Our Partners

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horizon 2020 partners

ABC-Salt’s project co-ordinator is The University of Groningen (RUG). Founded in 1614, it is one of the oldest universities in the Netherlands as well as one of the largest. Since its inception more than 100,000 students have graduated. The RUG has nine faculties, 27 research centres and institutes, and more than 175 degree programmes. The research group of Heeres, the partner in this consortium, is embedded in the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences and is a member of the ENTEG institute. The research group is active in the development of novel catalytic chemistry and reactor concepts for catalytic processes with a strong emphasis on the conversion of (lignocellulosic) biomass to energy, biofuels and biobased (performance) chemicals. The scientific members of the group have diverse backgrounds ranging from catalytic reaction engineering, heterogeneous catalysis, and micro reactor technology. In addition, advanced analytical tools for characterisation of complex bioliquids have been developed. 



Prof. Dr. ir. H.J. Heeres (Erik)

Project Coordinator  


H.J. (Erik) Heeres carried out his Ph.D. research at the University of Groningen on the development of novel homogeneous lanthanide catalysts for the conversion of unsaturated hydrocarbons and graduated in 1990. Heeres joined the chemical engineering department of the University of Groningen in 1999 as an assistant professor. In 2003 he was appointed here as a full professor in green chemical reaction engineering. 

His research interests concern the development of efficient catalytic technology for acid- and metal-based catalytic biomass conversions, with an emphasis on biofuels (catalytic pyrolysis, pyrolysis oil upgrading), platform chemicals (levulinic acid, hydroxymethylfurfural) and performance materials from biomass (starch modifications). The group is actively involved in national and international consortia. Heeres (h-index: 49, WOS) is the (co-) author of more than 200 papers in international peer reviewed journals and 12 patents in the field of (applied) catalysis and chemical reaction engineering. Heeres is a member of the Koninklijke Hollandsche Maatschappij der Wetenschappen and an associate editor of the journal Fuel Processing Technology.


Dr. Ir. Jos G. M. Winkelman

Senior Scientist


Jos Winkelman carried out his PhD research at the University of Groningen on the industrial manufacturing of formaldehyde. Since 1991 he has been working as a chemical technology consultant with both public sector authorities and with the private sector. At the same time he also held functions at the Office of the University and at the Department of Chemical Engineering, being involved in the development and implementation as well as the management and execution of research projects on a wide range of chemical technology topics. He lectures engineering courses at the University of Groningen. Since 2018 he is involved full time with the Department of Chemical Engineering. 


Balaji Sridharan

PhD Student


Balaji Sridharan graduated from the Technical University of Delft in 2017 with a master of science in Energy and Process Technology (EPT).

As a part of his master thesis, he focussed on a modeling based study on the integration of indirect biomass gasification and methanol production. 

Bala joined the ABC-Salt project as a PhD student at the university of Groningen under the supervision of Prof. Dr. ir. H.J. Heeres in September 2018. 

His research will be mainly focussed on the activities of WP4 and WP6. 


Aston University is a research-led university with a well-established history, renowned for its world class teaching quality and strong links to industry, government and commerce. Located in Birmingham, UK, Aston University focuses on high quality, exploitable research that has the potential to have a positive impact on the real world around us.

The Energy and Bioproducts Research Institute (EBRI) is part of Aston University’s School of Engineering and Applied Science, and has a world-leading academic and research team working on bioenergy research and technology development. This research excellence is combined with a professional team in place to ensure bioenergy opportunities can be realised by business, industry, organisations and local authorities.

EBRI acts as a focus for worldwide activities on scientific and technological aspects of biomass production, conversion and utilisation of products for renewable power, heat, transport fuels, hydrogen and chemicals. It works to extract the maximum value from all types of biomass, including waste resources. EBRI’s team of internationally-renowned researchers focuses on methods of generating energy, fuels and chemicals from biomass, wastes and residues, with a strong focus on all pyrolysis technologies, including feedstock pre-treatment and characterisation and well as catalytic upgrading of pyrolysis liquids.

