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Oil vacuum cleaner and efficiency in aluminium production win awards
19 April 2012
The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)
A highly effective oil "vaccum cleaner", a solar ice maker and new efficiency advances in aluminium production developed by researchers and graduates from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology were among the winners of the more than NOK 2 million (Euro 264 000) in awards handed out at the Technoport 2012 conference, "Sharing Possibilities", held in Trondheim, Norway this week.
It seemed like an obvious idea -- why not use a vacuum cleaner design to clean up oil spills on rocks and other hard surfaces? That was the reasoning behind the invention developed by Silje Rabben, a graduate of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), who worked with two fellow NTNU students to develop a unique method for cleaning up oil spills. The technology works like a vacuum cleaner that blows bark on the oil and sucks up the whole mass.
Rabben and the company she now heads, Kaliber Industrial Design, was recognized this week with the Technoport Young Innovation Award. The NOK 200 000 prize is designed to support female researchers and inventors under the age of 40.
Rabben's recognition was just one of seven awards handed out in conjunction with Technoport 2012, a biannual conference held in Trondheim Norway that is designed to bring policymakers, researchers and students together to discuss the transition to a green economy.
Professor Magne Runde, who holds a joint position at NTNU and at SINTEF, Scandinavia's largest independent research institution, was awarded NOK 200 000 for the Hydro Green Aluminium Award. Runde was honoured along with his colleague, Niklas Magnusson of SINTEF. The award recognizes outstanding research that improves the ecological footprint of aluminium production.
Four engineering and science students were also selected as the winners of the Mission Rio competition for which they developed a solar ice maker. The competition was for first-year master's students in an interdisciplinary course who were invited to develop ideas to be presented by the Norwegian delegation to the UN Rio+20 Sustainable Development conference in Rio de Janerio in June. The winners were Halfdan Knudsen and Erik Storaas from the NTNU Department of Energy and Process Engineering, Aleksander Kolstad from the NTNU Department of Chemistry, and Thomas Emdal Loland from the NTNU Department of Materials Science and Engineering. The four will travel to Rio in June to present their idea.
Other awards and winners were:
- The Gunnerus Award: Kamaljit Bawa was selected for the first-ever grant of this NOK 1 million award, which recognizes outstanding research on sustainability issues. The prize is sponsored by the Royal Norwegian Society of Sciences and Letters. in conjunction with SpareBank1 SMN and Technoport. Bawa, a biology professor from the University of Massachusetts, was recognized for his work on population biology in tropical forests.
- The Technoport Applied Technology Award: GasSecure AS was selected for the NOK 150 000 award for its development of the world's first wireless optical gas detector for industrial applications.
- Statoil Award for Outstanding Research: Eric Cayeux, from the University of Stavanger, was awarded NOK 200 000 for his work on the automation of petroleum drilling
- 2012 Technoport Design Award: Ole Petter Wullum was recognized with this NOK 150 000 award for his new concept for holiday homes and mountain huts, called SMÅHUS.
- Technoport Award for Innovative Environmental Technology: Cambi AS was recognized for their development of a thermal hydrolysis process (THP) which can be used to produce biogas from sewage and industrial sludge, as well as from wood, slaughterhouse and fish wastes. The award is for NOK 150 000.
Technoport is a consortium composed of NTNU, SINTEF, the Research Council of Norway, Statoil, HYDRO, NTE, The Royal Norwegian Society of Sciences and Letters, the municipality of Trondheim, Trøndelag county authorities, Innovation Norway and the savings bank Sparebank 1 SMN and partners such as IBM, SIEMENS, Kjeldsberg Eiendom, The Centre for Renewable Energy, the University of Oslo, IFE, Nordic Five Tech, Nordtek and ENOVA.
The consortium is working to develop a knowledge-sharing platform that involves key international stakeholders from science and technology, policy making and industry. The objective of this platform is to share possibilities and stimulate the transition towards a green economy.
Erik Storaas (centre) from the Department of Energy and Process Engineering, Aleksander Kolstad (left) from the Department of Chemistry, and Thomas Emdal Loland (right) from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering show off 12 ice cubes made with a solar ice maker. Photo: NTNU Info
Winners of the 2012 Technoport Awards in Trondheim, Norway. Photo: Technoport