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Completed Projects

LowCostEPS: Low-cost emergency power system based on printed smart supercaps

Project Investigators

  • Anil Kumar

    IIT Bombay, Mumbai
  • Anil Kumar Muniswamy

    SLN Technologies Pvt.Ltd, Bengaluru
  • Arved Hubler

    TU Chemnitz
  • Ulf Ender

    Grunperga Papier GmbH, Grünhainichen

Project Summary

Nowadays, in India electrical power is a most essential item. Especially for computers, communication and healthcare systems an uninterruptable power supply is needed for correct functioning. To solve the problem of power failures, a standard solution is the installation of a diesel generator supported by a battery stack to provide power in the moment of the blackout.

These batteries are costly, the service life is limited and often they are the most unreliable component in the whole emergency power system (EPS). To solve this drawbacks battery stacks for similar applications are replaced by supercapacitors (supercaps) in western countries. Compared to conventional batteries or accumulator solutions, the advantages of supercaps are the maintenance-free operation, resistance to high temperature fluctuations, low weight and long service life. Applied properly, supercaps could sustain more than 500,000 charge/discharge cycles with efficiency well above 90 %. Further, supercaps do not face the risk of destruction by deep discharge like batteries and hence are less susceptible. The usage of supercaps for small and medium sized EPS, especially in India, has one big disadvantage: The high initial costs of the conventional supercaps.

To solve this problem, the Indo-German project consortium has the intention to create a new LowCostEPS based on mass-printed smart supercaps for small and medium sized applications in the power range of 2.5 till 10 kVA. The LowCostEPS should bridge the time of power interruption until the existing diesel generator provides enough power to run a proper energy supply again. The core idea of the proposed project is to use conventional printing methods, such as gravure, offset or flexographic printing, for the production of low-cost supercaps. Conventional printing methods are well-known for their high productivity and cost-effectiveness due to the mass-production possibility.

Especially in printed electronics these technologies are suitable for mass-production of electronic components with different geometries and layer thicknesses on a flexible substrate in a roll-to-roll process (R2R). Applying such methods, it is possible to produce liquid processed printed energy storages with good electrochemical properties over a large area in a simple way. There are two typical setups, a.) roll-type and b.) multilayer-type, for conventional capacitor types available. The used electrode areas of these two types are prepared by coating and winding or coating, cutting and stacking. Also in post-press production of print products these technology steps are well known. Beside these technologies different other technologies like folding, die-cutting and stamping are used in roll-to-roll or roll-to-sheet post-press production.

The post-press production together with the printing of the final electrode shape, the right amount and shape of electrolyte and shape of the current collector enables a complete inline processing of the final supercap stack. One example of a possible setup for such an inline produced supercapacitor is shown in Figure 5c.) zigzag-type. This type is not producible with conventional coating methods which makes inline printing and post-press very productive and cost competitive.

Among others, the most important objectives of this research project are to develop a carbon-based energy storage in the form of a supercap by means of mass-printing processes on thin paper substrate with a power density of 1Wh/kg and to develop a low-cost circuitry to charge/discharge the supercap that provides power to the system.

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Fec-Online: Online-indication of pathogen-like pollution in water by fecal pigment (FP) analysis

Project Investigators

  • Ashok Kumar Mishra

    IIT Madras, Chennai
  • Pragati Yadav

    Spectro analytical labs. Ltd., New Delhi
  • Wido Schmidt

    DVGW Technologiezentrum Wasser, Dresden
  • Christian Moldaenke

    bbe Moldaenke, Schwentinental

Project Summary

A promising alternative for time consuming measurements of pathogens in water is the detection of fecal pigments (FP) as indicator compounds by 2D fluorescence. Pigment analysis is of high efficiency and used for early warning against cyanotoxins in water since a long time.

However, while algae pigments can be measured directly, the fecal pigments are of lower fluorescence effect and therefore the sensitivity as well as selectivity of the measurement has to be improved. The project follows the strategy of selective pre-concentration of the analytes, a method which is online practicable and widely used for trace detection of organic contaminants, e.g. using LC-MSMS. Because of the broad peaks of fluorescence, a new calibration software based on multivariate approach is urgent.

The general project outcome is the online-detection of pathogen-like pollution in water. In detail, theoutcome of the project is described a follow:

  1. Understanding of the indicator function of FP against pathogen water pollution based on systematic measurements
  2. Design of an new analytical unit consisting of: automatic sample preparation (1) which is coupled with an 2D fluorescence 
    sensor (2)
  3. Design of a software package for analysis of the spectra.
  4. Recommendation for general application of this approach in practice.

Potential users of the new technique could be: drinking and wastewater treating companies as well as companies of food production.

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WaterChip : DNA Biochip for on-site water pathogen detection including viability and antibiotic resistance testing

Project Investigators

  • Rishi Shanker Ashutosh Kumar

    Ahmedabad University, Ahmedabad
  • Somesh Mehra

    ABC Genomics (India) Pvt. Ltd, Lucknow
  • Wolfgang Fritzsche

    Leibniz Institute of Photonic Technology, Jena
  • Bernd Giese

    Food GmbH Jena Analytik-Consulting (Food), Jena

Project Summary

Globally, nearly 6,000 children die each day due to water-related illnesses. Treatment based approaches must be implemented to minimize these deaths. Rapid (< 1 hr) detection platforms covering most waterborne pathogens of concern, their indicators, and associated sources of antibiotic resistance bacteria on a single chip are urgently needed.

Such platforms must be operable under field conditions with personnel requiring minimal training. This proposal focuses on such a multiplexed chip by adapting an already developed robust and low cost platform (Gene-Z) for on-site water pathogen detection. Genetic markers associated with at least a dozen waterborne pathogens, indicators, and antibiotic resistance bacteria are included on the chip including viability testing to be validated with appropriate sensitivity and specificity.

The proposed project has three objectives: 1) Provision of waterborne pathogens chips and detection systems, 2) Integration of Live vs. Dead (Viability) Protocol on the Chip, and 3) Field Validation, Deployment, Support and Feedback. When fully developed and validated, the chip and platform will provide the a number of key benefits compared to other existing technologies and approaches including fast results, ease of use, specificity, sensitivity, and low cost.