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Prof. Tony Bridgwater

Senior Scientific Advisor


Professor Tony Bridgwater is a Professor of Chemical Engineering at Aston University in Birmingham, specialising in thermal conversion of biomass for production of fuels and chemicals. He obtained his first degree in Chemical Engineering from UMIST followed by several years working for BP in Sunbury.  Most of his professional career has been spent at Aston University where he leads the European Bioenergy Research Institute (EBRI) and Bioenergy Research Group within EBRI. Tony’s current interests are focused on the development of fast pyrolysis of biomass and the fuel and chemical products that can be derived from the liquids.  He plays a key role in several major EC funded projects focusing on bioenergy, biofuels and biorefineries. Tony has been actively involved in bioenergy for over 25 years and have published extensively


Dr Daniel J. Nowakowski

Work Package 7 Leader


Dr Daniel Nowakowski (PhD, MSc, Eng., MIChemE; Lecturer in Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry)  joined Aston University in 2007. He is an expert in variety of research areas including: analytical pyrolysis, hydrothermal liquefaction, thermochemical and physical properties of biomass and natural polymers as well as characterisation of inorganic matter in biomass and bio-chars. His current research activities at EBRI are mainly associated with hydrothermal liquefaction of algal biomass and catalytic upgrading of pyrolysis liquids. Dr Nowakowski is a WP7 leader and coordinates all research tasks assigned to Aston University within the ABC-Salt consortium.

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Miss Regina Siu

PhD Research Student


Regina Siu graduated from Aston University in 2018 with an honours degree in Chemical Engineering. During her Masters project, she studied thermal liquefaction of algal feedstock for the production of biofuels and value-added chemicals. During her industrial placement year at Aston University, Regina spent one year (2015-2016) with BTG Bioliquids B.V. (Enschede, the Netherlands). In October 2018 Regina joined the ABC-Salt consortium as a PhD research student under the supervision of Dr Daniel Nowakowski and Prof. Tony Bridgwater. Her research work will address tasks assigned to Aston in WP3 and WP4.

Alanna Boden

Alanna Boden

European Project Manager


Alanna Boden joined the Energy and Biofuel Research Institute at Aston University in January 2019;  after completing a Post Graduate Certification in Project Management from the University of Melbourne. As the Research Project Manager for a number of Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Projects, Alanna combines her expertise in communication and BA (Hons) in Psychology to successfully manage the Promotion, Dissemination and Exploitation of ABC-Salt’s progress, results and outreach programmes. 

Biomass Technology Group BV (BTG) is a private company (SME) of consultants, researchers and engineers specialised in the sustainable energy production from biomass and waste. The company has a staff of some 30 people. Started in 1979 as specialists on R&D, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of gasifiers systems, BTG‘s expertise covers a broad variety of thermal bioenergy conversion technologies (pyrolysis, hydro-treating, gasification, supercritical gasification, torrefaction, combustion, liquefaction, carbonisation).  They have extensive experience and a strong involvement in European bio-energy research, demonstration and development (RD&D) programs, in particular related to biomass pyrolysis, oil hydrogenation and gasification. The BTG lab is well suited to undertake all necessary activities pertaining biomass vapours and bio-based liquid hydro-deoxygenation, process integration and lab scale pilot plant operation.

Dr Robbie Venderbosch

Work Package 5 Leader


Robbie Venderbosch (M), PhD, senior R&D process engineer, is an expert in thermal biomass conversion technologies. He studied chemical engineering at TU Delft and received his PhD at the University of Twente. Venderbosch has expertise and responsibilities in the field of engineering and implementation of fluidized bed system coupled with chemical reactions, bioenergy processes (from concept to detailed design), construction and operation of lab/pilot/demo set-ups, electrochemical conversion processes and process instrumentation/control (both software and hardware). 

Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) is a research oriented university with 5200 students and 1700 staff educating mainly MSc and PhD candidates. The Faculty of Science and Technology employs around 200 permanent research staff and has around 1200 registered students. The research group for renewable energy technology spans activities such as biogas, solar energy, and molten salt technology.

This research group at NMBU operates a dedicated laboratory for molten salt research. Their experience in molten salt technology is well documented through a series of peer reviewed publications, projects sponsored by the research council of Norway and education of successful PhD candidates.


