Unrealistic dream?

It seemed to be an unrealistic dream at that time, so the first few years were tough. Starting a brand new development like this is challenging, because it was very difficult to get the necessary funding and parties together in the Netherlands and Europe in the first few years. But we persisted. We remained convinced of the potentials and that we could be able to create a large Metal Power community of collaborating people from academia, industry and governments. The technology push slowly changes into a market pull trend due to its meanwhile proven potential and increased visibility.

In this short document, I will elaborate the main steps taken to get to this point by creating a timeline and discussing main (strategic) steps to get where we are today. Still, we are not at all where I would like to be, but by working in an increasingly stronger and larger team, it is becoming more fun, but also more difficult …..



  • Decision to start Metal Fuel Research line @ TU/e (May 2015)
  • Share ideas within Mechanical Engineering Department @ TU/e
  • Collaboration with Goroshin/Bergthorson (McGill) to bring focus to TU/e research (December 2015: invitate both to TU/e to discuss and learn more about metal combustion)
  • Decision: focus on iron fuel combustion & reduction
  • Decision: focus on connecting basic research with valorisation & scale-up to larger scales, to be able to distinguish from others (Bochum/Siemens, Orleans/PSA)
  • Vision document for development of the Metalot innovation center and campus on circular use of metals and energy together with Jan Vlassak is embraced  by partners
  • Founder of Metalot innovation center (M3C) together with Jan Vlassak
  • Main idea was to create a strong link between TU/e and Metalot to create a symbiosis between basic research and more practical technology development to bring the technology to the market(>TRL3) @ Metalot


  • Start collaboration of TU/e & Metalot: founding fathers are Nyrstar, Province of Noord-Brabant, Cranendonck municipaloty and TU/e; metal fuel combustion & reduction in combination with metalurgy and metal recycling are main topics, many other related topics are considered and discussions with many parties are started
  • First experiments on metal fuels start @ TU/e by Yuriy Shoshin, TU/e expert on metal combustion
  • Workshop on metal fuels @ TU/e with many academic (incl. McGill) and industrial parties to share ideas and create a first consortium (incl. TaTa, Shell, PSA, Siemens), very succussful (feb. 2016). Conclusion: create large consortium projects to get funding on circular use of metals & energy.
  • MRE subsidy (Team Energy @ TU/e, Metalot & Nyrstar) granted to get some funding for first little steps (50 Keuro)
  • 3 small SER projects with Flowid, Romico, Nyrstar/Metalot and PI to get a bit more funding (30 keuro)
  • Share ideas with Innovation Lab: Mark Cox wishes to support an TU/e honors student team, first 3 students start team SOLID


  • Several proposals are submitted by us under my leadership but all are not granted:   
    • EU SPIRE spinning-disc electrolysis with TU/e Chemistry Department
    • EU MezeCapo with many parties from EU countries
    • Large MetalCycles NWO perspectief was developed by me supported by dr. Martin Timmer (4.5 Meuro with 1.5 Meuro contribution of many parties, o.a. TaTa, Nyrstar, PSA, Siemens)
  • SOLID increases to 11 students, first metal fuel flames are created without supporting gas, together with MSc students and Yuriy Shoshin; SOLID is independent student team but strong collaboration is foreseen to connect strengths
  • Development of Metalot becomes strong and leading. Contacts with many companies and other parties are created; Province Noord-Brabant funds Metalot (100 keuro) and appoints kwartermaker (Wybe Thysse) to develop campus and innovation center further
  • Monthly Metalot Meets are started on topics related to energy storage and metal recycling, each time about 30-40 participants from industry/academia
  • Bi-weekly Metal Meets are started on Friday morning @ TU/e ME department to share ideas and stimulate each other


  • Several proposals are submitted and all are not granted, but I did not stop and believe that we had very good ideas, for example:  
    • EU MezeCapo resubmitted with many parties, not granted
    • Large MetalCycles NWO perspectief (4.5 Meuro with 1.5 Meuro contribution of many parties, o.a. TaTa, Nyrstar, PSA, Siemens), not granted
    • NWO TTW Metal2Power Heatflux (800 keuro), not granted
    • Many other ideas are investigated together with many different parties
  • The MetalCycles proposal was considered as the basis for the Metalot innovation program; Because this was not granted, the province was convinced to support the more applied parts of the MetalCycles program related to the Metalot innitiative and the Lighthouse Metal Power project is submitted.
  • To create a larger and multi-disciplinary TU/e community, prof. Hensen and I created the basis of the first cross-disciplinary TU/e institute EIRES on energy Storage with metal fuels as one of the major themes
  • Dutch government supports techniek sectorplans, which I was leading, to improve quality of research.
  • SOLID increases to 25 students, number of MSc students to 4, 1 PhD student on metal fules with CSC scholarship (Daoguan Ning)
  • Metalot founding fathers decide to support Metalot with 300 keuro per year for at least 4 years to develop further
  • Metalot, EIRES @ TU/e and metal fuels projects should develop together, supported by SOLID and many other parties


