Case studies

Case studies are summaries of some of the successful R&D projects that have been funded through one of our programmes in recent years. Read about the societal, environmental and commercial impact of these international collaborations.

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TTCDP

(Eurostars)

Improving tidal energy

The project consortium of UK and Norwegian large companies and a UK SME delivered a series of promising results and innovations that look set to increase investor confidence in tidal turbine systems among utilities providers, project developers and financial institutions.

Tidal energy is considered a promising renewable energy technology. However, it faces deployment and financial challenges. Reliability of turbines is particularly crucial, as they need to perform for long periods without intervention.
Using a purpose-built onshore tidal turbine test rig, the project partners developed and proved a series of innovations designed to improve the performance and reliability of a turbine. These included improvements to the cooling system, the introduction of comprehensive condition monitoring equipment, and the introduction of redundancy in the electrical and control systems.


Project funded by: Innovate UK, Research Council Norway

  • Rolls-Royce Marine AS (Norway – large company)
  • Atlantis Resources ( UK- SME and lead partner)
  • Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult (UK – large company)

FEMSCOPY

(Eurostars)

Shining a light on neural pathways

A Lithuanian and German consortium have developed an advanced laser- and microscope-based system for studying neural circuits. One powerful technique used to study neural pathways involves stimulating nerve cells with one laser and recording the image of the activity being studied with another. To avoid so-called electromagnetic “cross talk”, the lasers must operate on different light wavelengths. But doing this with conventional equipment requires two very expensive, ultra-short pulse lasers, which many labs cannot afford. Under the Eurostars project, FEMSCOPY, the teams created a new high-speed, two-photon microscopy tool with independently tunable wavelength outputs. With it, they can now easily generate pulses that won’t interfere with the output reading.

A prototype of the new system, which is less bulky than conventional equipment, has already been used on mice in research into multiple sclerosis. It is likely to make studying and developing treatments for dementia, depression, Parkinson’s and other brain diseases cheaper and easier.

Project funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research BMBF (Germany), and the Lithuanian Agency for Science, Innovation and Technology (MITA)

  • Light Conversion (Lithuania – SME and leading role)
  • Lavision Biotec Gmbh (Germany – SME)
  • University Medical Centre of the Johannes Gutenberg University (Germany – university)
  • Leibniz Institute Of Photonic Technology (Germany – research organisation)

SPRAYFORMING

(Network Projects)

Moulding plastic as easily as clay

A consortium of German and Austrian companies and a university has successfully found a way to incorporate heating systems into moulds, saving money, time and energy in a significant manufacturing process: moulding plastic. The project participants capitalised on the benefits of thermal spraying to create resource-efficient metal moulds that can fit heating and cooling systems beneath their surface.

The SPRAYFORMING project has driven advances in both near-market and fundamental science and we anticipate a growing interest from industries moulding carbon fibre-reinforced plastics (project participant Airbus has already integrated these moulds into their manufacturing process). Widespread excitement about SPRAYFORMING has also encouraged new collaborations that distribute and promote this innovative technique.

Project funded by FFG and BMBF

  • Schmuhl Faserverbundtechnik GmbH & Co. KG (Germany – SME)
  • Bundeswehr University Munich (Germany – university)
  • Neue Materialien Bayreuth GmbH (Germany – SME)
  • Quickstep GmbH (Germany – SME)
  • ALPEX Technologies GmbH (Austria – SME and leading role)

Optical Diagnostics – HOLO-3

(Network Projects)

Strengthening your electronic devices

HOLO-3 may be invaluable for testing semiconductors, as manufacturers of electronics shift from using silicone to cheaper, more flexible and sophisticated “inorganic” materials. A consortium of Lithuanian and German organisations saw the need for advanced testing that examines the nanostructures of a material. They have pushed the frontier of quantum electronics and applied physics to create HOLO-3: a non-destructive, laser-based holographic technology that monitors the fast-electrical properties of materials. This user-friendly and reliable prototype has laser beams that charge the electrical and optical properties of a material and then convey what changes have taken place.