Heidi S. Nygård

Associate Prof. Dr Heidi Nygard

Work Package 3 leader & Researcher


Heidi S. Nygård completed her PhD within thermochemical conversion of biomass in molten salts at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) in 2014. With this experience, she provided valuable insights towards the building of the ABC-Salt project. After the PhD period, she worked as a post doctoral researcher within CO2 capture in molten salts, before she started as associate professor within energy physics at NMBU in 2018. She is involved in lecturing courses on thermodynamics, energy physics and molten salt technology. The main research activities lie within molten salt technology, with focus on biomass conversion and CO2 capture. In ABC-Salt, she is working as a researcher and lead WP3.

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Prof. Espen Olsen



Espen Olsen, MSc, PhD, Professor of physics, at NMBU from 2008 in the fields of photovoltaics and molten salt technologies. 28 published articles in refereed journals, amongst which 16 specifically on molten salt technology. Previous position: Senior Scientist at SINTEF (1995-2008). He is trained as project manager with experience in managing projects of up to 3M€.

Sepideh Niazi

Sepideh Niazi 

PhD Student


Sepideh Niazi carried out her master education in energy and environmental technology in 2018 and she has worked as a research assistant in bioenergy at USN in Norway for one year. Sepideh joined ABC-Salt project in February 2019 as PhD. research student at NMBU under supervision of Associate prof. Heidi Nygård and Prof. Espen Olsen. In ABC-Salt, She will be researching mostly on WP3.

Thermochemical Conversion of Biomass (TCCB) research group is a relatively young research unit formed in 2008 at Ghent University. Research is centered on the development and optimization of thermochemical conversion technologies to renewable fuels, chemicals and energy from biomass. Regarding the thermochemical conversion technologies, research is devoted to fast pyrolysis, catalytic fast pyrolysis and hydropyrolysis for the production of liquid biofuels and chemical intermediates, to slow pyrolysis for the production of biochar and to torrefaction as a biomass pretreatment unit operation. 

Other technologies of interest include hydrothermal conversion technologies, torrefaction, gasification and post-conversion treatment of bio-oil, which includes upgrading and fractionation. The TCCB research group is also part of the UGent MRP (multidisciplinary research platform) ‘Biotechnology for a sustainable economy’ and plays a key role in studying production technologies of biochar out of agricultural and biorefinery residues.


Prof. Frederik Ronsse

Work Package 4 Leader


Prof. dr. Frederik Ronsse is the leader of the Thermochemical Conversion of Biomass research group at the Department of Green Chemistry and Technology (Ghent University). He is responsible for managing a team with expertise in developing and optimizing biomass thermochemical conversion processes, which include fast and slow pyrolysis, gasification, torrefaction and hydrothermal liquefaction. His research field also concerns process engineering with respect to multiphase flow analysis, including fluidisation, technology of granular matter and powders, study of heat and mass transfer. Additionally, modelling techniques including Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) and Population Balance Modelling (PBM) using Monte Carlo solving techniques.


Prof. Wolter Prins

Senior Scientific Advisor for Work Package 4 


Prof. dr. ir. Wolter Prins is currently professor emeritus at the Department of Green Chemistry and Technology of Ghent University, where he established the Thermochemical Conversion of Biomass research group in 2008. Wolter Prins received his Master’s degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Groningen and his doctoral degree from the University of Twente in Enschede, the Netherlands. Since 1992, he has combined his work at the University with a position as head of R&D in BTG Biomass Technology Group BV in Enschede. He has published around a hundred papers in the area of novel gas-solid reactors, heat and mass transfer in fluidized beds, and thermochemical conversion of biomass. He participated in the European Network for Pyrolysis (Pyne) for many years, and was invited by NEDO and the Chinese Academy of Sciences to present his work in Japan and China respectively.

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Adriana Estrada

PhD student


Adriana Estrada obtained a master in science in Environmental Sanitation granted by Ghent University in 2018. During her master project she focused on thermochemical processes for valorization of Ecuadorian organic waste streams. Adriana joined ABC-Salt project on October 2018 as a PhD research student. Her research will be mainly focused on WP4 activities under the supervision of Prof. Frederik Ronsse and Prof. Wolter Prins from the Thermochemical Conversion of Biomass research group.

