All posts by netme


Heat exchanger test room

The basis of the test chamber device with the dimensions 4x4x3 m and was made strictly in accordance with the Czech technical standard DIN EN 442-2 “Radiators: tests and evaluation”, which is the Czech version of the European Standard EN 442-2:1996. The whole device is designed to fully suit cited standard and thus allow measurement of heat output heaters in accordance with applicable legislation.

The operation of the test facility is secured by a complex system of heat pump, reservoirs of heat and cold, electric boiler, air handling and distribution systems in walls, floors and ceiling of the chamber. With the help of these components and a special computer program it is possible, basically in automatic mode, to measure and evaluate the performance of the heating or cooling element placed in the test chamber circle.

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Production of hollow polymer fibers

Within NETME project by Division of Power, Process and Environmental Eng. the unique pilot line was built which consists of laboratory extruder 18 m with length 26 D supplemented by melt pump, both useable up to temperatures 400 °C, cooling section with forced air flow, draw and pull-out bench equipped with optical measure device and coil unit. The production line is set for processing of thermoplastic polymers to hollow fibers which are used for design and manufacturing of heat exchangers preferentially. The fibers are produced in range of OD 0,5 – 1,5 mm with wall thickness 0,05 – 0,2 mm. Polyolefins (HDPE, PP), polyamides (PA11, PA12, , PA612, PA66), polyesters (PC, PET), fluoropolymers (PVDF, ETFE) a HT polymers (PPA, PPS, PAI, PEEK, PSU) are among the processed polymers. With respect to type of processed polymer the technology can be variable for achievement of required quality.

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Minolta DSC

Laboratory of thermo‑physical properties

Unique device for measuring thermo-physical properties from room temperatures up to 1300 ° C in inert atmosphere was purchased within NETME project by Division of Power, Process and Environmental Eng. The device is intended for measuring the thermal diffusivity and volumetric heat capacity of solid materials with a diameter of 12.7 mm and a thickness of 1.5-3 mm. Measurement is performed in a ceramic furnace, either under high vacuum to temperatures of 400 °C or in a protective atmosphere at temperatures up to 1300 °C. Powerful laser pulse and extremely sensitive infrared sensor, which is cooled with liquid nitrogen, are used during measurements. The measurement results are the thermal diffusivity and volumetric heat capacity dependent on the temperature. Thermal conductivity is easy to calculate from these values. These material properties are used for the computer simulations for example in the automotive and metallurgical industries where metals and other materials are processed and used at elevated or very high temperatures.

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Laboratory of separation processes

The modern equipment with which the laboratory is equipped enables research in the field of bulk materials and suspensions. The instrumentation enables efficient sorting of bulk materials into individual size fractions, homogenization of suspensions and optical observation of transparent materials to determine the crystal structures. In the laboratory, we are also able to determine the size fractions distribution and frequency in bulk materials and suspensions after mechanical operations such as for example crushing or grinding. Last but not least, we are able to experimentally determine the pore size and permeability in samples that contain open pores. This is especially suitable for assessing the filtering capabilities of various filtering ceramic, metal and plastic materials.

The laboratory of separation processes has the following equipment:

Thinky ARV-310 Planetary Centrifugal Vacuum Mixer is a device for mixing of water-like liquids, pastes, powders, mixtures of high and low viscosities. It can also mix adhesives, inks, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, nano-particles, precious metal fillers etc. Combining vacuum pressure reduction function with rotation and revolution mixing enables efficient elimination of submicron-level air bubbles. With rotation and revolution movement under vacuum pressure reduction, deaeration of high-viscosity materials, which was considered difficult, can now be performed with excellent quality. The processing time can be further reduced compared to the atmospheric mixer. In terms of operation, the centrifugal force of revolution during the mixing process suppresses the material within the container, eliminating the need to keep an eye on the material so that it does not overflow, as is needed with static vacuum chambers. The maximum weight of the mixed material is 310 g, standard containers are of 300 cm3.

The Porometer 3Gz is suitable for the analysis gas permeability and pore size of a sample.  The device comprises two modules: the Control / CPU module and the Sample Holder module. For measure the pore size distribution of a sample is used a liquid of low surface tension (Quantachrome POROFIL) displacement technique. By monitoring the pressure of gas applied to the sample and the flow of gas through the sample when liquid is being expelled, a “wet” run is obtained for the sample. If the sample is then tested “dry” without liquid in its pores, a “dry” run is obtained. By comparing the flows on the ‘wet’ run with those from the “dry” run, the pore size distribution can be calculated. The number distributions are presented in the overall size range of approximately 500 micrometers diameter down to < 0.05 micrometers diameter. Gas Permeability is the measurement of the flow rate per unit area at one or more preset pressures through a known area and thickness of dry sample and for a selected data acquisition time period.