Differentiating characteristic compared to other molecular biology technologies include multiplexing of bacteria and protozoan, use of multiple virulence markers, live vs. dead differentiation, and measurement of antibiotic resistance genes. The consortium combines academic and industry partners with expertise in molecular biology, bioanalytics, and on-site detection technology development.

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METNETWORK: Nanostructured hybrid transparent network electrodes for large area visibly transparent solar cells

Project Investigators

  • Giridhar U Kulkarni

    Centre for Nano and Soft Matter Sciences (CeNS), Bangalore
  • Shyam K Choudhary

    Tata Steel, Jamshedpur
  • Mukundan Thelakkat

    University of Bayreuth, Bayreuth
  • Ralf Liebler

    Papierfabrik Louisenthal GmbH, Gmund am Tegernsee

Project Summary

Semitransparent solar cells could find enormous applications from a window panel to automobile roof top solutions. By definition they require semitransparent active layers and transparent electrodes. The current recipes for realization of a large area technology suffer from process limitations related to deposition of transparent conducting electrodes (TCE) with sufficient transparency and low resistivity.

Other issues are related to electrode stability, upscaling to large areas and flexible substrates. There is also a big demand to replace the expensive indium tin oxide as TCE. Additionally, there is a need to develop printing compatible TCEs which can be applied to any type of surface without the further necessity of welding or soldering. We have demonstrated that micrometer cracks formed in a polymer film can be used as a template to deposit metals and by the lift-off of the polymer template, hybrid metal network TCEs with high transmission and low resistivity can be developed.

The project aims at a) examining the feasibility of printing methods to develop large area TCE metal network b) synthesizing the metal network TCE on flexible substrates such as PET or PEN or paper, c) an alternative metalation method based on solution processing techniques and/or incorporating graphene and d) integrating these TCEs in large area solar cells suitable for window applications.

The uniqueness of this approach is its simplicity and suitability for any kind of metals and their precursors. Since we can control the metal fill factor and the structural width of the metal network by tuning the width of cracks in the polymer film, the conductivity and transmittance of such TCEs can be tuned. In collaboration with the industry partners, the chemistry and the process will be adapted to fulfill the objectives. The proposed work will provide viable solutions to the pertinent issues related to fabrication of ITO-free TCEs.

The application of these electrodes is extendable to other applications such as thermal heaters, sensors, and electrochromic or thermochromic devices. This innovative concept of nanostructured hybrid TCE is a big step towards smart window applications suitable for building integrated photovoltaics.

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CANDECT: Cluster-composite nanofibre membranes for rapid, ultra-trace detection of waterborne contaminants

Project Investigators

  • Thalappil Pradeep

    IIT Madras, Chennai
  • Anshup

    Inno Nano Research Pvt Ltd (INR), Chennai
  • Andrea Iris Schäfer

    Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Karlsruhe
  • Hansjörg Fader

    Fader Umwelttechnik (FAD), Karlsruhe

Project Summary

Dissolved water contaminants of inorganic (arsenic, chromate, fluoride, uranium, nitrate or strontium) and organic (pesticides, plasticizers, pharmaceuticals, alkylphenols, endocrine disrupters) origin play an important role in drinking water quality and health. Water guideline values are usually in the ppb (µg/L) region, which makes detection difficult.

Monitoring of such contaminants is time consuming and expensive which poses a significant challenge especially for water supplies in rural areas and/or in developing countries, which present a vast, hugely unexplored and scientifically challenging market. The development of suitable sensor technologies using advanced materials that can be integrated to hand-operated pumps or decentralized water supplies is the subject of this proposal.

The materials will interact with pollutants by covalent, supramolecular or ionic interactions and the detection will subsequently take place by excitation and read-out of the colorimetric signal via commonly available devices such as i-phones. Atomically precise clusters with specific interactions with inorganic and organic contaminants developed by IIT Madras for the detection of heavy metal ions in water at ultra trace levels will be incorporated in electrospun fibres and porous substrates

This technology will be developed further into a sensor device for arsenic in drinking water. Simultaneously the same technology will be expanded further to address specific challenges of chromate, fluoride, a select number of pesticides and alkylphenols (for example) for proof of concept.

The key output from this project will be a working prototype of a visual arsenic sensor systembased on atomically precise clusters incorporated in electrospun membranes (nanofibers spunonto porous membranes or clusters immobilized in porous membranes) which will be;

  1. Affordable, at an anticipated cost of $0.1 per test, at the scale of large implementation;
  2. Readily adaptable into water treatment and supply technologies worldwide;
  3. An immediate improvement to the certainly of the drinking water quality delivered.
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RESERVES: Resource and energy reliability by co-digestion of veg-market and slaughterhouse waste

Project Investigators

  • S V Srinivasan

    CSIR-CLRI, Chennai
  • R Karthianathan

    Ramky Enviro Engineers, Chennai
  • Dirk Weichgrebe

    Leibniz Universität Hannover, Hannover
  • Thilo Lehmann

    Lehmann GmbH, Pöhl

Project Summary

The Government of India predicts dramatic demand increases for energy over the next 20 years which brings in several problems to agricultural dependent Indian economy. An easily accessible alternative to energy imports and nuclear power is the abundantly available waste biomass to produce biogas through anaerobic digestion (AD).

Mass flows of waste generated from slaughterhouse, fruit- and veg-market waste are rarely utilized for recovery of energy and nutrients. Biogas from this waste material could be an important and flexible energy source for local consumer with high supply guarantee. In most towns/cities of developing countries including India, slaughter house wastes are disposed along with other municipal solid wastes (MSW) in open dumping leading to contamination of air, water and land. However, with respect to resources and energy reliability, these wastes are highly valuable and regular/reliable sources of bio-energy. Treatment of slaughter waste alone for bio-energy generation in anaerobic processes is not effective in terms of optimum utilisation and performance of treatment system. Animal wastes contain more of proteineous matter with high amount of nitrogen content and hence these wastes have low Carbon to Nitrogen (C/N) ratio. It is advantageous to add other organic wastes available in the Chennai city, like vegetable market waste, food wastes, agro-residues, industrial organic waste etc. for co-digestion process to enhance the biogas production in anaerobic treatment process, and to improve the performance of the biomethanisation system and overall sustainability. In co-fermentation of organic waste, the German and Indian industries/institutes have complemented experiences on sustainable anaerobic technologies for recovery of renewable energy in the form of biogas.