DLR is the national aeronautics and space research center of the Federal Republic of Germany. Its extensive research and development work in aeronautics, space, energy, transport and security is integrated into national and international cooperative ventures. 

Research efforts of the Institute of Engineering Thermodynamics (DLR-TT) with its 175 staff members are focused on efficient energy conversion and storage with low environmental impact, and on the improvement and acceleration of the use of renewable energy sources. The scientific spectrum includes electrochemical, thermochemical and thermal energy technologies covering the full range from functional materials, development and design of components to system integration.


Dr.-Ing. Ralph-Uwe Dietrich

Techno-Economic Evaluation & LCA Tasks Leader


Dr.-Ing. Ralph-Uwe Dietrich leads the research area Alternative Fuels at the Institute of Engineering Thermodynamics at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) in Stuttgart. He is responsible for the research group on techno economic and ecologic evaluation of alternative fuels for aviation and global transport.  Uwe received his PhD in Engineering at the Technical University Clausthal in 2013 as a Scientific coworker at the Clausthaler Umwelttechnik Institute (CUTEC-Institut GmbH). Before that, he got 15 years of project manager experience at different enterprises (SME and Fortune 500) of the process and automation industry.

Julia Weyand

Julia Weyand 

Phd Student


Julia Weyand is a PhD student at the Institute of Engineering Thermodynamics of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) in Stuttgart. Her field of research is the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of alternative fuel production pathways. She joined the ABC-Salt project in July 2019 and will perform the LCA of the proposed process concept. Julia graduated from RWTH Aachen University in environmental and process engineering in 2019.


Dipl. Ing. Sandra Adelung



Sandra Adelung is a research associate in the group Alternative Fuels at the Institute of Engineering Thermodynamics at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) in Stuttgart. Her work focuses on syngas production via reverse water-gas shift reaction and techno-economic assessment of alternative fuels production routes for aviation and global transport. She studied process engineering at the University of Stuttgart and graduated in 2015.


RISE is Sweden’s research institute and innovation partner. Through our international collaboration programmes with industry, academia and the public sector, we ensure the competitiveness of the Swedish business community on an international level and contribute to a sustainable society. Our 2,800 employees engage in and support all types of innovation processes. RISE is an independent, state-owned research institute, which offers unique expertise and over 100 testbeds and demonstration environments for future-proof technologies, products and services.


Maria Ölmhult

Maria Ölmhult


Maira has a Master of Science in Industrial Engineering and Management from Karlstad University. At RISE she is  one in the team of the Lignin unit. Her workplace is the testbed LignoCity were RISE extract and offer the raw material lignin produced with the LignoBoost process and the capacity of the testbed production is in ton scale. The testbed also has the offer of workplace and labs for startup companies ready to build their pilot or to run smaller tests. A strong network in the bioeconomy region Värmland makes LignoCity a great center for evaluating and scaling up ideas with lignin, there is support for both business development and technical solutions. Maria has the role of project manager and business developer at RISE since 2019 and ABC-Salt is now one of the projects I manage. RISE is involved in WP2, WP3 and WP4

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Dr Marta Bialik


Marta Bialik has been employed as Senior Research Associate at RISE Bioeconomy since 2009. She holds a PhD in Chemical Engineering and has a long experience in chemical modelling of aqueous electrolyte solutions of interest for pulp and paper industry. Her main research focus includes chemistry of non-process elements and inorganic chemistry in modern biorefinery processes. She has also been involved in numerous projects pertaining to process simulation, technoeconomic analysis, sustainability evaluation, and optimization of material and energy use in a pulp mill and other biorefinery concepts.

Jens Wolf

Dr Jens Wolf


Since Jens Wolf obtained his Ph. D. in Energy Processes within Chemical Engineering, he has gained more than 20 years of experience in process simulation and integration, and of technoeconomic evaluations from both power industry and pulp and paper industry. During six years at RISE he has been working with process integration of the biorefinery concept and carbon capture within the pulp and paper industry. Jens Wolf has also been a driving force in model-based performance monitoring in coal-fired power plants, in nuclear power plants, for waste incineration, for cogeneration plants and for a recovery boiler.

