Products and projects

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has awarded TU Delft a grant to develop a completely new toilet design. The ideal toilet solution for developing countries is affordable and self-contained (requiring no external connections).
Scientists from the 3ME and IDE faculties believe they have come up with the solution. It uses microwave technologies to convert human excrement into electricity.

First, the excrement is dried. The dried matter is converted into gas using microwave generated plasma gasification in a device specially developed for the purpose. This process produces syngas, which is a mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen. The syngas is used to generate electricity in fixed-oxide fuel cells.

DEMO has supported this project intensively: we adapted and connected fuel cells, purchased components and built custom components where required, installed pipes, electrical power and wiring and, in the end, assembled and connected all the components.

DEMO has made a significant contribution by providing technical support to ChemE - Materials for Energy Conversion. This MECS group focuses on the development of new materials for sustainable energy. The group investigates the relation between synthesis, structures and physical properties in materials. This involves intensively examining and using the properties of nanostructures. In order to generate these nanostructures in production amounts, DEMO has developed a special high-power spark-gap transmitter. This new technology cuts the material of the applied electrodes using a high-energy spark. The plasma created by this action forms an agglomeration of nanoparticles that can be used in various applications right away.
This technology opens the way for a whole new range of applications.

DEMO provides technical support to the Symbitron project. One of the goals of this project is to develop a mobile, powered exoskeleton that will enable paraplegics to walk without external support from a therapist, crutches, etc. Like other people suffering from paraplegia, our “test pilots” have partial or complete loss of motion and feeling in their legs and torso. The extent of these losses varies between individuals and this means that exoskeletons need to be custom-made for each “test pilot”. The individual adaptations are not only of a mechatronic kind; they also require a control system suitable for use by individuals with different needs.

DEMO is involved in the design, manufacturing and testing of the mechanical and electronic components of the exoskeleton.

After functional tests have been carried out, the exoskeleton must be field-tested by the test pilots. This means that it must be reliable and meet strict requirements. During the design stage, various calculations are made and a construction dossier is compiled to support the application submitted to an ethics committee.

More information on the webpage.
The work presented here was supported by the EU within the SYMBITRON project (FP7-ICT-2013-10 contract #611626).

A new small-scale test rig is being designed and constructed in the Railway Engineering Group, TU Delft, in order to perform rolling contact fatigue (RCF) investigations. The new test rig will make it feasible to better identify the performance of rail material in rolling contact situation specially by generating RCF defects in rails. This rig is adopted to simulate running conditions of a reduced-scale wheel over a scaled-size railway track in ring shape and is considered as a representative of the real wheel-rail rolling contact phenomenon. The new test set-up facilitates the continuous testing of wheel and rail materials with and without existing damage in rail while applying the loading condition typical of railway operations. The new rig basically involves multiple wheel components over a flat rail ring, while being powered by means of two electro-motors.

Based on this information DEMO drew up a number of initial designs. The best alternatives from these designs were selected and evaluated, leading to the ultimate design shown below:

A scaled-model of a real rail is bent into a circle with a 4000mm diameter. As in a real railway track,  the rail is fixed to sleepers, resting on gravel ballast or similar bed. Four wheels are attached to a large sturdy frame. The frame is driven by an electric motor which can reach up to 56rpm. The four wheels are connected to another electric motor through a number of gearboxes.
The frame and the wheels can be driven independently, allowing simulation of realistic situations such as continuous braking, or acceleration conditions that cause wheel creepage. The wheels are pressed firmly against the rail by springs to simulate a heavy axle weight.

Test rig

DEMO designed the entire electronic side as well as the mechanical side of the test rig. A large number of DEMO staff were involved in building the test rig.