RESERVES proposes to investigate various combinations by co-digestion of wastes from slaughterhouses, vegetable market etc. in laboratory scale reactors and suitable combination will be studied in pilot-plant for biogas production and pre-treatment like bio-extrusion.

Concept and management for full scale implementation (e.g. PPP, BOT) will be identified and transfer of knowledge takes place during the pilot scale study and with special workshops and training. Sustainability assessment of the process and the marketable product qualities using LCA and carbon footprints investigations will be carried out. Sustainable ways for biogas and digestate utilization will be investigated. Herewith material and energy flows will be optimized along with biogas upgradation and utilization efficiency. To ensure the acceptance of this project among various stakeholders, and to confirm the exemplarity of this project, capacity building by demonstration workshops/ training programme will be organised.

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REMSOLAR: Reduction of earth metals in chalkopyrite-based solar cells

Project Investigators

  • Sarang Ingole

    IIT Kanpur, Kanpur
  • Nagesh Kini

    Thermax, Pune
  • Roland Scheer

    Martin-Luther-University, Halle
  • Ralf Sorgenfrei

    Manz CIGS technology GmbH, Schwabisch Hall

Project Summary

Considering the significance of the global challenge of future energy production and the role of photovoltaics within it as well as the conditions of international division of labour, the enhancement of links between Germany and India on the field of research and development in thin-film photovoltaics is of strategic importance, and hence one of the major objectives of the project.

Cu(In,Ga)(Se,S)2 (CIGS) as absorber layer constitutes one of the most important thin-film technologies, which are challenging silicon-based solar cells. The main drawback of this system is that it contains the comparatively rare elements indium and gallium, the availability and price of which are suspected to worsen in the future and to reduce the economic potential. Within the project, two approaches for the reduction of these earth metals will be followed and compared. One approach is the reduction of absorber layer thickness while maintaining power conversion efficiency, the other is the replacement of indium and gallium by tin and zinc, leading to the material Cu2ZnSn(Se,S)4 known as Kesterite, which shows promising photovoltaic properties.

Both approaches include optimized preparation processes based on deeper understanding of physics and chemistry of film formation. The preparation of single-phase material with enhanced photovoltaic properties requires in-depth investigations of condensation, crystallization and phase transition processes, which are one of the major objectives of the project. In-situ characterization of layer growth and ex-situ characterization of layers and complete devices will be applied in order to clarify the correlations between process parameters and photovoltaic properties. For both approaches, industrial scale model processes will be realized, which will allow for study of issues relevant for fabrication. These results will be used to evaluate and benchmark both approaches against each other. The results of the project will remove significant road blocks in the development path of thin-film photovoltaics and to considerably influence research and development strategy of contributing partners and other players in the field. A German leading manufacturer of production equipment for photovoltaic systems, an Indian leading company proving comprehensive turnkey services for PV solutions for both, grid connected as well as off-grid applications, and two highly experienced and well-equipped research institutes will collaborate within the project. Due to this unique combination of competences and facilities, the project is a chance to clarify pressuring questions of future development of thin-film photovoltaic technology. An important contribution to the development of the renewable energy sector will be made with a focus on tailor-made production equipment in Germany and large-scale fabrication of solar cells for the world market in India.

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AMPLAST: Advanced manufacturing process monitoring using in-line laser thermography

Project Investigators

  • Krishnan Balasubramaniam

    IIT Madras, Chennai
  • C.V. Krishnamurthy

    IIT Madras, Chennai
  • S. Alavudeen

    Dhvani R & D Solutions, Chennai
  • Mathias Ziegler

    BAM Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing, Berlin
  • Matthias Krauß

    InfraTec GmbH, Dresden

Project Summary

The Centre for Non-destructive Evaluation (CNDE) at Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IITM) in collaboration with the Non-destructive Testing Division of the BAM will develop newnext generation sensing and measurement technologies that will bring a paradigm change in the ability to control the manufacturing processes in core industries.

The development of laser thermography technique will enable defect detection, material property measurement, and process parameter measurement under hostile conditions.The use of non-contact, hostile environment sensing technologies will move the quality assurance into the early manufacturing process, thereby significantly improving the impact to the industries. The industry collaborators for this project will be InfraTec GmbH, a leading manufacturer of infrared camera based technologies, and Dhvani Research, a leading Indian NDE software and systems developer. Hence, the core team of IITM, BAM, Dhvani Research, and InfraTec GmbH will be responsible for developing fundamental understanding, instrumentation, validation, and robust packaging of the Laser Thermography technique for industrial applications. Additionally, the Laser Thermography technique will be evaluated under realistic manufacturing conditions through the support of two leading manufacturing industries in India viz. Tata Steel and Bharat Heavy Electrical Ltd (BHEL), who will provide the domain expertise as well as the validation platforms that will be required for the demonstration of the Laser Thermography technique under hostile manufacturing conditions. The laser-thermography technologies developed by this team will be adapted for 3 case studies at Tata Steel’s Jamshedpur steel manufacturing plant and BHEL’s boiler manufacturing plant in Tiruchirapally, both in India. Due to the unique requirements of each manufacturing process, the technologies will be necessarily modified, leading to new measurement techniques that will be commercialized by the industrial partners Dhvani Research and InfraTec GmbH through a commercial agreement with the academic partners. In addition, joint journal publications, joint patents, joint workshops, several secondments of personnel between the partners, masters and doctoral theses are anticipated.

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DP-FORGE: Combined process and alloy design of a micro-alloyed DP forging steel based on integrative computational materials engineering

Project Investigators

  • Gandham Phanikumar

    IIT Madras, Chennai
  • B P Gautham

    TCS, Pune
  • Ulrich Prahl

    RWTH Aachen University, Acchen
  • Ralph Bernhardt

    Simufact Engineering GmbH, Hamburg

Project Summary

Industry aims optimised production of tailored components with improved properties by ensuring an economically and energetic efficient production. Materials are one of the key enabling technologies for products and industrial processes to become more competitive and sustainable or even allowing for completely new, knowledge-based materials with tailored properties, new products and advanced production processes.

