Transfer and sustainability

The development and research of sustainable technologies and materials is the focus of many working groups and topics at CENIDE. Promoting transfer and sustainability therefore plays a crucial role. Some projects also explicitly aim at disseminating scientific methods and values. Below are some examples of spin-offs, patents, sustainable technologies, etc.

The innovation produced by the two physicists Dr. Nicolas Wöhrl and Sebastian Tigges is already ready for the market. They have applied for a patent for a process that produces highly active and long-term stable catalyst material in a single step.

Chemist Prof. Sebastian Schlücker won one of the sponsorship prizes in the small business management (sbm) start-up competition organised by the University of Duisburg-Essen for his project “NanoWorkshops”. The NanoWorkshops provide specially developed experiments and learning materials to primary schools for early STEM promotion.

The start-up company HSWmaterials GmbH was founded by Dr.-Ing. Sebastian Hardt in 2017 as a spin-off of the NanoEnergieTechnikZentrum (NETZ). Within it he produces “large numbers of one-offs” – nanoparticles tailored to customer requirements – or designs the systems for their production himself. In 2018, Hardt was awarded both the Start-Up Prize of the Krefeld Economic Development Agency and the Kevelaer Marketing Prize.

The “DruIDe” project by professors of engineering Niels Benson, Thomas Kaiser, Roland Schmechel and Daniel Erni resulted in two start-ups and a new technology. Chip-less radio labels made of nanosilicon, which they obtain from NETZ and the Institute for Energy and Environmental Technology (IUTA), can be printed directly and processed by laser to form an electronic circuit. An individually readable barcode is no longer needed.

The working group of Prof. Jochen Gutmann and the German Textile Research Centre North-West jointly developed a textile that enables precious metals to be filtered out of solutions and recycled. In 2018, the state of North Rhine-Westphalia honoured this special cooperation with the annual NRW Efficiency Prize. Julia Frohleiks from the Chair of Electronic Materials and Nanostructures is also successfully researching sustainable technologies. She has developed luminaires made of semiconductor quantum dots and light-emitting electrochemical cells (LECs) that are particularly suitable for everyday use, and for this has been awarded, among other prizes, the Photonics Poster Prize 2018 of the American Chemical Society (ACS). The project entitled “nanoGRAVUR – Nanostructured Materials – Grouping with Regard to Occupational Safety, Consumer and Environmental Protection and Risk Minimization”, completed in June 2018, focused on sustainability of a different kind. Here, criteria catalogues have been developed to assess and group nanomaterials with regard to exposure, hazard and risk potential.

Contact with industry, on the other hand, is the core theme of the 5th and 6th RuhrSymposium together with the CAR Institute: CEOs of large companies and experts from science meet to exchange views on annually changing aspects of functional materials.

The focus of the Nano Student Laboratory, co-organized by CENIDE, is on young people. In it, schoolchildren come into contact with nanotechnological methods and experiments for the first time. In this way CENIDE attracts young people to the MINT subjects, and is pursuing this aim further with the “NanoEngineering” bachelor’s/master’s degree course. The biennial WissensNachtRuhr on the other hand, in which NETZ has participated very successfully from the outset and which sees it open its laboratory doors to interested parties, is open to all age groups.

And finally, a transfer of a completely different kind: For an exhibition in the Ruhr area, the well-known photographer and jazz trumpeter Till Brönner photographed the NETZ laboratories, equipment and researchers. The photos were on display from July to October 2019 at the Küppersmühle Museum in Duisburg as part of the “Melting Pott” exhibition.