stable and easy to synthesize organic redox-active molecules provides new perspectives to the development of organic redox flow batteries for energy storage. These batteries are based on circular materials, have high energy density and cyclability, and are potentially low cost. In this project, we aim to develop this discovery into a sustainable energy technology, create demonstrators, and identify first commercial products.

KNCV-lid dr. Stefania Grecea (Universiteit van Amsterdam): Green synthesis of nanoparticles for biomedical applications

Nanomedicine is used worldwide to improve the treatments of various diseases, by employing nanoparticles for drug delivery, medical imaging, and disease diagnosis. A novel method will be applied to overcome the limitations of the current multi-step synthetic procedures and achieve a better control of the compositional and morphological features of nanoparticles used in biomedical applications.

KNCV-lid prof.dr. Stephen Picken (Technische Universiteit Delft): Novel bio-based agrichemical delivery systems (CARAPACE)

The agrichemical industry is under pressure to replace fossil-based plastics with biodegradable alternatives. Synthetic polymers are generally used to slowly disperse encapsulated nutrients into fields. Besides being nonrenewable, the weathering of such materials results in the formation of polluting microplastics. The EU Commission is now phasing out these materials. A key solution is the use of bio-based and biodegradable formulations, e.g., using protein-based materials. In addition, the incorporation of bio-based industrial byproducts into novel formulations would benefit a circular economy. The company CARAPACE aims to market unique (circular) biopolymer-based carriers of fertilizers for the agricultural sector.

KNCV-lid dr. Paul Kouwer (Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen): Fybrix – the route towards successful commercialization

Scientists grow cells in laboratories to study biology and cure diseases but often face difficulties to mimic the human environment in which those cells grow. Currently, they typically use Matrigel, which is a matrix that is extracted from mouse tumors. The use of a mouse-derived matrix has many disadvantages and raises increasing ethical concerns. We have developed Fybrix, a synthetic but biomimetic matrix that combines the advantages of biological and synthetic materials. We are currently validating Fybrix and this grant will be used for feasibility studies to support the creation of a spin-off company for commercialization our invention.

source: NWO