ERC Starting Grant - Design and NanoEngineering of Microporous Membranes for Energy Storage (NanoMMES)


With the rapid development of renewable energy such as solar and wind power, energy storage technologies are in urgent need to integrate the low carbon energy into the power grid. Redox flow batteries are promising for grid scale energy storage owing to their scalable storage capacity, decoupled power and energy, long-term cycle performance, and quick response time. Membrane separators play a crucial role in flow batteries by selectively transporting ions while preventing the crossover of redox-active materials. Commercial Nafion membranes are being widely used for flow batteries, however, their high costs limit the large-scale application of this promising technology. Next-generation low-cost membranes with high ionic conductivity and selectivity, and durability are desirable for flow battery energy storage. This proposal NanoMMES aims at designing and nanoengineering low-cost, high-performance, ion-selective microporous membranes for redox flow battery energy storage applications. The objectives of NanoMMES will be achieved through curiosity-driven research into (1) designing the structures of microporous polymers to precisely tune the pore size and ion-conducting functionality required for batteries with different redox chemistries; (2) processing and nanoengineering polymers into highly conductive and selective membranes, and understanding the mechanisms of transport of ions and redox materials; (3) combining the designer membranes with redox flow battery chemistries to achieve efficient and stable energy storage. NanoMMES will undertake interdisciplinary research combining the molecular design of microporous polymers, membrane science and engineering, and redox flow battery chemistry and technology. The ultimate goal of the project is to generate design principles for next-generation ion-selective membranes that will have broad implications on advanced batteries for energy storage, helping the EU develop renewable energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

NanoMMESFunding Institution/Program: This project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement 851272).
Call: ERC-StG-2019 - ERC Starting Grant
Period: 1/11/2019-31/10/2014
Principal researcher: Dr. Qilei Song



NanoMMES Research Team

ResearcherBrief biography

Dr Anqi Wang, Postdoctoral Research Associate

 Anqi Wang is currently a postdoc researcher working on the ERC Starting grant on design and synthesis of polymer membranes for energy applications. He recently completed PhD research on the design and synthesis of polymers of intrinsic microporosity (PIMs) for battery energy storage. Anqi just started his postdoc research on 1st August 2021. He will be mainly responsible for the synthesis of polymer membranes. 


Dr Rui Tan, Postdoctoral Research Associate

Rui Tan is currently a postdoc researcher working on the ERC Starting grant on battery technologies. Rui recently completed his PhD research on developing functional membrane separators for solid-state batteries and redox flow batteries. Rui started his postdoc research on the ERC Starting Grant NanoMMES on 1st August 2021.  He will be mainly working on the development of flow battery redox chemistries and battery device engineering. 


Grant Collaborators

Prof Neil McKeown, University of Edinburgh 

Dr Kim Jelfs, Imperial College London


September 2021

NanoMMES project joined the Network of Flow Battery Research Initiatives (FLORES)FLORES stands for a network of Flow Battery Research Initiatives including 13 EU funded projects on Next-Generation redox-flow batteries.  The network will share ideas and results in order to create next generation energy storage systems for more stable, effective and affordable energy sources.

September 2019

Read the news release