Scientists at a new competence center at the Johannes Kepler University Linz are re-thinking chemical process technologies and making them fit for the future.
Life is chemistry and we encounter it every day. From plastic bags to modern industrial plants, the demands on the industry are enormous and include continually creating flexible processes as part of industry 4.0, global competition and simultaneously sustainable production methods and environmentally friendly products.
This balancing act between business and social conditions is a challenge – one which the JKU wants to face head-on. The CHASE (Chemical Systems Engineering) consortium was able to impress an international jury as part of a call published by the Austrian Research Promotion Agency and was awarded funding for a new competence center.
Univ. Prof. Christian Paulik (Institute of Chemical Technology of Organic Substances) remarked, "I am very happy that together with our partners, we have been able to create this competence center for the JKU. Various projects - including the efficient use of plastic waste streams and developing new sensors to improve chemical plant control - will make valuable contributions to improving sustainable industrial processes."
Bringing Business and the University Together
The consortium at the new CHASE competence center includes 24 business companies and 14 scientific partners. The center will focus on intensifying processes, process digitization and process cycle optimization. Another advantage of the proximity to the JKU is that CHASE can use the LIT Factory’s infrastructure, Austria's only 4.0 industrial processing pilot factory.
CHASE is one of three newly approved competence centers. The federal government will be spending a total of 26 million euros. At the COMET Center (K1), the federal government supports collaboration between universities and companies. The term is eight years; funding by the federal and state governments is limited to a maximum of 55% of the total volume. Company partners have to contribute a minimum of 40% of the costs. The rest is financed by the scientific partners.
Margarete Schramböck, Minister of Economic Affairs, and Norbert Hofer, Minister of Infrastructure, added: "COMET is a success story of collaboration between business and academia. These centers of excellence will further advance the expertise needed in order for our economy to become more competitive."