NICKEFFECT aims to develop novel ferromagnetic Ni-based coating materials to replace the scarce and costly Platinum and ensure high efficiency in key applications.

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Project Overview

NICKEFFECT in a Nutshell

NICKEFFECT, a new project co-funded by the European Commission’s Horizon Europe programme, aims to develop novel ferromagnetic Ni-based coating materials to replace the scarce and costly Platinum and ensure high efficiency in key applications.  


Running from June 2022 until June 2026, the NICKEFFECT project is led by a consortium that is a multidisciplinary team comprised of 12 partners from 7 different EU and HEU-associated countries (Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Spain, and the United Kingdom). It covers stakeholders of the whole project value chain: scientific and technology developers, technology providers, end-users, as well as transversal partners.

Project Partners


The NICKEFFECT project addresses the critical demand for Platinum Group Metals (PGMs) in strategic sectors such as renewable energy, electric mobility, and digital technologies. PGMs, crucial for various applications, are currently expensive and heavily reliant on imports to Europe, posing a risk to key industrial sectors. The European Commission categorizes PGMs as critical raw materials (CRM), emphasizing the need for alternative solutions to secure the EU economy.


In response to this challenge, the NICKEFFECT project focuses on replacing PGMs with nickel (Ni), an abundantly available element with ferromagnetic properties. The project identifies key applications, including electrolysers, electrodes, fuel cells catalysts, and magneto-electronic devices, where nickel could serve as a viable alternative.


To optimize the catalytic performance of nickel, the project aims to develop innovative deposition techniques for coatings with ordered and pseudo-ordered porosity. The increased surface-to-volume ratio resulting from enhanced porosity is expected to boost catalytic performance or enable the converse magnetoelectric effect (CME) in electronic devices.

NICKEFFECT’s objectives include the development and validation of at least three new materials, along with coating methodologies. The project also emphasizes the creation of decision support tools for materials selection, integrating safe and sustainable by design (SSbD) criteria and materials modeling. Process modeling will be integral to this effort.

The NICKEFFECT project brings together a consortium of twelve partners with diverse and complementary expertise, covering specialized skills, capabilities, and certifications required for the project’s successful execution. This collaborative effort aims to contribute to the EU’s strategic goals by addressing the challenges associated with the dependence on costly and imported PGMs in critical industrial sectors.

Project Pillars

Focused on leveraging the unique properties of nickel (Ni) through innovative deposition techniques to enhance catalytic performance

Resilient Raw
Materials Value Chains
Aims to promote resilient EU raw materials value chains by reducing dependence on critical raw materials like Pt

Sustainable Design
Emphasizes safe and sustainable
-by-design criteria in materials development and manufacturing processes.

Project Goals and Objectives

Synthesise ferromagnetic coating materials to replace Platinum as raw material;

Develop measures to ensure that the materials are affordable, durable and with increased corrosion resistance for the different working environments;

Successfully upscale production process in pilot plant to coat real scale components;

Ensure a safe and sustainable by-design approach and define pathways for the recovery, recyclability, purification and re-use of materials at the end of the products life;

Develop a decision support tool to facilitate the adoption of the safe and sustainable criteria when designing and producing metallic coatings free of PGMs;


Catalytic materials for water electrolysis.

Catalytic materials for fuel cells.

Coating materials for low power consumption digital storage devices.

Expected Results

Development of PGM-free Ni-based coatings with enhanced catalytic activity.

Successful validation in industrially relevant environments for 3 use cases.

Recovery and reuse of 90% of the deposited nickel-based catalyst.

Key Users

European industries involved in water electrolysis, fuel cell technology, and digital storage devices.

Researchers and scientists in the field of materials science and catalysis.

Industries seeking alternatives to critical raw materials.

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