Sapienza University of Rome, established in 1303, is today the largest Italian, and most probably European, University with about 120,000 students, 11 Faculties, 63 Departments, and about 8,000 researchers (including professors, researchers, technicians, PhD students). The Inter-University Centre for Research in Environmental Psychology (CIRPA), established in 2005, aims to promote and develop the field of Environmental Psychology across Italy. It does this by networking with all the main Italian Universities with interests in environmental psychological research. These include Rome Sapienza, Padua and Cagliari, and subsequently Roma3, LUMSA and Naples Federico II too.


Prof. Marino Bonaiuto

Task 2.5 Leader


Prof. Dr. Marino Bonaiuto is the Director of CIRPA – the Interuniversity Research Centre in Environmental Psychology – as well as the President of the Master in Psychology of Communication and Marketing, at Sapienza Università di Roma, Rome, Italy. His interests in environmental psychology focus on both how environmental features affect people, and viceversa how people’s behaviour impacts the environment. These topics cover issues regarding both mitigation and adaptation within people-environment dynamics. He received his PhD in Social and developmental psychology at Sapienza Università di Roma; Marino then worked at the University of Surrey (Guildford, UK) and he then came back to Sapienza Università di Roma where he has spent most of his academic career. 

Additionally, he worked as a consultant for companies (National SME and Multinational groups), as well as within projects for local, regional, national or supranational Institutions (e.g., in several EC projects), on topics dealing with HR, communication, environment and sustainability. Since 2018, he has been awarded the status of IAAP (International Association of Applied Psychology) Fellow for Environmental Psychology. Within the EC H2020 project ABC-Salt, he coordinates activities for Task 2.5 (socio-economic evaluation on the acceptance of biomass conversion in molten salts).


Ms. Federica Dessi 

Task 2.5 Collaborator 


Ms. Federica Dessi holds a Masters degree in Psychology of Communication and Marketing from Sapienza University of Rome. She is currently a PhD student at the Department of Psychology of Development and Socialization Processes, Sapienza University of Rome (Italy). She investigates sustainable behaviours relating to the social acceptance of sustainable technologies. She collaborates at CIRPA – the Interuniversity Research Center in Environmental Psychology under the supervision of Prof. Marino Bonaiuto. 

She is involved in activities connected to the EC H2020 project ABC-Salt, specifically for Task 2.5 (socio-economic evaluation on the acceptance of biomass conversion in molten salts), where she works on stakeholders mapping and contacting.

Dr Oriana Mosca Profile

Dr Oriana Mosca

Task 2.5 Collaborator 


Dr. Oriana Mosca received her Master Degree in Clinical and Dynamic Psychology for the person, the organization and the community at Sapienza University of Rome, before obtaining her PhD in Social Psychology in the same University. She is currently junior researcher in Social Psychology at the Department of Education, Psychology, Philosophy, University of Cagliari. Her research focuses on social and environmental psychology, particularly on psycho-sociological determinants (e.g. place attachment, perception of environmental resources) of different sustainable behaviors (e.g. travel, energy and consumption behaviors). She is experienced in different methods for qualitative and quantitative data gathering and analyses. She collaborates at CIRPA – the Interuniversity Research Center in Environmental Psychology under the supervision of Prof. Marino Bonaiuto. She is involved in activities related to the EC H2020 project ABC-Salt, specifically for Task 2.5 (socio-economic evaluation on the acceptance of biomass conversion in molten salts), where she works on stakeholders’ data analyses.

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Prof. Ferdinando Fornara

Task 2.5 Collaborator 


Ferdinando Fornara, PhD, is professor in social and environmental psychology at the University of Cagliari (Italy), Department of Education, Psychology, Philosophy. He is Scientific Director of CIRPA (Inter-University Research Center in Environmental Psychology), Associate Editor of Frontiers in Psychology (Environmental Psychology section), and Editorial Board Member of “Journal of Environmental Psychology” and “Sustainability”. He is also member of the IAPS (International Association for People-environment Studies) Board and of the of the IAAP (International Association of Applied Psychology) Board-at-large. He has coordinated or participated to peer-reviewed projects funded by EC, national and local public institutions. His research interests include perceived quality of places, psychometric tools measuring lay evaluation of design attributes, and socio-psychological antecedents of sustainable behaviours. He is involved in the EC H2020 project ABC-Salt for Task 2.5 (socio-economic evaluation on the acceptance of biomass conversion in molten salts), where he works on stakeholders’ data analyses.

