Projects financed by European Union

Triboelectric nanogenerators for raindrop renewable energy harvesting


Financial source: Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación- Unión Europea

Code: TED2021
130916B I00

Acronym: DropEner

Principal Investigator: Ana Isabel Borrás Martos y Carmen López Santos 

01-12-2022 / 01-12-2024

Research team: Antonio Jose Gines Arteaga (IMSE-CNM), Luis Alberto Angurel Lamban (INMA), Jose Cotrino Bautista (ICMSE), Juan Pedro Espinos Manzorro (ICMSE), Victor Joaquin Rico Gavira (ICMSE), Jorge Gil Rostra (ICMSE), Gildas Leger (IMSE-CNM), Xerman De La Fuente Leis (INMA), Ricardo Molina Mansilla (iQac), Agustin Rodriguez Gonzalez-Elipe (ICMSE), Juan Ramon Sanchez Valencia (ICMSE) y Angel Barranco Quero (ICMSE).



DropEner aims to the development of rain panels, i.e. drop energy harvesters compatible with functioning under outdoor conditions, based on triboelectric nanogenerator (TENG) concepts and employing scalable and high yield production technologies. The project will demonstrate the application of an innovative concept recently patented by the NanotechOnSurfaces & Plasma Lab (CSIC-US)1 on the harvesting of the kinetic energy coming from liquid drops in the sudden and instantaneous contact with a triboelectric surface embedded in a capacitor-like architecture. Because of the parallelism with the architecture of a CCD image sensor pixel, we have entitled this invention as “Tixel”. Hence, this is the first TENG undoubtedly relaying on nano and microstructured architectures with the potential to generate high-density power by the implementation of Tixel arrays. Moreover, in a further step forward in the state-of-the-art in the exploitation of solid-liquid contact energy harvesters, DropEner pursues the development of durable and transparent Tixels. Such a challenge opens new scenarios for the exploitation of drop energy harvesters, among others, making them fully compatible with solar cells, including Silicon and Third Generation technologies (as Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells (DSCs) and Perovskite Solar Cells (PVs)).

Sustainable Smart De-Icing by Surface Engineering of Acoustic Waves







Financial source:  European Union

Code: H2020-FET OPEN- GA Nº: 899352

Acronym:  Sound of Ice 

Principal Investigator:
Ana Borrás

01-11-2020 / 30-04-2025



 (Access to the official webpage)

Icing on surfaces is commonplace in nature and industry and too often causes catastrophic events. SOUNDofICE ultimate goal is to overcome costly and environmentally harmful de-icing methods with a pioneering strategy based on the surface engineering of MHz Acoustic Waves for a smart and sustainable removal of ice. This technology encompasses the autonomous detection and low-energy-consuming removal of accreted ice on any material and geometry. For the first time, both detection and de-icing will share the same operating principle. The visionary research program covers the modeling of surface wave atom excitation of ice aggregates, integration of acoustic transducers on large areas, and the development of surface engineering solutions to stack micron-size interdigitated electrodes together with different layers providing efficient wave propagation, anti-icing capacity, and aging resistance. We will demonstrate that this de-icing strategy surpasses existing methods in performance, multifunctionality, and capacity of integration on industrially relevant substrates as validated with proof of concept devices suited for the aeronautic and wind power industries. SOUNDofICE high-risks will be confronted by a strongly interdisciplinary team from five academic centers covering both the fundamental and applied aspects. Two SMEs with first-hand experience in icing will be in charge of testing this technology and its future transfer to key EU players in aeronautics, renewable energy, and household appliances. An Advisory Board incorporating relevant companies will contribute to effective dissemination and benchmarking. The flexibility of the R&D plan, multidisciplinarity, and assistance of the AdB guarantee the success of this proposal, bringing up a unique opportunity for young academia leaders and SMEs from five different countries to strengthen the EU position on a high fundamental and technological impact field, just on the moment when the climate issues are of maxima importance.



Development of intermittent plasmas ignited by renewable electricity for the CO2 splitting and revalorization processes

Financial source: Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación. Agencia Estatal de Investigación. Proyectos de I+D+i Retos Investigación

Code: TED2021-130124A-I00

Acronym: RENOVACO2

Research Supervisor: Ana María Gómez Ramírez

Principal Investigator: Ana María Gómez Ramírez, Manuel Oliva  Ramírez

01-12-2022 / 30-11-2024

Research team: Alberto Palmero Acebedo, María del Carmen García Martínez, Agustín R. González-Elipe, José Cotrino Bautista, Rafael Álvarez Molina.

Work team: Guillermo Regodón Harkness, Antonio Márquez Alcaide, Servando Marín Meana

RENOVACO2 aims at developing atmospheric plasma technologies to induce chemical processes that are currently carried out through catalytic techniques (i.e., at high pressures and temperatures, using harmful and non-recyclable catalysts). Specifically, RENOVACO2 pursues the development of a Dielectric Barrier Discharge Reactor (DBD) to induce two processes of great environmental impact, such as the splitting of the CO2 molecule and its revalorization in high-valued products. RENOVACO2 proposes, in a first stage, to develop the DBD technology through the design, construction, modelling, and commissioning of a disruptive new plasma reactor. In a second stage, it is proposed to build a second prototype reactor powered with renewable energy sources through the connection to a solar panel.