This requires complex microstructures and new strategies for process design and control. Integrated computational materials engineering (ICME) is an emerging area of interest for both academic and industrial research, leading to considerable savings in the cost and time for design, optimisation and commercialization of new materials and processes in industrial applications.

The bar steel making industry together with the forging community is an example for long and complex process chains, being realized by many SME sized companies with heterogeneous production scenarios for the manufacturing of very specific components with various requirements concerning mechanical, thermal or corrosive properties. This heterogeneity of materials, products and processes with many different stakeholders and various properties requirements hinders innovation remarkably. Advanced numerical methods offer an opportunity for an efficient and effective design process bringing together all relevant stakeholders virtually and offering a process and company spanning design and optimisation approach being realized beforehand of material and component processing. The realization of such a scale and process spanning numerical modelling scenario to be available for generation of material-by-design is one of the key objectives of Integrated Computational Materials Engineering (ICME).

This project proposal aims the development of an energetic efficient production of forged components (eg gears) from microalloyed dual phase steel with reduced distortion. The material and production design will be realized by means of a generic ICME platform. The scientific approach is based on integrative numerical material and process simulation spanning over length scale from nanometer (precipitates and dislocations) up to component scale of meters and taking into account all relevant process steps including hot forming, annealing and local final material properties of the component in application. The research plan consists of optimising, parallelizing and combining existing numerical tools (MatCalc, MICRESS, Simufact) on various length scales into a generic ICME platform, developing missing models and algorithms, identifying model and material parameters by tailored physical process simulation (dilatometry, thermo mechanical process simulator) and advanced microstructural characterisation (SEM, EBSD, TEM), optimizing alloy system and process parameters and validating the numerical results by pilot production of exemplarily forged gears for automotive industry.

This approach will offer a model tool-box aiming to provide an innovative, cost and time efficient design engineering for new steel materials and advanced components including manufacturing processes. This new numerical approach will be validated exemplarily by developing a cost effective microalloyed dual phase steel concept for gear production.

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AUTOSAFE: Architecture-aware timing analysis and optimization of safety-critical automotive software

Project Investigators

  • Partha P Chakrabarti

    IIT Kharagpur, Kharagpur
  • Pallab Dasgupta

    IIT Kharagpur, Kharagpur
  • Arun Bahulkar
    Ravindra Metta

    TCS, Pune
  • Samarjit Chakraborty

    TU Munich, Munich
  • Karsten Albers

    Inchron GmbH, Potsdam

Project Summary

Modern high-end cars run a variety of safety-critical, driver assistance and entertainment applications, amounting to 100 million lines of software code, which will grow to 200-300 million lines in the near future. However, ensuring the correctness of such software involves several software engineering, testing and debugging challenges, and pose major hindrance to the introduction of advanced functionality like next-generation driver assistance systems.

The problem is even more serious in electric vehicles, which contain an increased amount of electronics and software. Current software testing and debugging methods are focused on functional verification (i.e., whether the output value is correct). Ensuring the real-time properties of software (i.e., whether the output is produced at the right time) is still largely done on an ad-hoc basis, with high post-implementation testing, debugging and integration costs. Nevertheless, timing correctness is extremely important for safety-critical functionality and for software certification, which is increasingly becoming important within the automotive domain.

The goal of this project is to develop systematic approaches to timing analysis and optimization of automotive software. Timing properties of applications are closely tied to both, the software code and the architecture on which the code executes, which can be 50-100 electronic control units (ECUs) connected by CAN/FlexRay buses. Our approach will be architecture-aware, i.e., model the microarchitectural features of the ECUs, their scheduling policies, and the schedules of the buses over which they communicate. The unique features of our approach compared to current state-of-the art are (i) rather than treating software as arbitrary code, we will take into account the models (e.g., Simulink/Stateflow) from which the code is automatically synthesized, which will tighten and simplify timing analysis, (ii) we will develop techniques for synthesizing ECU and bus schedules automatically from software models and control performance requirements, which will involve the use of powerful constrained optimization, search and verification techniques (e.g., model checking), and (iii) we will extend existing functional software testing and debugging methods to make them architecture- and timing-aware.

The results from this project will be of industrial relevance, will significantly cut down automotive software development/testing costs, and will make next-generation automotive software more reliable. A major goal will be to extend existing software design tools with our proposed methods.

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SeNaMeB: Design of selective nanoporous membrane bioreactor for efficient production of bio-butanol from lignocellulosic sugars

Project Investigators

  • Arvind M Lali

    Institute of Chemical Technology (ICT), Mumbai
  • Sanjeev G Patil

    Privi Biotechnologies Pvt. Ltd., Mumbai
  • Hannes Richter

    Fraunhofer IKTS, Hermsdorf
  • Peter Mund

    Atech Innovations GmbH, Gladbeck

Project Summary

Rising demand for fuels, increasing cost of production, dwindling supply of fossil resources, and negative impact of fossil fuels on the planet have led to massive efforts being launched across the globe for development of technologies that would provide sustainable fuels in coming decades. Renewable energy is the only sustainable alternative.

Liquid biofuels are essential and the world has decided generally to move rapidly from the food-competing first generation biofuels to second generation alternatives. Intensive work has led to a point where commercialization of lignocellulosic ethanol technologies looks very imminent over the next two years. First generation bioethanol, currently derived from corn and cane sugars, is being blended into gasoline in many countries including USA and India but is proving to be unsustainable. On the other hand, while bioethanol continues to enjoy the biofuel status, there are emerging other molecules that appear to be better biofuel candidates on account of their lower oxygen content, lower water miscibility, higher energy density, and higher blendability without significant changes in engine designs. Thus, quite a few biofuels have caught attention as fungible or drop-in biofuels. Butanol, though not quite classifying as a fungible fuel, is looking more promising of this lot of compounds on account of relatively higher maturity of its production technology (the technology was practiced on large scale during second world war).

Though theoretically thermo-chemical routes exist, both biobased ethanol and butanol are more viably produced through fermentation of via one or the other deconstruction technologies. Edible sugar based ABE fermentation has been a well known technology for Acetone, Butanol and Ethanol production and was first time developed in industrial scale by Chaim Weizmann in 1911. Subsequent emergence of more cost competitive petro-route led to the decline of the bio-butanol industry.