Silvia Ariccio photo

Dr. Silvia Ariccio

Task 2.5 Collaborator 


Dr. Silvia Ariccio received her Master degree in Environmental and Social Psychology at the University of Nîmes (France), before obtaining her PhD at Sapienza University of Rome, where she is currently a junior researcher in the Department of Psychology of Development and Socialization Processes. Her research focuses on social and environmental psychology and particularly on how people relate to the environment in different sustainability relevant situations (pro-environmental behaviors, energy and consumption behaviours, environmental risk perception and coping). She is experienced in different methods for qualitative and quantitative data gathering and analyses. 

She collaborates at CIRPA – the Interuniversity Research Center in Environmental Psychology under the supervision of Prof. Marino Bonaiuto. She is involved in activities related to the EC H2020 project ABC-Salt, specifically for Task 2.5 (socio-economic evaluation on the acceptance of biomass conversion in molten salts), where she works on stakeholders’ data analyses and survey.

Benkei assists its clients, both public and private, in the definition, implementation and evaluation of their innovation strategy. We support every client involved in innovation, technological or not: those who innovate as well as those who help innovators and wish to develop original approaches.

Benkei favours co-development approaches and long-lasting collaborations, through missions specifically designed for our clients.

Our business model is based on a complete offer, from innovation strategy definition to development strategy, through formations, ideas generation, project engineering, market studies and going from a project to a product/service.

Benkei is a member and administrator of the French Association of Innovation Consultants, the main representative association of this sector in France. Benkei is also active in working groups; focusing on Collaborative Innovation, Marketing and Innovation Strategy.

Benkei is also a founding member of the EAIC, the European Association of Innovation Consultants.

We offer a range of consultancy and advisory services, covering procurement and supply chain, operational efficiency, R&D tax credits, innovation grant funding, VAT and working capital.

Fabienne Brutin

Fabienne Brutin


Project Manager Officer

Fabienne Brutin is head of Operations of Grants department within international consultancy company, Ayming. Fabienne Brutin has been managing department dedicated to the engineering and coordination of R&D funded projects for 10 years. As chemistry engineer, Fabienne started her career at RHODIA/SOLVAY in the Environment/Process engineering Department. After 20 years spent in the engineering consulting and project management, her fields of expertise are wide: design of projects’ strategic outline and consortium build-up (proposal set-up and submission to funding bodies, consortium management, project structuring, proposal writing) and management of collaborative, technical, administrative, contractual and financial aspects, development of strategic activities linked to Innovation (knowledge protection and valorization, networking, dissemination, communication and standardization). Fabienne Brutin is PMP® (Project Management Professional) certified project manager.


Laurence Naiglin



Laurence Naiglin holds a PhD in Molecular Biology and Human Genetics and a Master’s Degree in Scientific and Technical Communication. She has +15 years of experience in the field of scientific Research. She started her career as a Researcher in academic labs and a startup company (Entomed SA). She then worked at the interface between public laboratories and private companies as Communication and Marketing Manager in the Technological Transfer Office of University of Lyon. Following this experience, she took the position of Project Manager of a research collaborative project called “Laboratory of excellence” (ECOFECT) where she provided support to the coordinators and the consortium of 36 teams for 4 years. She then joined LYSARC (The Lymphoma Academic Research Organization) and the CALYM Carnot Institute as Communication Manager in the clinical research field. She joined Ayming in September 2019 as a Senior Consultant within the Funding and Innovation Performance Business Line, Grant and Partnership Department and has since relocated to Benkei along with Fabienne Brutin. Laurence will provide support to the ABC-Salt Project Coordinator, Consortium and WP8 Project Management activities

This project has received funding
 from the European Union’s Horizon
2020’s research and innovation
programme under grant agreement
number 764089

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General enquiries – abc-salt@aston.ac.uk