The Best Collaboration of 2017 goes to the Centre of Materials and Nanotechnologies, Faculty of Chemical Technology, University of Pardubice and PARDAM

3. 5. 2017

On Tuesday 30 May, Prague hosted the announcement of the 6th year of the competition for the best project in research, development and innovations based on successful collaboration between a research higher education institution and the application sphere.

The Best Collaboration of 2017 Prize was awarded to the team of Dr.-Ing. Jan Macák from the Centre of Materials and Nanotechnologies (CEMNAT), Faculty of Chemical Technology, University of Pardubice, and PARDAM, s.r.o.

The announcement of this year’s competition for The Best Collaboration took place on Tuesday 30 May 2017 at 6.30 p.m. in Erste Premier Centre (Rytířská 29) in Prague. The ceremony also included a panel discussion on science commercialization.

According to a special jury, the best projects of this year were in the areas of nanotechnologies, veterinary medicine, and agricultural production. “I am glad that the award winning projects belong to the category of cutting-edge research and at the same time deliver real practical and effective solutions to our current problems,” said Petr Očko, Chairman of the Technology Agency of the Czech Republic, which organizes the competition together with the Association for Foreign Investments AFI and the American Chamber of Commerce in the Czech Republic.

The several years’ collaboration between the teams from the Centre of Materials and Nanotechnologies, Faculty of Chemical Technology, University of Pardubice, and PARDAM, who received the first prize in this year’s competition, resulted in the development of a unique sorption material based on silica fibres, whose surface and sorption properties significantly exceed both standard nanofibre materials as well as commonly used sorbents. The new technological process for industrial production of advanced nanostructure silica fibres became the basis for a joint patent of the University of Pardubice and PARDAM No. 306370 granted on 9 November 2016 by the Industrial Property Office. 

“A sorbent with exceptional properties was developed. The fibres produced by the new technology have high chemical and thermal resistance, extremely large specific surface and are of a mesoporous nature, which makes them excellent sorbents,” Dr-Ing. Jan Macák explains the benefits of the newly developed fibres.

“The new patent will help PARDAM produce enough material to cover the growing needs of customers. At the same time, the production process was optimized and the fibres produced have reproducible parameters and properties, regardless of whether 1 kilogram or 1 tonne is produced,” says Dr.-Ing. Jan Macák, who was behind the new technological process of production of silica fibres together with his team and the team from PARDAM s.r.o. He further describes the principle and use:

“The purpose of the fibre material is to cover the demand for sorption materials with high specific surface. Compared with standard sorbents on the market, the fibre sorbent features not only higher sorption capacity, i.e. it is capable of absorbing more water, but also easy and more energy efficient regeneration. All these parameters make it a material with a high added value. In practice this means that for example in places where it is desirable to decrease air humidity such as archives, museums, or special production plants for electronics, it will not be necessary to change sorbents so frequently. Moreover, these sorbents can be reused after relatively simple regeneration. This brings savings in terms of significantly lower costs and energy requirements.”

The new sorption material has a great potential in various catalyst applications, as a carrier of precious metal particles, as a highly resistant battery separator, or as a special chemical and heat-resistant filter material in many sectors such as electronics, food, or chemical industry. The sorbent is now produced on an industrial scale in modern production facilities of PARDAM s.r.o. in Roudnice nad Labem by centrifugal fibre spinning. The production process is subject to the patent.

The collaboration on the development and of the new material lasted three years. The collaboration included regular production tests in the premises of PARDAM s.r.o., which gradually moved from laboratory tests to semi-operational test and finally operational tests. At the same time, the new product was characterized in the CEMNAT centre in Pardubice.

The Centre of Materials and Nanotechnologies (CEMNAT), Faculty of Chemical Technology, University of Pardubice, focuses on scientific and research activity in material sciences with an emphasis on photonics, electronics, photovoltaics, and catalysis. The know-how and modern equipment of the Centre provides synergic opportunities for external users, research organizations, industries, and last but not least the large group of researchers and students from the Faculty of Chemical Technology and other material-oriented departments.

Dr.-Ing. Jan Macák is the leading researcher at the Centre of Materials and Nanotechnologies, Faculty of Chemical Technology, University of Pardubice. He is one of the most cited living Czech chemists, he is the author and co-author of more than 90 publications, most of which focus on self-organized metal oxide nanotubes made of for example titanium dioxide. In 2008 he completed his doctorate in material science at FAU Erlangen in Bavaria. After that he worked for several years in the nanotechnology industry. In 2014 as the only scientist from the Czech Republic he received financial support from the European Research Council (ERC) under the HORIZON 2020 programme, which focuses on the development of disciplines with high social demand. He succeeded with his CHROMTISOL project focusing on physical and material sciences. This multidisciplinary project brings a new concept of solar cells combining titania nanotubes with suitable inorganic and organic chromophores in order to achieve efficient conversion of solar energy to electrical energy. For outstanding scientific results and as a recognition for his scientific and research work, in 2015 he received the prestigious Neuron Award for scientists younger than forty years in the area of chemistry. The team of Dr.-Ing. Jan Macák has been involved in many international collaborations, projects, publications, and patents.

PARDAM s.r.o. is a Czech company that specializes in the development of nanofibre materials and their subsequent production and functionalization for the purposes of specific products and applications. The company has focused on the development and production of nanofibre materials since 2009 and has extensive experience in the technology of centrifugal fibre spinning used in continuous production of nanofibre materials. On an industrial scale, the company utilizes the centrifugal fibre spinning technology using polymer solutions and melts. The company owns three different types of spinning technologies which have been fine-tuned for use in functional devices capable of processing various types of polymers, thereby offering a wide range of products. The company holds several patents and patent applications. Currently, the company is successful in the commercialization of a number of nanofibre-based products, both in cooperation with partners and individually. The main added value of the company is the transfer of the results of laboratory research into industrial practice and specific finished products. PARDAM is part of the NANOPROGRESS cluster and the Czech Nanotechnology Industries Association. The company has received many awards, for example at TechConnect World 2017 in Washington (15 May 2017) the company received the Tech Connect Innovation Award.

The University of Pardubice has recently become member of the NANOPROGRESS cluster through the Centre of Materials and Nanotechnologies.

The Best Collaboration of 2017 is organized by the Association for Foreign Investments – AFI and the American Chamber of Commerce in the Czech Republic, and co-organized by the Technology Agency of the Czech Republic. The patronage over the 6th year was taken by the Deputy Prime Minister of the Czech Republic for science, research and innovations Pavel Bělobrádek, Minister of Education, Youth and Sports, and Minister of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic. The partners of the project are Česká Spořitelna and the Business and Investment Development Agency CzechInvest. The event was also supported by the South Moravian Innovation Centre, website on science and research Vě, Confederation of Industry of the Czech Republic, and Zátiší Group.

For details about the scientific project and patent contact
Dr.-Ing. Jan Macák
Centre of Materials and Nanotechnologies (CEMNAT), Faculty of Chemical Technology, University of Pardubice

Prof. Ing. Miroslav Vlček, CSc.
Head of the Centre of Materials and Nanotechnologies (CEMNAT), Faculty of Chemical Technology, University of Pardubice
telephone 466 037 150

Media contact for the announcement of The Best Collaboration of 2017 on 30 May 2017 in Prague:
Sebastián Poche
Project Manager, R&D and Innovations
Association for Foreign Investments – AFI
+420 602 686 607

Ing. Valerie Wágnerová
Spokeswoman, University of Pardubice