There are a few essential requisites in order to make bio-butanol cost competitive:

  1. Access to cheaper cellulosic fermentable sugars as raw material
  2. Better cost of production through
    1. Higher yield on sugars
    2. Higher volumetric rate of production
    3. Cheaper recovery/purification technologies

Cane sugar or corn sugar for biobutanol production is not only unviable economically, it is also un-sustainable. With the cost of cane and corn sugar exceeding USD 0.40/kg, even a 50% yield of butanol on sugars makes butanol unviable. Thus, cheaper sugar feedstock is required. The DBT-ICT Centre for Energy Biosciences has developed a technology platform that is able to provide fermentable sugars suitable for butanol production at less than USD 0.30/kg. This novel technology platform has been scaled to operate as a 10 ton biomass/day pilot plant in North India in the state of Uttrakhand. This forms the first basis of the present proposal corresponding to point 1 above.

The second basis addresses the second point in three parts namely (a), (b) and (c). Part (a) is currently being dealt with at ICT. Traditional ABE fermentation is able to provide 0.23-0.27g/g yield of n-butanol using one or the other species of Clostridia sp. (more often Clostridium acetobutylicum). Huge amount effort worldwide, through the tools of metabolic engineering and synthetic biology, has not been able to raise the yield figures to any degree of significance. Under these circumstances, it appears more logical to produce acetone and butanol in possible yields while attempt to bring down the cost of manufacturing. This can be done through efficient and rapid fermentation strategies and novel technologies for butanol recovery and purification.

ICT has developed a two stage n-butanol fermentation process that splits the acidogenic and solventogenic stages and increases volumetric productivity by a factor of three. This will result in three fold reduction CAPEX but will result in dilute butanol stream (0.5-1% w/v). Typically, it is accepted that a butanol concentration in excess of 4% w/v is desirable for cost effective recovery. This is indeed true for traditional distillation or liquid extraction based recovery processes. The current proposal aims to offset this situation by devising membrane based technology with specified nano porous membranes for butanol recovery that will permit cost effective process even at low butanol concentrations.

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FLEXIPRIDE: Flexible printed integrated disposable electronics

Project Investigators

  • Y N Mohapatra

    IIT Kanpur, Kanpur
  • Arved C Hübler

    TU Chemnitz, Chemnitz
  • Markus Schnitzlein

    Chromasens GmbH, Konstanz

Project Summary

In the last five years a remarkable progress has been made for flexible and printed electronic components. However, the integration of multiple electronic components into completely flexible multifunctional systems is much less maturated. The FLEXIPRIDE project aims at designing such completely flexible multifunctional systems taking into account components with functionalities from multidisciplinary areas such as circuits, antenna, touch sensors, low power displays and solar cells.

Based on these heterogeneous components, a variety of specific multifunctional systems can be designed creating novel application scenarios and attractive synergic market impacts for the involved components. Proposed integrated products are: cheap use-and-throw printed paper solar cells (< 1.0 Euro/W), solar cell powered printed active RFID tags (< 0.2 Euro/tag) and printed electronic security seal (< 0.5 Euro/seal) etc.

FLEXIPRIDE addresses the development/improvement of existing printed electronic components within the consortium and their integration into various innovative multifunctional systems. For the realization of all these systems, the advantages of several printing technologies (screen printing, flexography, gravure, offset, lithography and inkjet) are combined, while keeping cost issues in mind. FLEXIPRIDE addresses not only integration of various electronic components but also required circuit designs and simulations. Quality inspection and control of the printed electronic devices is a prerequisite in order to market the products. Therefore, optical methods will be explored and optical device will be developed to monitor layer thickness and structural defects during printing. At the end of the project a system demonstrator will be presented that will be the basement for an introduction to the market.

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NANOTRANS: Chemoenzymatic synthesis and development of biodegradable, structurally persistent core-shell nano-architectures for drug delivery applications

Project Investigators

  • Sunil Sharma
    A K Prasad

    Delhi University, New Delhi
  • Piramal Life Sciences, Mumbai
  • Rainer Haag

    Freie Universität, Berlin
  • Christoph Böttcher

    Freie Universität, Berlin
  • Paul Servin

    Nanopartica GmBH, Berlin

Project Summary

The need for developing drug delivery agents has been realized long ago, but the progress made in this area is still not satisfactory. The carrier mediated delivery has several advantages as it enables the delivery of many drug molecules per uptake event and provides isolation from exposure to the systemic environment. We propose to entrap the drug molecules in the matrices of a biocompatible amphiphilic polymeric system.

The project therefore embodies the following broad objectives:

  1. To design and develop novel environmentally benign biocatalytic routes to synthesize nanomaterials based upon amphiphilic copolymers
  2. To study the entrapment mechanisms of the drug molecules in the nanoparticles and their release inside the cell
  3. To study the structural properties of nanomaterials using state of art electron microscopy facilities to eventually standardize the method and allow control of the size and distribution of the particles entrapping biomolecules
  4. To analyze bio-distribution and pharmacokinetics in a mice model system
  5. To realize efficient delivery of drug and phenotypic expression in a mice model system.
  6. To enhance the aqueous solubility and to study the pharmacokinetics (PK) and the pharmacodynamics (PD) of our ‘new chemical entities (NCEs)’ and other molecules of interest.

 

The proposed study holds enormous significance in the area of medicinal research as researchers across the world are looking for robust, non-toxic, and efficient drug delivery systems.

 

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Imparting drought stress-tolerance to crop plants by heterologous transfer of high altitude plant protection mechanisms

Project Investigators

  • Sanjay Kumar

    Institute of Himalayan Bioresource Technology, Palampur
  • M S Kuruvinashetti

    Krishidhan Research Foundation, Jalna
  • Anika Wiese - Klinkenberg

    Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH, Jülich
  • D Stelling

    Deutsche Saatveredelung AG, Lippstadt

Project Summary

In the upcoming years, crop production will be facing an increased demand by the growing and changing world population on the one hand and strong limitations by increasing abiotic stresses, like drought and temperature changes caused by the global climate change on the other hand. Thus, breeders and plant scientists have to provide crop varieties with higher yield, improved yield stability and stress tolerance traits to maintain and increase a sustainable crop production.