  • Although the main ideas were very well accepted by companies and funding organisations, project funding was still largely lacking in the beginning of 2019.
  • Several proposals were (re)-submitted and now we became succesful !    
    • NWO TTW Metal2Power Heatflux (800 keuro) was resubmitted, ranked first by reviewers and granted; 2 new PhD students (Mark Hulsbos and Aravind Ravi) started on experiments and modeling of metal fuel flames
    • Lighthouse Metal Power (2.4 Meuro with TU/e, Metalot, Nyrstar, EMGroup, Uniper, Heat Power, Romico, Enpuls and SOLID) is granted by province and is started
    • MIIP project with maritime sector to study possible application in shipping is granted and carried out
    • IFUEL was not succesful
  • Tim Spee, one of my former graduates, starts as project coordinator of the applied valorisation projects (Lighthouse Metal Power and MIIP and later more)
  • The development and building phase of MP100, the 100 KW metal fuel system financed by Lighthouse Metal Power projec is started
  • EIRES @ TU/e develops slowly and is looking for scientific/managing directors
  • Dutch government supports techniek sectorplans to improve quality of research; as representative of TU/e I managed to create 3 open professor positions on metal fuel related topics; first position is filled by Giulia Finotello; starting packages with 1-2 PhD students for each new professor are financed from the EIRES institute
  • SOLID increases to 35 students, PR machine is started up, mainly by SOLID.
  • Discussions with many parties interested in Metalot and metal fuels are performed (incl. investors)
  • Metalot comes into crisis….. due to nitrogen crisis in the Netherlands, it is decided by Nyrstar to stop the development of industrial Metalot Site. Metalot innovation centre continues by itself
  • Metal Fuels are mentione in a letter to parliament on closing of the coal fired power plants.


  • Metalot starts Future Energy Lab (FEL) in Cranendonck & MP100 setup moves to FEL.
  • New project proposals are submitted and again very succesful!    
    • Lighthouse Metal Energy Carrier project to build a demonstrator on the reduction of iron oxides  to iron (1.4 Meuro with TU/e, Metalot, Shell, EMGroup, Pometon and RISE) is granted by province and started 
    • OP ZUID Living Lab Metal POWER (3.75 Meuro with Metalot, TU/e, Veolia, Nyrstar, EMGroup, Uniper, Heat Power) is granted by Stimulus and Province and started
    • ERC advanced grant MetalFuel (2.5 Meuro, personal grant) is granted and started with 6 new students and many other academic collaborators;
    • RVO TSE feasibility project (280 Keuro) is granted to investigate a pilot project: 5 MW MP full cycle on district heating inb= Rotterdam with Uniper, Shell and others
    • E=MC2 study to develop a MILD metal fuel burner is funded  by 4th tier money (TU/e alumnus) and started
  • Few are not granted: EU MSCORE, CLCO2
  • EIRES @ TU/e is launched during opening of academic year with focus on metal fuels
  • SOLID contributes to Lighthouse projects Lighthouse MP/MEC & OPZUID & RVO TSE
  • Demo of MP100  by Metal Power consortium & SOLID @ Swinkels/Bavaria to brew CO2-free beer, very succesful with huge media interest (>60 news articles)

At this point in time, more than 10 MEuro of funding has been obtained from different sources to make next steps possible. This is a good basis to make next steps in all relevant terrotories.

  • TU/e: next to 3 new (assistant) professors (sectorplans) and the growing student team SOLID working on the topic, two PostDocs (Giel Ramaekers and Mohammadreza Baigmohammadi), more than 10 PhD students and a varying number of MSc and BSc students investigate the major scientific elements within the Metal Fuels theme, to understand the basic physical and chemical processes. On a fundamental level, we are slowly starting to understand how the metal fuel flames burn and propagate, we started developing first models and model burners. Next to this basic research performed under my supervision,many other students work in our department, e.g. coached by Niels Deen, Jeroen van Oijen and Yuriy Shoshin.
  • EIRES: Metal fuels research is the basis of one of the key EIRES pillars, where Niels Deen is currently one of the senior scientists. In my eyes, EIRES is the fertile environment where deeper and cross-disciplinary research on the Metal Fuel theme can be performed.
  • Metalot: EIRES and TU/e are becoming more and more connected to Metalot, which holds as the central point where application driven research and development comes together.  Metalot is currently ready to be transformed into an organisation which houses the full eco-system on metal fuels, where new projects and teams are formed, where IP is concentrated and where joined steps closer and closer to market will be made.
  • Startup RIFT: Old SOLID students attempt to continue developing the metal fuel technology as part of a startup
  • Industry/governments: Together with many other people from governments and industry further technical developments, futher market penetration and eco-system development will be made possible in the coming few years of my final gig.

Thanks to many people who are in the middle of this with me, to name a few (the most important ones):

  • Niels, Tim, Jeroen, Yuriy from TU/e
  • Mark, Richard and Emiel from EIRES
  • Jan, Fränk, Piet-Jan and Steef from Metalot
  • Moamer, Nicole, Wybe, Eric from the Province of NB
  • Frans, Danielle, Joris from the Municipallity Cranendonck
  • All students of team SOLID & RIFT
  • Mike, Aris and many others from the many companies
  • Sam and Jeff from McGill

ESA project Perwaves

Explanation ESA Project Perwaves

I am acting as budget responsible scientics of the Technical Team Dust Combustion (Perwaves project) within the international Physical Sciences Team of ESA-ESTEC since around 2010. Several sounding rockets have been launched over the years studying perculation wave flame fronts propagating in clouds of particles within a zero-gravity environment. In november 2019 the last TEXUS-56 sounding rocket was launched from Sweden. Eperiments so far have been published, with an overview in Acta Astronautica in dec. 2020.

Palecka, Goroshin, Higgins, Shoshin, de Goey, Angillella, Oltmann, Stein, Schmitz, Vega, Vincent-Bonnieu, Sillekens & Bergthorson, Percolating Reaction–Diffusion Waves (PERWAVES)—Sounding rocket combustion experiments, Acta Astronautica 177, p 639-651 (2020)


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