The past year 2022 unfortunately began for us with a sad event. On January 24, our founding father and long-time Managing Director, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Manfred Neitzel, passed away. With his positive attitude and creative energy, but above all with his special talent for motivating the people entrusted to his care, he shaped our organization from the very beginning and laid the foundation for our success. We think back to him with great appreciation and gratitude.
In the spring of 2022, unfortunately, Russia’s terrible war of aggression on Ukraine also began, the terrible effects of which we also feel in the research landscape. We were all the more pleased to be able to host Prof. Nataliia Hudzenko and Dr. Maryna Novitska, two outstanding Ukrainian visiting scientists who ideally complement our team.
A very important pillar of our business is technology transfer. We were also successful with spin-offs in 2022: The IVW spin-off Evolime GmbH, which develops and markets innovative spoke wheels made of composite materials, was awarded the “Founder of the Year” prize by the Science and Innovation Alliance. The new spin-off project “isitec composites” convinced the expert jury of the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Action (BMWK) with its business idea of com-posite tubes for the transport of gaseous hydrogen, thus clearing the way for funding of around € 900,000 over a period of 2 years.
Another pillar of technology transfer and an expression of the creativity of our employees are our patents, a selection of which can be found in this report on page 80. In 2022, we were particularly pleased to receive the “Space Sustainability Award” from the European Space Agency (ESA) for the concept of the “next generation self-cremating satellite” developed by our scientific employee Esha. There were 221 applications for this award. Our students also developed new ideas: Our “Con- genial Composite Carrier” competition was about innovative means of transpor-tation made of fiber composites. Rubber and wind-powered vehicles, radio-controlled electric cars with carbon fiber chassis and sandwich constructions with 3D-printed components with winch drive achieved speeds of over 80 km/h (page 78).
The use of fiber composites for efficient hydrogen tech-nology is the subject of important research projects. For example, we are working on particularly lightweight and functionally integrated storage systems that will be indispensable for tomorrow’s means of transportation. Examples of this can be found in the project descrip-tions in this report (CF Hydro, page 23, TPC-H2-Storage, page 53). We are also upgrading our building to use environmentally friendly energy sources and particularly efficient energy use. We are pleased to have received a grant from the state of Rhineland-Palatinate that will enable us to install photovoltaics and modernize our lighting systems and server infrastructure, among other things.
A highlight of the year was the commissioning of our new large press, which also enables us to investigate and optimize the production of larger fiber composite structures. It is possible to process continuous fiber-reinforced thermoplastics, which we will also expand in 2023 by combining it with injection molding. This com-pletes our capabilities installed in the “Thermoplastic Composites Technology Center (TTC)” for the design, manufacture and characterization of thermoplastic fiber composites.
Visit us and be inspired by this report on the potential of composites!
Ulf Breuer & Pascal Sadaune