(193c) Engineering Innovation By Design: The Uniheat Project

Authors: 
Macchietto, S., Imperial College London
Coletti, F., Brunel University London
Taking new ideas from the generation and research stages to technology development and successful commercialization and deployment is notoriously not easy. The usual approach is to first do the fundamental research, then the R&D, then prototype and product development, followed by trials, market research, business development and, if and when all above works well, commercialization through licensing, sale or new company formation. In engineering, this usually takes years.

One way of accelerating the process described above is to create a structure for a research project that enables many ideas to be worked on at the same time, that actively promotes a close collaboration and exchange between researchers and industrial end-users from the outset, and one where technology delivery issues are considered early and in parallel with technology generation. A practical example of implementation of such an innovative approach is represented by the UNIHEAT project which focused on improving energy efficiency in oil refining and brought together one of the largest multidisciplinary teams in the area worldwide comprising 8 academics from Imperial College London and 5 distinguished researchers from the Boreskov Institute of Catalysis in Novosibirsk, Russia with funding from the Skolkovo Foundation and BP. The success stories of this innovative technology transfer model are discussed in this presentation.

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