In order to enable and maintain growth of plants in the future changing and more extreme environmental conditions, it is required to identify novel mechanisms to improve drought tolerance of crops. To reach this, in this 2+2 project plants were modified to express stress-induced genes from plants growing at extremely high altitudes of India. Such genes have been identified by the Indian partner at IHBT and were transformed in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana (CSIR-IHBT, India) and in crops (Oilseed rape (OSR), Deutsche Saatveredelung AG (DSV AG), Germany and corn, Krishidhan Research Foundation Private Limited, India). In the end, nine different genes/gene combinations from plants growing in high altitude were transformed in 14 independent Arabidopsis lines, 6 genes in crops (OSR).

Growth of these genetically modified plants in mild drought stress conditions was analysed with state-of-the-art plant phenotyping technologies at Forschungszentrum Juelich with image analysis methods to quantify a drought tolerance mediated by the transgene. All nine different genes or combinations of genes were investigated in the model plant Arabidopsis for improvement of growth under mild drought stress; an improved drought tolerance could not be detected. Three lines expressing the transgenes in OSR have been characterised for growth under mild drought stress, also not showing significant changes indicating drought tolerance. To characterise the growth in extreme drought stress, novel technologies have been developed to quantify changes in morphology (Arabidopsis), or yellowing of the leaves (oilseed rape) in extreme drought stress, as it occurs especially in India. The three transgenic rapeseed lines were investigated for changes in yellowing during drought stress, but no improvement of drought tolerance by the transgenes was observed.

However, physiological and biochemical analyses showed that transgenic arabidopsis overexpressing CsTLP improved drought tolerance. Transgenic Arabidopsis overexpressing a transcription factor RaWRKY exhibited improvement in seed yield. Transgenic arabidopsis co-over-expressing PaSOD and RaAPX showed improved lignification of the vascular tissue that was associated with improvement of stress tolerance. Transcriptome of Potentilla atrosanguinea was deciphered and also using the Caragana jubata, project consortium solved a long standing question on the molecular mechanism of high altitude plants which makes them to thrive in cold desert at high altitude. Promoters of several stress responsive genes were cloned from Rheum australe.

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Biotechnological approaches to improve chickpea crop productivity for farming community and industry

Project Investigators

  • Rajeev Varshney

    International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), Hyderabad
  • Manash Chatterjee

    BenchBio private Limited, Vapi
  • Gunter Kahl

    University of Frankfurt, Frankfurt
  • Peter Winter

    GenXPro GmbH, Frankfurt

Project Summary

Chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.), an important grain legume crop of high nutritive value, is mostly grown in low-input and on residual moisture in Indian and semi-arid regions of Sub-Saharan Africa. India is the largest producer and consumer of chickpea. However India imports at least 40% of the international chickpea production.

Due to insufficient rainfall in arid and semi-arid growing areas, the crop often suffers from drought. Terminal drought globally is the major constraint for chickpea production. In the past, breeding efforts to improve drought tolerance have been hindered due to its quantitative genetic basis and our poor understanding of the physiological basis of yield under water-limited conditions. Recent advances in chickpea genomics including the genome sequence, unraveled gene networks and genetic variation controlling valuable traits in elite breeding populations. This project explored the resources developed (eg. in a different project, ICRISAT produced >400,000 ESTs from chickpea genotypes using next-generation sequencing (NGS) technologies, with the help of expertise available at University of Frankfurt / GenXPro in Germany and ICRISAT/BenchBio in India to identify candidate genes for drought tolerance in chickpea.

In this context, a transcriptome assembly (ca. 60,000 contigs) was generated and 3,000 dehydration stress-responsive genes involved in major drought-stress signalling cascades were identified. Robust drought-responsive candidate genes were identified from MACE libraries and 50 qRT-PCR assays for drought responsive candidate genes were studied. Furthermore, KASPar assays were developed for 2,005 SNPs and a high density molecular map of chickpea comprising 1,328 loci was developed. In addition, an Integrated SNP Mining and Utilization (ISMU) pipeline, a computational tool for identifying SNPs in NGS data sets was developed. This project eventually helped to enhance breeding efficiency for developing superior chickpea varieties with higher yield under rainfed conditions.

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Developing sustainable transgenic crop plants for drought or a combination of drought and heat stress by manipulating ABA and Ascorbate- Gultathione pathways

Project Investigators

  • M K Reddy

    International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Bio Technology (ICGEB), New Delhi
  • P Sateesh Kumar

    Nuziveedu Seeds (P) Ltd, Hyderabad
  • N Sreenivasulu

    Leibniz Institute for Plant Genetics and Cultivated Plant Research, Gatersleben
  • Jenes Weyen

    Saaten-Union Resistenzlabor GmbH, Leopoldshohe

Project Summary

Environmental stresses are a primary cause of loss of productivity of agricultural crops across the world. Enhanced production of Reactive Oxygen Intermediates (ROIs) during phases of environmental stress pose a serious threat to survival of plants. Efficiency of the ROI scavenging mechanisms in a plant is an important determinant of its tolerance for different environmental stresses.

This project aims at over-expressing genes involved in the ascorbate-glutathione pathway in crop plants to deactivate ROI molecules and protect plant cells from oxidative damage. The project also seeks to over express ABA catabolism genes for regulating the expression levels of plant stress hormone ABA. Project aims to improve tolerance to drought alone or to a combination of drought and heat stresses by improving the assimilation rate at critical stages such as anthesis, fertilization and onset of seed development by manipulating ABA signaling events. Simultaneous efforts will be made to tackle secondary effects such as stress-mediated cell death by creating an efficient scavenging system of reactive oxygen intermediates (ROIs) under combined heat and drought stress through gene pyramiding. Plants use Ascorbate-glutathione cycle for scavenging reactive oxygen intermediates in multiple redox reactions to prevent cellular damage. The project team has successfully cloned entire Ascorbate-glutathione pathway encoding genes into a single plant transformation vector and generated putative transgenic maize plants in India and barley plants in Germany. The analysis of these transgenic lines for transgene integration, expression and stress tolerance is now underway.