The prototype is on its way to being developed into a diagnostic device, as project partner (and world-leading supplier) Aixtron has already enhanced the quality of their semiconductors. The HOLO-3 project has also enabled the refinement of the spatio-temporal characterisation process and the publication of papers on holographic techniques.

Project funded by MITA and BMBF

  • Ekspla (Lithuania – SME)
  • Vilnius University (Lithuania – university)
  • Aixtron (Germany – large company)

CLOUD ATLAS 

(Eurostars)

AI hits target for radiotherapy 

Through deep learning techniques and AI, the Cloud Atlas project consortium (comprising of German and UK SMEs and a Dutch research organisation) developed a high-quality auto-contouring solution for cancer tumours and surrounding organs. 

Precise contouring is essential to ensuring that radiotherapy treatment is targeting cancerous tumours accurately and that damage to adjacent tissue is minimised. However, it is a time-consuming process; every patient requires an individual approach.  

By taking advantage of the latest innovations in machine learning, the consortium reduced the time required to refine and complete contouring for patients. This in turn frees up time for clinicians to plan a treatment programme and maximise its effectiveness. Other benefits include improved healthcare, reduced costs for contouring of tumours and greater overall consistency of the contouring process. 

Project funded by: Netherlands Enterprise Agency, BMBF (Germany), Innovate UK 

  • Maastro Clinic (The Netherlands – research organisation)
  • Sohard Software (Germany – SME and lead partner)
  • Mirada Medical (UK – SME)

SARA

(Eurostars)

Smarter high-rise planning

A German engineering firm and university teamed up with a Greek software company to develop an innovative and commercially viable software that simulates the results of wind-induced torsional loads on high-rise buildings.  

Designing major structures like tall buildings usually involves testing at-scale models in physical wind tunnels; a potentially expensive and time-consuming undertaking. The SARA software developed by the consortium is an add-on or extension to existing structural engineering desktop programmes. It improves early planning by giving engineers a relatively accurate measure of the effects of wind-induced loads on high-rises, much like a virtual wind tunnel.  

The use of such predictive software reduces cost, time and complexity, and makes the work of engineers easier and more efficient. 

Project funded by: GSRT (Greece), BMBF (Germany)

  • Technical University Dresden (Germany – university)
  • Sofistik Hellas (Greece – SME and lead partner)
  • Wacker Bauwerksaerodynamik GmbH (Germany – SME)

HYLIFT-FLEX

(Eurostars)

A clean lift for a heavy vehicles

Danish and German engineers have developed hybrid engines combining hydrogen fuel-cell battery technology and large diesel engines in vehicles like forklifts and tractors. Hybrids offer the benefits of both silent and zero-emission electric power and the proven reliability of combustion engines, making them ideal for indoor and outdoor use.

Outcomes from the Eurostars HYLIFT-FLEX project fed into new product development by the German partner, which builds drive technologies for airport ground-support equipment, including hybrid diesel-electric tractors. The global market for forklift trucks in general is predicted to reach around 48.5 billion euro by 2021.The Danish partner used its involvement to develop advanced hydrogen fuelling stations, marketed as H2Station®. Projects like this also help the EU achieve its ambitious “low-carbon economy” goals to cut emissions from transport to more than 60% below 1990 levels by 2050.

Project funded by Danish Agency for Science, Technology and Innovation (DASTI) and Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF)

  • H2 Logic A/s, now NEL Hydrogen Fuelling (Denmark – SME and leading role)
  • Mulag Fahrzeugwerk Heinz Wössner Gmbh (Germany – SME)

HSXRF

(Network Projects)

Sensing a digital revolution in mining

A Canadian large company and German SME developed, field-tested and delivered an innovative iron-ore sensing, sorting and communication system. The solution makes mining low-grade ore feasible and optimises the whole decision-support process. It boosts performance by up to 20% and saves on energy, water and chemical use.

The ground-breaking sensor technology and data analytics platform evolving from this project provides mining operations with unprecedented real-time information about their ore deposits.

Project funded by: National Research Council (Canada)

  • Ketek (Germany – SME)
  • Minesense Technologies (Canada – large company and lead partner)