AS to coordinate two large new public private research programmes

News - 08 November 2018 - Communication TNW

NWO (The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research) has announced the new research programmes that will be part of its ‘Perspective for Top Sectors' funding programme. Six public-private programmes will receive a total of 28 million euros. This amount consists of NWO funding (19 million), plus investments by the companies and organisations involved (9 million). Applied Sciences is involved in three programmes and will act as the coordinator of two of these programmes.

The projects in which AS is involved are about making chemicals and fuels with sustainably generated electricity (coordinator: Bernard Dam, Chemical Engineering), achieving higher resolution and sensitivity in optical devices (coordinator: Paul Urbach, Imaging Physics) and better diagnoses of dangerous vascular problems using a new ultrasound technique. Nico de Jong and Martin Verweij (Imaging Physics), together with Michiel Pertijs (EWI), are part of this programme.

Watch the video for an overview or read on for a detailed explanation about these projects:  

NWO en bedrijfsleven investeren 28 miljoen euro in zes nieuwe Perspectief-programma's

Making chemicals and fuels with sustainable power
Electrons to Chemical Bonds (E2CB)

Project leader Prof. Bernard Dam (Faculty of Applied Sciences, TU Delft) is joining forces with the Faculty of 3mE and colleagues from five other Dutch universities to conduct research into the efficient and upscalable production of fuels and basic chemicals (e.g. ammonia) using sustainably generated electricity.

Producing fuels and chemicals sustainably will require large-scale electro-chemical synthesis methods. This project aims to lay the foundations for this large-scale conversion technology. The consortium will research various electro-conversion processes and products, with the choice being partly driven by the industrial partners in this project.

The aim is that the research programme will contribute to transforming Dutch industry which is responsible for one third of all Dutch CO2 emissions. It will prove particularly useful for the chemicals industry, which hopes to achieve a 90% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050.

Electro-conversion provides a ‘green’ production method for liquid transport fuels, for example, while also offering a way of storing electricity, something that can help offset fluctuations in the power supply.

The programme links in with the research of the e-Refinery consortium, an initiative covering the whole of TU Delft, in which four faculties (Applied Sciences, 3mE, EEMCS & TPM) are joining forces in the electrification of chemistry and energy. The researchers involved in this collaborative partnership will focus on the switch from fossil fuels to renewable raw materials and electricity.

Programme leader: Prof. dr. B. Dam (TU Delft)
Participants: Avebe, Brightlands, Hyet, Nuon, Proton Ventures, Groningen University, Shell, Smartport, Tata Steel, TU Delft, TU Eindhoven, TNO, Leiden University, Twente University, Wageningen University & Research, Yara

More insight from light
Synoptic Optics (SYNOPTICS)

A dramatic increase in the resolution and sensitivity of instruments has long been the holy grail of optics. Higher resolution and sensitivity will among other things make it possible to detect very small particles in high-tech manufacturing processes and enable 3D imaging of minor manufacturing faults in the semiconductor industry. Improvements in this field are also important in food safety and for monitoring air pollution caused by tiny particles and gases, both from the earth and from satellites.

Traditionally, only one or two properties of light are often measured, for example the intensity (amplitude) and polarisation.The SYNOPTICS Consortium intends to make use of all of light’s properties: amplitude, phase, polarisation and several wavelengths, in order to collect more and better information. A focus of the SYNOPTICS research will therefore involve realising a new optical source based on 'dual-frequency combs'. These frequency combs consists of several thousand lasers and can enable the parallel (and therefore very rapid) measurement of amplitude, phase and polarisation of thousands of wavelengths in all pixels of the detector. In order to filter out the essential information from the large data streams that this project will produce, the consortium intends to apply compressed sensing combined with smart algorithms based on artificial intelligence and neural networks.

The Dutch Optics Centre (DOC) played an important role in bringing about this consortium. DOC is an initiative of three of TU Delft’s faculties (Applied Sciences, 3mE and Aerospace Engineering) and TNO that aims to encourage research & development in optics and the valorisation of optics research in the Netherlands.

Programme leader: Prof. dr. H.P. Urbach (TU Delft)
Participants: Airbus, Bronkhorst, Cosine, Demcon, Grass Valley, Holoeye, Holst Centre, KNMI, Lionix, MenloSystems, Nexperia, Radboud University, Settels Savenije, Sioux, TU Delft, TU Eindhoven, TNO, Leiden University, Twente University, Utrecht University, VDL, VSL

Improved diagnosis of dangerous vascular problems using new ultrasound technology
Ultrafast Ultrasound Imaging for Extended Diagnosis and Treatment of Vascular Disease (ULTRA-X-TREME)

Vascular problems can be life-threatening. Cerebral infarctions (strokes) are often caused by calcification of the carotid artery and ruptures in the abdominal artery (aortic aneurysms) as a result of a weakening of the arterial wall. Currently, doctors determine the likelihood of both problems simply by measuring the diameter of these arteries. However, this has proved to have only limited predictive value, which means more people than necessary undergo life-threatening treatments and dangerous cases are overlooked.

This programme will develop new, highly accurate ultrasound techniques to enable 3D imaging of the arterial walls and blood flow. New sensors, contrast media and analysis techniques will be developed in order to determine much more effectively whether treatment is necessary.

Within this project Nico de Jong will work together with Martin Verweij and Michiel Pertijs on the development of a unique matrix transducer (with more than 20,000 elements and integrated electronics) for making 3D echo images with a high volume frame rate. In Delft, methods are also being developed to measure non-invasive pressure, for example in the heart or in tumours, using this transducer and 'monodisperse contrast bubbles', which are yet to be developed. These are microscopically small gas bubbles that can be injected into a patient. The bubbles all have the exact same size and reflect ultrasound in the same manner.

The Ultra-X-treme consortium brings together the best Dutch research groups in the field of ultrasound technology and the biomechanics of blood vessels with hospitals and international industry.

Programme leader: Prof. dr. ir. C.L. de Korte (Radboudumc and Twente University)
Participants: ANSYS, Bracco Suisse S.A., Catharina hospital, Erasmus MC, Harteraad, Mindray, Nederlandse Vereniging voor Vaatchirurgie (NVVV), Philips Electronics Nederland, Pie Medical Imaging, Radboudumc, Rijnstate hospital, TU Delft, TU Eindhoven, TOMTEC Imaging Systems, Twente University, Vermon S.A., Verasonics