Maize transgenics were developed using the construct having five genes viz.sod, apx, dhr, mdhr and gr which play the key role in ascorbated-glutathione pathway and also with two genes construct viz., rpk and nced which play key role in ABA pathway. Both of the transgenic lines were thoroughly screened and characterized by using physiological, biochemical and molecular methods in field and lab levels. Gene expression was tested at both DNA and RNA levels and southern analyses were carried out to assess the copy numbers. Multiple insertions were observed in lines developed with five gene construct. Hence they were back crossed with Wt for getting lines having single insertions. Single copy insertions were observed in line developed with the construct having two gene cassette with rpk and nced genes. Selected elite lines were tested in field by inducing the abiotic stress by not administering the water in pots. Transgenics could survive more number of days when compared to the control plants.

These two different lines of transgenics having Ascorbate-glutothione pathway genes in one and ABA pathway genes in the other are more important to survive in the severe drought conditions. The pyramiding of all these genes into plants by breeding programme helps a lot to have the improved tolerance to drought alone or to a combination if drought and heat stresses by having the genes which play key roles in two important biochemical pathways involved in abiotic stress management.

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Compact linear fresnel reflector technology (CLFR) for solar thermal power generation and process heat

Project Investigators

  • Prasanna Mujumdar

    IIT Bombay, Mumbai
  • R. R. Sonde

    Thermax India, Pune
  • Werner Platzer

    Fraunhofer ISE, Freiburg
  • Thomas Kuckelkorn

    Schott Solar GmbH, Jena

Project Summary

The objective of the project is to develop a low cost concentrating collector for production of medium temperature heat, designed for Indian climate, cost and production conditions. This will be a technology solution for affordable solar energy in distributed power generation which is necessary in India, and as fuel saver in feed water preheating applications of large thermal power plants mainly operated by coal.

The development of such a collector is considered as an innovative solution in the field of low cost renewable energy production. It is also environmentally friendly technology as carbon dioxide emissions will be avoided by these installations. The cooperative nature of the project combines technological know-how on the Indian and German sides on specific issues, thus aiming at a unique adapted technology solution for the Indian market.

The project seeks to develop industrial scale Linear Fresnel Reflector (ILFR) designed with high accuracy for meeting the temperature requirements between 250 – 300oC. Compact Linear Fresnel Reflector System (CLFR) comprises of a series of long, narrow, shallow-curvature (almost flat) mirrors that focus light onto a linear receiver positioned above the mirrors. A small reflector can be attached on top of the receiver to further focus the incoming solar radiation. CLFR system promises lower overall costs due to ground level laid reflectors, while still using the simple line-focus geometry with one axis for tracking. Two major applications of this range in temperature is for (a) High end industrial heating applications (60% of the industrial heating is 150 – 220oC while 25% process heating require 220 – 300oC) and, (b) For providing heat into the coal based thermal power plant cycle which ultimately converts this solar energy into electricity through an indirect regenerative cycle integration. Both these applications are very critical in terms of saving of fossil fuel, CO2 reduction and the most optimum way of integrating renewable energy into the existing fossil systems.

Specifically this project envisages setting up of a 250kWth CLFR facility and integrating the same with an existing thermal power unit. The demonstration project is being setup alongside the thermal power unit at the Heavy Water Plant (Department of Atomic Energy, Govt. of India) at Manuguru, Andhra Pradesh, India.

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NDT DATA FUSION: Visualization of automated multi-sensor NDT assessment of concrete structures

Project Investigators

  • P Srinivasan

    CSIR - Structural Engineering Research Centre (CSIR - SERC), Chennai
  • Krishna Mohan Reddy

    Lucid Software Limited (Lucid), Chennai
  • Herbert Wiggenhauser

    BAM - Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und - prüfung, Berlin
  • Andre Molkenthin

    Specht, Kalleja + Partner GmbH, Berlin

Project Summary

The regular inspection of concrete structures is necessary to assess their condition and get data to serve as a base for planning maintenance and repair.

Concrete inspection for structure (damages) and material properties (deterioration) is not possible with a single method approach. Effects of deterioration processes and structural changes are non-uniform in nature and must be addressed by a multi-method approach

Robot and scanner systems have facilitated the collection of high quality multi-sensory data. Nevertheless, individual sensor data is often independently analyzed and compared against the data from other sensors at decision level.

Thus, the potential of multi-sensory information is typically not fully realized. Fusing multi-sensory data can close this gap and pave the way for automated evaluation of multimodal data sets

Honeycombing defects (Honeycombs are porous volumes of coarse grain aggregates bonded together by cement) are formed when the fresh concrete ingredients segregate and also due to poor workmanship.

Detection and characterization of honeycombs is a challenging inspection task due to their strong variability in size, shape, position, orientation and density. Moreover, unlike voids of the comparable size, honeycombs introduce a gradual and volumetrically distributed change in material properties.

The main goals of the project were:

  1. To develop and Implement automated scanner system for data collection using multi-sensor (Ground Penetrating Radar(GPR), Ultrasonic Pulse Echo (UPE), and Impact Echo (IE)).
  2. Development of software tool for visualization of data using data fusion technique by combining radar, ultrasonic pulse echo and impact echo.
  3. Evaluation of various inclusions, defects, thickness and voids in concrete structures using multi-sensor techniques.
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IN-DEUS: Integration of non-destructive evaluation based ultrasonic simulation

Project Investigators

  • D Roy Mahapatra

    Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore
  • Dwarkanath Krishnamurthy

    Tech Mahindra, Bangalore
  • Christian Boller

    University of Saarland, Saarbrücken
  • Rainer Franke

    IMA, Dresden

Project Summary

A means to optimize structural design and specifically the structural health monitoring (SHM) systems associated to those is achieved by simulation. Many of the simulation tools and algorithms for SHM have been developed at disparate locations and for specific applications.

The wide field of SHM encompassing subjects such as materials, structures, fatigue and fracture, physical principles of non-destructive testing (NDT), and possibly much more requires a thorough configuration of networked simulation tools and algorithms leading to something being considered as an open platform for SHM systems simulation and configuration. The main objective of INDEUS is as follows:

  1. Establish a simulation platform in non-destructive evaluation (NDE) with an emphasis on SHM
  2. Facilitate the understanding of physical parameters travelling through arbitrary structures
  3. Identify an optimum transducer configuration for structures to become self-monitoring in the sense of SHM.