Atmospheric Pressure Gliding-arc Plasmas for the Sustainable Production of Ammonia and Hydrogen

Financial source:  European Union

Code:  US‐1380977

Acronym: ARCPLAS

Principal Investigator:
Ana Mª Gómez Ramírez, José Cotrino Bautista

01-01-2020/ 31-05-2023

Research team: Ana Borrás, Victor Rico. 


Work team doctors: Agustín R. González-Elipe, Joël Francois Tsoplefack, Paula de Navascués Garvín

Research team: Javier Brey Sánchez, Juan Rodríguez Archilla, Jesús Cuevas Maraver, Alberto Palmero Acevedo, Rafael Álvarez Molina

This project aims at developing gas chemical transformation processes through atmospheric pressure plasma technologies that use electricity as a direct energy vector. Specifically, the objective is to fine-tune a Plasma Atmospheric Gliding Arc Reactor (PAAD) to induce two processes of great industrial and environmental impact, such as the synthesis of ammonia (NH3) and the production of hydrogen (H2) from hydrocarbons and alcohols. 


Three dimensional Nanoscale design for the all-in-one solution to environmental environmental multisource energy scavenging.


Financial source:  European Union

Code:  ERC-2019-STG- Starting Grant

Acronym:  3DScavengers


Principal Investigator:
Ana Borrás

01-03-2020 / 28-02-2025



 (Access to the official webpage)

Imagine a technology for powering your smart devices by recovering energy from lights in your office, the random movements of your body while reading these lines or from small changes in temperature when you breathe or go out for a walk. This very technology will provide energy for wireless sensor networks monitoring the air in your city or the structural stability of buildings and large constructions remotely and sustainably, avoiding battery recharging or even replacing them. These are the challenges in micro energy harvesting from (local) ambient sources.

Kinetic, thermal and solar energies are ubiquitous at our surroundings under diverse forms, but their relatively low intensity and intermittent availability limit their potential recovery by microscale devices. These restrictions call for multi-source energy harvesters working under two principles: 1) combining different single-source harvesters in one device, or 2) using multifunctional materials capable of simultaneously converting various energy sources into electricity. In 1), efficiency per unit volume can decrease compared to the individual counterparts; in 2), materials as semiconductors, polymeric and oxide ferroelectrics and hybrid perovskites may act as multisource harvesters but huge advances are required to optimize their functionalities and sustainable fabrication at large scale.

I propose to fill the gap between these approaches offering an all-in-one solution to multisource energy scavenging, based on the nanoscale design of multifunctional three-dimensional materials. The demonstration of an industrially scalable one-reactor plasma/vacuum method will be crucial to integrate hybrid-scavenging components and to provide 3DScavengers materials with tailored microstructure-enhanced performance.

My ultimate goal is to build nanoarchitectures for simultaneous and enhanced individual scavenging applying photovoltaic, piezo- and pyro-electric effects, minimizing the environmental cost of their synthesis.



Super-IcePhobic surfaces to prevent ice formation on aircraft

Financial source:  European Union

Code:  H2020-TRANSPORT/0149

Acronym:  PHOBIC2ICE

Principal Investigator:
Agustín R. González-Elipe

01-02-2016 / 31-01-2019

Research team: Ana Borrás, Victor Rico. 


Work team doctors: 

The accretion of ice represents a severe problem for aircraft, as the presence of even a scarcely visible layer can severely limit the function of wings, propellers, windshields, antennas, vents, intakes and cowlings. The PHOBIC2ICE Project aims at developing technologies and predictive simulation tools for avoiding or mitigating this phenomenon.

The PHOBIC2ICE project, by applying an innovative approach to simulation and modelling, will enable the design and fabrication of icephobic surfaces with improved functionalities. Several types of polymeric, metallic and hybrid coatings using different deposition methods will be developed. Laser treated and anodized surfaces will be prepared. Consequently, the Project focuses on collecting fundamental knowledge of phenomena associated with icephobicity issues. This knowledge will give better understanding of the ice accretion process on different coatings and modified surfaces. Certified research infrastructure (ice wind tunnel) and flight tests planned will aid in developing comprehensive solutions to address ice formation issue and will raise the Project’s innovation level.
The proposed solution will be environment-friendly, will contribute to the reduction of energy consumption, and will help eliminate the need for frequent on-ground de-icing procedures. This in turn will contribute to the reduction of cost, pollution and flight delay.



