In October, the University of Ljubljana selected the fourth generation of winners of the University of Ljubljana Innovation Fund call for proposals. As in previous years, the aim of this year’s call was to support promising projects, technologies, or solutions to already identified challenges, and to help them move into industry. To this end, the University of Ljubljana has earmarked €100,000 to support the transfer of intellectual property into the economy, with the aim of improving the quality of life in Slovenia and internationally.

This year, the evaluation committee selected four projects for co-funding, three of which were innovations developed by researchers from the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering:

  1. TEcomfort: Compact unit for low temperature heating and cooling systems

The team members of the Laboratory for Refrigeration and District Energy (LAHDE), Prof. Dr Andrej Kitanovski, Dr Katja Klinar and Katja Vozel, have been awarded €25,000 for the TEComfort innovation in the Call for Proposals. for the TEcomfort innovation. The TEcomfort compact supplementary unit for heating systems allows you to switch to a low-temperature heating system without retrofitting internal heating systems or making major changes to existing buildings and heating systems. The supplementary heating unit is a compact thermoelectric heat pump that uses significantly less primary energy than electric and gas heaters and therefore has a smaller carbon footprint. The invention described here raises the temperature of the water supplying the heating system locally to the optimum temperature for the heating element in an energy-efficient manner.

  1. IceJet: Clean cutting technology with ice abrasive waterjet with reduced environmental impact

Co-funding in the amount of EUR 25,000 was also awarded to members of the Laboratory for Alternative Technologies (LAT) – assist. dr. Marko Jerman, izr. prof. dr. Joško Valentinčič, doc. dr. Andrej Lebar, doc. dr. Izidor Sabotin and Pavel Drešar, who submitted a project to the call for proposals entitled “IceJet: Clean cutting technology with ice abrasive waterjet with reduced environmental impact”.

In practice, we often come across products that need to be kept clean after cutting. For materials that are more difficult to cut (thicker metals, nuts, bones) we use a combination of water jet and mineral abrasive grit, which allows us to cut virtually any material while leaving the grit particles behind. LAT researchers have developed a cutting technology that uses granular ice instead of sand grains at very low temperatures (below -100°C). The advantage of this technology is that it can cut harder materials while maintaining cleanliness. It is also an environmentally friendly solution as ice melts easily after use compared to sand, which is 99% solid waste. An additional advantage is that the grain can be produced locally, eliminating transport costs and market dependency.

  1. Cyber-physical system for advanced Li-ion battery internal state prediction 

The members of the Laboratory for Internal Combustion Engines and Electromobility (LICeM), prof. dr. Tomaž Katrašnik, doc. dr. Chowdhury Haque Amer Amor, dr. Klemen Zelič, Igor Mele, Andraž Kravos and Ivo Pačnik, with the project Cyber-physical system for advanced prediction of internal states in Li-ion batteries, were also awarded funding in the amount of €25,000.

The aim of the project is to develop, manufacture and demonstrate for the first time a more accurate capability to monitor, diagnose and therefore control and manage batteries and battery systems on a global scale. The Cyber-physical system for advanced Li-ion battery internal state prediction, which will go significantly beyond the state of the art, will enable the first demonstration of cutting-edge Li-ion battery internal state prediction functionalities based on scientific breakthroughs and with high commercial potential. The authors’ excellence in one of the key areas for achieving a green and digital transition is confirmed by their participation in key EU projects in this field.

These awards clearly demonstrate that research and innovation in mechanical engineering reflects the relevance and importance of addressing today’s challenges. Congratulations to all the fund winners!


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