The overall outcome from the project is the simulation platform and the demonstrated processes that will help to create SHM based concept of designing structures and develop necessary processes for realizing such concept in an actual hardware and further to meet the emerging application needs in the aerospace and infrastructure industries.

The project established an SHM simulation process flow which was verified with the help of various commercial tools, simulation data and experimental tests developed by respective partners. To bridge the existing gaps in the simulation process, which are in the areas of data integration process, ultrasonic sensor network design and signal simulations, an Ultrasonic NDE-SHM Simulation Software was developed by IISc. The software tool developed is proposed to be used further in extensive simulation and computational benchmarking efforts with industries including Airbus.

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NPORE: Development, characterisation and validation of nanoparticles for the adsorption of hydrophobic uremic toxins in renal failure patients

Project Investigators

  • Sarada D Tetali

    University of Hyderabad, Hyderabad
  • Joachim Jankowski

    Charité, Universitätsmedizin Berlin
  • Karl Kratz

    Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht Institute of Biomateral Science, Berlin
  • Horst-Dieter Lemke

    eXcorLab GmbH, Obemburg

Project Summary

Patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) and also those on dialysis (CKD-5D) show an increased cardiovascular mortality and morbidity due to several risk factors including hyperphosphataemia, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, anaemia, dyslipidemia and uremic retention solutes toxicity.

Protein-bound uremic toxins, such as phenylacetic acid, indoxyl sulfate and p-cresylsulfate contribute substantially to the progression of chronic kidney disease and cardiovascular disease (CVD). However, based on their protein-binding these hydrophobic toxins are poorly cleared during conventional hemodialysis or even hemodiafiltration and thus accumulate in CKD-5Dpatients. Therefore, this project aims at the development, characterisation and validation of adsorbant particles for the removal of uremic toxins from plasma of chronic renal failure patients.

The primary task of the kidneys is the elimination of urinary waste products. The kidneys from patients with chronic renal failure are not able to perform this task. It is well known that life expectancy in renal failure is markedly diminished not only due to the symptoms commonly known as "uremic syndrome", but also due to considerably increased cardiovascular mortality. By dialysis this condition can be alleviated, although current dialysis techniques still are far away from replacing the natural elimination of uremic toxins by the kidneys.

Dialysis is based on the principles of diffusion and filtration; the dialysis membranes currently used solely act as filtering membranes. The major drawbacks of current dialysis are related to these principles of action: By filtration and diffusion with a cut-off lower than 18 kDa preferably low molecular weight hydrophilic substances are eliminated, whereas macromolecules as well as protein-bound small molecules are largely retained in the blood plasma. A better understanding on the interaction of uremic toxins with blood proteins and the equilibrium between protein bound toxins and non-protein bound toxins can be controlled is expected to lead to a more effective dialysis.

The elimination of protein-bound hydrophobic low molecular uremic toxins is highly important, since cardiovascular disease with end-stage renal failure thought to be associated with low molecular hydrophobic toxin substances, which are poorly removed by dialysis. These substances have a very low solubility in the aqueous dialysis medium due to their hydrophobicity. Moreover, they exhibit a high degree of protein binding capacity to plasma proteins in case of chronic renal failure patients and can not be removed , because the protein/toxin complex is larger than the cut-off of dialysis membranes. Thus, only the non-protein-bound portion of the respective uremic toxin is removed. Up to now there are no routine methods available to eliminate these low molecular hydrophobic substances from the plasma of dialysis patients. The possibility to increase the pores of the dialysis membranes is limited by the necessity to retain plasma proteins (e.g. albumin) due to their important physiological actions.

The goal of this consortium is development/modification, characterisation and validation of adsorbing material to remove the uremic toxins from serum of renal failure patients. In the development of more effective dialysis techniques, a first step has done is to increase not only life expectancy of renal failure patients, but also their quality of life. E. g., the development of portable dialysis devices crucially depends on more effective elimination techniques allowing sufficient toxin elimination also with lower blood flows than currently used.

Within the experimental design of the NPORE project, project consortium proved that PEI-PVP-I microparticles have a high dewetting contact angle (47°±8), thus a predominant antifouling character is ensured. Next to it, PEI-PVP-I microparticles present suitable hemocompatibility and cytotoxicity as well as higher binding affinity for UTs, thus, PEI-PVP-I microparticles can confidently be considered as a good candidate for further adsorption experiments.

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DNDHCSA: Design and Development of Hollow Crankshaft for Automobiles

Project Investigators

  • Naresh Chandra Murmu

    CSIR-Central Mechanical Engineering Research Institute, Durgapur
  • Rajkumar P Singh

    Bharat Forge Limited, Pune
  • A Sterzing

    Fraunhofer - IWU, Chemnitz
  • I Seidel

    Seidel Werekzeugbau GmbH, Erbisdorf

Project Summary

The awareness of climate change and the limited availability of resources demands reconsideration of the resources used in vehicle production. Also according to the current scenario of automotive industries, designers are focusing on the development of lightweight, compact and high pressure engines.

This demands downsizing of the engine components without compromising its strength. The consistent use of lightweight components in conventional automobile leads to a reduction in fuel consumption and also to a reduction in CO2 emissions.

The objective of the project is development of a new, innovative design for lightweight crankshaft (an automobile engine component) and efficient manufacturing process of the developed lightweight crankshaft. Real prototypes will be produced by appropriate and cost-effective manufacturing technologies. With the help of the prototypes, achievable effects regarding lightweight design, increase of manufacturing efficiency, cost minimization, its performance etc. will be validated and further potentials will be estimated.

Deliverables

  1. Design - Definition of specifications, shaft design, design evaluation (simulation) / optimization
  2. Development of Process Chain - identification / evaluation of processes, feasibility studies / optimization, definition of appropriate process chain
  3. Realization of prototypes - Design / construction / testing of required tools / rigs, prototyping, optimization loops
  4. Evaluation of Prototype Shafts - Prototype tests (test rigs, real cars), identification of optimization approaches, optimization loops

Progress achieved in the progress were base crankshaft finalization, conceptual design and manufacturing process, crankshaft material selection, hollow crankshaft segment dummies, crankshaft geometrical design, prototype manufacturing.

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