Air jet sieve ALPINE e200 LS is suitable for the analysis of any dry particulate matter with a sample size of 0.3 to 100 g. The device fulfill DIN EN 9001 standard. Material is set into motion only by air and therefore any of its qualities is not affected. The particles are blow upward by an airblade rotating arm (18 rpm) where the agglomerates should be broken when hitting the cover, particles are then sucked by negative pressure (1500-5500 Pa according to settings) through the loosen sieve openings. Various sieves are available fulfilling DIN ISO 3310-1 with a mesh size of 20, 45, 63, 90, 125, 200, 500, 1000, 1500 and 2000 µm. Part of the air jet sieve assembly are, apart from the L-type industrial vacuum cleaner, especially Sartorius TE 802 laboratory scales and GAZ 120 high performance cyclone for almost complete under-sieve fraction collection without any contamination.

Olympus BX 41 light microscope is a special type of microscope which measures the light passed through the sample. So, this microscope suitable especially for translucent incompact samples i.e. granular materials and powders such as cement etc. it is suitable especially for the characterization of particle morphology of granular materials.  A new, precise-motion stage is available with tactile X-Y-control knob which enables convenient movement over the sample and display of required parts of it. Continuous observation over the wide objective magnification range from 1.25x to 100x is possible without condenser change.

Malvern Mastersizer 2000 is device for perform particle size measurement using tha laser diffraction method. Particle size is important for understanding the properties and behavior of different types of materials. Measurement can be conducted in two ways. First way is so called wet method, where the sample is inserted into the solution, which is passed through the measuring cell. Second way is so called dry method, where the sample is inserted on a boat, from this boat is sprinkled into the system and drifting into the measuring cell. The accuracy of measurement is influenced by several factors. Laser diffraction method assumes ideal spherical particle shape and the resultant distributions are converted to volume. This means, that the distribution curve is shifted towards the larger particles if between small particles is included one bigger particle. The result is thus distorted. The next factor is the optimal setting measurement methods so called SOP (standard operating procedure). Particle size in the range from 0.02 to 2000 microns is able to measure by the optical drive. The measuring principle is based on Mie scatter.

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Laboratory of cooling and heat treatment

The laboratory is capable designing water cooling headers for interstand cooling at hot strip mills, for secondary cooling units for continuous casting, for work roll cooling, for hydraulic descaling, and for heat treatment. The design is optimized by using a laboratory test benches where cooling intensities are measured. A numerical model of a finishing mill can predict the final temperature drops for various combinations of cooling headers.

Test bench with horizontal linear movement was developed for simulation of cooling sections in a real plant. It allows experimental study of spray cooling for various nozzle types, pressures or header configurations for coolant temperatures in range of 20-90°C. The cooling intensity given by heat transfer coefficient distribution is gained from the experiments and used to create a numerical model of the temperature field in the cooled material. It allows upper, bottom, and side cooling of the samples. The moving distance is 7 m and maximum velocity is 10 m/s.

Test bench with vertical linear movement was developed for the simulation of the cooling of thin sheets in continuous annealing lines. The moving distance is 2.8 m and maximum velocity is 5 m/s.

Two experimental rolls were developed for study of work roll cooling. The bigger roll has diameter 650 mm and it is equipped with 8 temperature sensors with pitch 50 mm. The smaller roll has diameter 350 mm and it is equipped with 6 temperature sensors with pitch 80 mm. The maximum velocity is 10 m/s.

Test bench for study of secondary cooling during continuous casting simulates in the laboratory the relative movement of the tested specimen and the spraying nozzles. The specimen for the test is made of an austenitic plate (600x320x25 mm) with a set of thermocouples inset. The specimen heating temperature is 1200 °C. The maximum moving velocity is 8 m/min.

Test bench for spray impact pressure distribution measurement was built for study of spray distribution. It is possible to use two types of sensors: embedded in plate and free in space. Various sizes of sensors can be used from 0.2 mm up to 12 mm. The scanning area is 650×1500 mm.

