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Brainnovation Day increases dialogue and cooperation with industry

On November 29, 2018, the Interdisciplinary Nanoscience Center (iNANO), together with the Center for Integrated Materials (iMAT), once again invited the industry to Brainnovation Day. This year, the aim was to address the challenges encountered by industry in the degradation and recycling of inorganic materials.

Brainnovation Day 2018 at iNANO. Associate Professor Jørgen Skibsteds presents the next speaker, Christer Forsgren from STENA Metall Group. (Photo: Lise R. L. Pedersen)
Brainnovation Day 2018 at iNANO. Associate Professor Jørgen Skibsted presents the next speaker, Christer Forsgren from STENA Metall Group. (Photo: Lise R. L. Pedersen)

The purpose of inviting industry as well as researchers for Brainnovation Day at iNANO has, ever since the first event was held, been to increase dialogue and collaboration between industry and Aarhus University. Representatives from the companies COWI A/S, Rockwool Group, Haldor Topsøe A/S and Stena Nordic Recycling Center as well as SDU Chemical Engineering and iNANO presented presentations on issues in their specific research and development work. The common denominator of these companies is their work in degradation and recycling of inorganic materials.

While the morning program is reserved for the presentations, the whole afternoon goes for discussion of the issues raised by the participants. "One of the strengths of this concept is that the primary focus is on challenges and problem solving of industrial problems. It is representatives from industry who set the stage in the morning by giving an insight into the challenges they face, "says Professor Kim Daasbjerg.

There was no lack of discussion topics from industry, and the discussions did not wait til after lunch. Cowi highlighted, among other things, the problem of new forms of corrosion occurring on the metal surfaces of the boilers in power plants when coal is replaced with biomass as a fuel. During the combustion of different biofuels, a number of aggressive gases are formed which lead to corrosion and destroy the boilers from the inside.

Rockwool uses various tests on macro, micro and nano scale to investigate e.g. robustness of their products. In addition, their products consist of approx. 1/3 recycled materials. They need to find a collaborator for carrying out analyses at the nanoscale level and for projects addressing increased recycling in their production. 

At the Stena Nordic Recycling Center, many different types of materials are collected, which they reuse or convert into impressive 650,000 tonnes of raw materials each year. A wish for a greater degree of recycling in even more industries was expressed, and lecturer Thomas Ulrich at Department of Geoscience (AU) joined in on this point of view in his presentation. It is foreseen that the world's primary resources of some metals will be exhausted over a few decades if the level consumption continues as present.

"The afternoon discussion exceeded all expectations and was extremely constructive and fruitful. Based on this year's meeting, we expect to establish research collaborations with one to several of the companies that have arrived. There is no doubt that decomposition and recycling of materials is a major societal challenge as there is increasing focus on both industrial and research contexts. We are looking forward to inviting the industry to Brainnovation Day again next year, "said Associate Professor Jørgen Skibsted, when the day was over.

The theme for the next event will be published mid-2019.

See the Brainnovation Day 2018 program via this link.

Contact at iNANO and Department of Chemistry:

Kim Daasbjerg

Email: kdaa@chem.au.dk


Contact at Department of Chemistry:

Jørgen Skibsted

Email: jskib@chem.au.dk


Contact at iNANO:

Rikke Louise Meyer

Email: rikke.meyer@inano.au.dk