A full plasma and vacuum integrated process for the synthesis of high efficiency planar and 1D conformal perovskite solar cells

Financial source:
European Union
Code: H2020-MSCA-IF-2014

Acronym: PlasmaPerovSol

Project ID: 661480

Research Supervisor:
Ángel Barranco Quero

Principal Investigator:
Juan Ramón Sánchez Valencia

01-01-2016 / 31-12-2017

Research group:
ICMS: Ana Borrás, Victor López, Francisco Aparicio

University Pablo de Olavide: Juan Antonio Anta, Jesús Idígoras

Photovoltaic or solar cells (SC) devices –that transform light into electricity- have been extensively studied in the last decades since they represent a promising way to exploit the sun energy. Currently, perovskite-based solar cells(SC) are receiving increasing attention due to their low cost and high efficiency. They are very promising as an alternative for the existing ones, but still need to advance to reach higher efficiency and durability and require synthesis methods compatible with the industrial production of CMOS devices at wafer scale. These recent SC are mostly fabricated via wet methods in planar architecture. Inherent to the nature of the wet approaches, usually appear several drawbacks as contaminations and chemical reactions on the interfaces that might result deterioration of the SC performance.
PlasmaPerovSol main objective is the fabrication of a complete perovskite solar cell device by a full plasma and vacuum integrated process carried out under the premises of the “one reactor concept”. Thus, the different components of the solar cell will be deposited sequentially within a vacuum reactor avoiding exposition of the materials and interfaces to air or solvents. The technology developed by the hosting group combine vacuum deposition assisted by plasma that permits the fabrication of conformal layers over a large variety of templates. This approach is also proposed here to fabricate conformal multilayers over 1D scaffold that will push the advantages of one-dimensional SC. Plasma and vacuum processes present as advantage the high purity and stoichiometric control on the deposition within an ample range of materials compositions. The synthesis approach is compatible with large scale industrial production and allows the fabrication of SC on processable and flexible substrates. At the same time, the low temperatures used make the approach compatible with current CMOS technology and by using masks permits their integration on preformed devices.





Innovative SOFC Architecture based on Triode Operation

unioneurFinancial source:
Europen Union
Code: FCH-JU-2011-1

Research head:
Agustín R. González-Elipe

01-09-2012 / 31-08-2015

Research group:
Francisco Yubero Valencia, Juan Pedro Espinós Manzorro, Angel Barranco Quero, Richard Lambert, Victor J. Rico, Ana Borrás Martos, José Cotrino, Jorge Gil, Pedro Castillero, Fran J. García, Alberto Palmero

The development of Solid Oxide Fuel Cells (SOFCs) operating on hydrocarbon fuels (natural gas, biofuel,LPG) is the key to their short to medium term broad commercialization. The development of direct HC SOFCs still meets lot of challenges and problems arising from the fact that the anode materials operate under severe conditions leading to low activity towards reforming and oxidation reactions, fast deactivation due to carbon formation and instability due to the presence of sulphur compounds. Although research on these issues is intensive, no major technological breakthroughs have been so far with respect to robust operation, sufficient lifetime and competitive cost. T-CELL proposes a novel electrochemical approach aiming at tackling these problems by a comprehensive effort to define, explore, characterize, develop and realize a radically new triode approach to SOFC technology means of an integrated approach based both on materials development and on the deployment of an innovative cell design that permits the effective control of electrocatalytic activity under steam or dry reforming conditions. The novelty of the proposed work lies in the pioneering effort to apply Ni-modified materials electrodes of proven advanced tolerance, as anodic electrodes in SOFCs and in the exploitation of our novel triode SOFC concept which introduces a new controllable variable into fuel cell operation. In order to provide a proof of concept of the stackability of triode cells, a triode SOFC stack consisting of at least 4 repeating units will be developed and its performance will be evaluated under methane and steam co-feed, in presence of a small concentration of sulphur compound.

Environmentally friendly processing of ceramics and glass (CERAMGLASS)

image002_0Financial source:
European Union
Code: LIFE11 ENV/ES/560

Research head:
Xermán F. de la Fuente Leis

1-01-2011 / 31-12-2014

Research group:
ICMS: Agustín R. González-Elipe, Victor J. Rico, Angel Barranco Quero, Juan Pedro Espinós Manzorro, Jorge Gil, Francisco Yubero Valencia

The general objective of the ‘CERAMGLASS’ project is to reduce the environment impact of thermal treatment of ceramics by the successful application of an innovative laser-furnace technology on planar ceramics and glass. The project plans to construct a pilot plant based on the innovative combination of a continuous furnace and a scanning laser. It aims at demonstrating a considerable reduction in energy consumption and the industrial scalability of the process. The project primarily aims at showing that it is feasible to produce robust ceramic tile of only 4 mm thick. This would represent a 50% reduction in tile thickness, with consequent reduction in consumption of raw source materials. The project will adapt decoration compositions with more environmentally friendly materials by using the laser processing. Specifically it will adapt screen printing decorations to third-fire products with lustre and metallic effects and decoration inks for planar glass. The replacement of toxic starting materials will allow a minimisation of CO2 and other gas emissions, toxic residues and a reduction of the energy consumption of the process.