TU Delft in five major new public-private research programmes
The NWO (Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research) has announced the new research programmes that will be part of its ‘Perspective for Top Sectors' funding programme which has a budget of 28 million euros. These research programmes will involve scientists working with businesses and civil-society organisations on new lines of research that transcend the boundaries of scientific disciplines. TU Delft is involved in five of the six programmes which have been approved.
Project name: E2CB
Programme leader: Prof. B. Dam (TU Delft)
Participants: Avebe, Brightlands, Hyet, Nuon, Proton Ventures, University of Groningen, Shell, Smartport, Tata Steel, Delft University of Technology (TU Delft), Eindhoven University of Technology (TU Eindhoven), TNO, Leiden University, University of Twente, Wageningen University & Research, Yara
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.
Project name: SYNOPTIC OPTICS (SYNOPTICS)
Programme leader: Prof. H.P. Urbach (TU Delft)
Participants: Airbus, Bronkhorst, Cosine, Demcon, Grass Valley, Holoeye, Holst Centre, Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI), Lionix, MenloSystems, Nexperia, Radboud University, Settels Savenije, Sioux, TU Delft, TU Eindhoven, TNO, Leiden University, University of Twente, Utrecht University, VDL, VSL
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.
Project name: Ultrafast Ultrasound Imaging for Extended Diagnosis and Treatment of Vascular Disease (ULTRA-X-TREME)
Programme leader: Prof. C.L. de Korte (Radboud University Medical Centre and University of Twente)
Participants: ANSYS, Bracco Suisse S.A., Catharina Hospital, Erasmus Medical Centre, Harteraad, Mindray, Netherlands Vascular Surgery Association (NVVV), Philips Electronics Nederland, Pie Medical Imaging, Radboud University Medical Centre, Rijnstate Hospital, TU Delft, TU Eindhoven, TOMTEC Imaging Systems, University of Twente, Vermon S.A., Verasonics
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.
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.
Project name: Cognitive Robots for Flexible Agro Food Technology (FlexCRAFT)
Programme leader: Prof. E.J. van Henten (Wageningen University & Research)
Participants: ABB, AgriFoodTech Platform, Aris BV, BluePrint Automation, Cellar Land, Cerescon, Demcon, Festo, GMV, Houdijk Holland, Marel Stork Poultry Processing, Maxon Motor, Priva, Protonic Holland, Rijk Zwaan, TU Delft, TU Eindhoven, University of Twente, University of Amsterdam, 3DUniversum, Wageningen University & Research
Food production must be as hygienic, efficient and sustainable as possible. In addition, people are increasingly reluctant to do boring, heavy work in hot greenhouses or refrigerated areas where, for example, chicken products are processed. Robots can provide a solution, but need to be able to deal with significant variations in the shape, size and consistency of various food products. Currently, this remains problematic. The FlexCRAFT programme is developing new robotics technology in order to automatically harvest tomatoes, for instance. It is also hoped that the robotics will assist in processing foodstuffs. Examples include processing and packaging chicken products or neatly packing packets of crisps or biscuits in boxes of different dimensions. Worldwide, the Netherlands is the second-largest exporter of agrofood products and the third largest supplier of technology for the agrofood sector. This programme will help strengthen Dutch competitiveness in the sectors.
Project name: AQUA – Water Quality in Maritime Hydrodynamics
Programme leader: Prof. D. Lohse (University of Twente)
Participants: AkzoNobel, Damen Shipyards Group, IHC A.P. Møller- Maersk, Royal Netherlands Navy, MARIN, Maritime Knowledge Centre, NIOZ, STX-France, TU Delft, TNO, University of Twente, Wärtsilä
Air bubbles in water dampen underwater sound and reduce friction beneath ships, lowering fuel consumption. The behaviour of air bubbles in fresh water is reasonably well-known, but bubbles in salty sea water behave completely differently. In this programme, the researchers will compare air bubbles in different types of water, ranging from fresh water to natural sea water, in order to understand how they can be used to control friction, sound propagation and cavitation. The ultimate aim is to be able to predict how the ‘composition’ of water influences air bubbles.
A full overview of all approved research programmes and more background information about the ‘Perspective for Top Sectors' funding programme can be found on the NWO website