CORDIS - EU research results

New Paradigm in Electrolyte Thermodynamics

Project description

New models will defuse a charged situation and provide clarity

Electrolytes are chemical compounds that dissociate into ions, charged species whose movement creates a current. The phenomenon is captured in electroencephalographs and electrocardiographs, is the defining characteristic of batteries and fuel cells, and is also fundamental to a myriad of environmental, chemical and industrial processes. Despite this, thermodynamic models that help us understand electrolytic systems and their behaviour are still largely based on evidence and require lots of data. The EU-funded ElectroThermo project aims to change that with an ambitious plan to fill in gaps, clear up misunderstandings in electrolyte thermodynamics and forge a clear and well-defined path forward for electrolyte solutions.


The project’s overall target is to arrive at a fundamental understanding of electrolyte thermodynamics and thus enable the engineering of a new generation of useful, physically sound models for electrolyte solutions. These models should be general and applicable to a very wide range of conditions so that they can be potentially used for a wide range of applications.
Electrolyte solutions are present almost anywhere and find numerous applications in physical sciences including chemistry, geology, material science, medicine, biochemistry and physiology as well as in many engineering fields especially chemical & biochemical, electrical and petroleum engineering. In all these applications the thermodynamics plays a crucial role over wide ranges of temperature, pressure and composition. As the subject is important, a relatively large body of knowledge has been accumulated with lots of data and models. However, disappointingly the state-of-the art thermodynamic models used today in engineering practice are semi-empirical and require numerous experimental data. They lack generality and have not enhanced our understanding of electrolyte thermodynamics. Going beyond the current state of the art, we will create the scientific foundation for studying, at their extremes, both “primitive” and “non-primitive” approaches for electrolyte solutions and identify strengths and limitations. The project is based on the PI’s many years of experience in thermodynamics. The ambition is to make new advances to clarify major questions and misunderstandings in electrolyte thermodynamics, some remaining for over 100 years, which currently prevent real progress from being made, and create a new paradigm which will ultimately pave the way for the development of new engineering models for electrolyte solutions. This is a risky, ambitious and crucial task, but a successful completion will have significant benefits in many industrial sectors as well as in environmental studies and biotechnology.

Host institution

Net EU contribution
€ 2 500 000,00
2800 Kongens Lyngby

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Danmark Hovedstaden Københavns omegn
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 2 500 000,00

Beneficiaries (1)