The laboratory is equipped with several water pumps where the big one can deliver 45 l/s at 1 MPa and the water pressure can go up to 1.8 MPa. The high-water pressure pump can deliver 2 l/s at 40 MPa.

Various electric heaters and furnaces are available for heating the samples. The largest furnace is for heating samples up to 950x540x390 mm and up to 1300 °C.

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Profesor Jiří Klemeš_foto Igor Šefr_VUT

Professor Jiří Jaromír Klemeš passed away

Professor Jiří Jaromír Klemeš passed away. A distinguished scientist with extensive international experience, he returned to his Czech alma mater at the end of his career to establish and lead the team of the Sustainable Process Integration Laboratory (SPIL) at the NETME Centre.

Jiří Jaromír Klemeš was born in 1945 in Brno. He studied mechanical and chemical engineering at the Brno University of Technology, where he received his PhD in 1977. He then spent decades abroad, among others at universities in Great Britain, Poland, Hungary and China. In 2017, he returned to Brno, where he has managed to build an internationally renowned research team within the NETME Centre, which uses applicable knowledge to contribute to greater efficiency in the process and energy industries, in particular to minimise the so-called greenhouse, nitrogen, energy and water footprints. Thanks to Professor Klemeš’s international reputation, the SPIL team has also been able to collaborate with major institutions abroad. The conference of the same name, which Klemeš and his team organised in Brno, was also very popular internationally.

The renowned researcher was one of the most cited scientists in the world. He has been ranked in the prestigious Highly Cited Researchers list, where Clarivate annually ranks the top one percent of the most cited scientists in the world, three times, in 2018, 2020 and 2022. His work has been recognized with numerous honorary professorships and doctorates, including by the University of Maribor, University of Pannonia, the Hungarian Catholic University of Peter Pázmány and the University of Technology Malaysia.

On the occasion of the Highly Cited Researchers 2022 award, an interview with Professor Klemes was published, which you can read here.

Jiří Klemeš_náhled_foto Igor šefr (2)

Jiří Klemeš of the BUT is among the one percent of the most cited scientists globally

Professor Jiří Klemeš, who works at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering of Brno University of Technology, ranks among the one percent of the most cited scientists in the world. Clarivate published today their prestigious Highly Cited Researchers list for 2022. Among the nearly seven thousand names from seventy countries, nine other Czech researchers are on the list, along with Professor Klemeš. Professor Klemeš appeared in the ranking for the third time, first in 2018 and then in 2020.

Professor Jiří Jaromír Klemeš has extensive foreign experience, having spent years at universities in Great Britain, Hungary and China. The renowned scientist returned to his Czech alma mater in 2017 to lead the team of the Laboratory of Process Integration for Sustainability (abbreviated to SPIL). Research focused on sustainability takes place in the NETME science center of the BUT Faculty of Mechanical Engineering.

According to Klemeš, the basis of successful research lies in multidisciplinarity. That is why he built his team in a way that covers a wide range of various fields. “Whatever you do, you always have to consider energy, water, emissions, waste and the impact on society. That is why our team also includes experts in geography or history. An exceptional scientific article creates a certain overlap and is interesting both for the broad scientific community and for wide public,” says Klemeš.

One of the successful professional texts that caught the attention of the world public was an article on impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on the environment. “I realized how much single-use plastic and waste is related to healthcare. And that burden increased during the pandemic even further. My colleagues and I calculated the impact of the pandemic on our waste management and proposed six possible research directions aimed at mitigating the potential burden of Covid on this area,” explains Klemeš.

Going to the heart of the problem

A typical characteristic feature of the whole SPIL team is the effort to obtain the broadest possible view, which often results in surprising answers. “For example, CO2 is of course a big issue that is talked about a lot. But if we look at it from a global perspective, we see that reduction of emissions created by industry or transportation alone is not the solution. Around 2080, 10.5 billion people are predicted to live on Earth. Every person breathes, has to eat, dwell somewhere, and requires some standard of living. If our small country in the heart of Europe manages to reduce its emissions, it will certainly help and it does matter. But the core of the problem lies somewhere else,” says Klemeš.

His team also monitors the trend of rural depopulation and population migration to cities. “Today, more than half of the planet’s population lives in cities. For cities, the main problem is not CO2, which is rather a global problem. In cities, there exists a much more pressing issue of pollution, such as nitrogen oxides or micro- and nanoparticles, which kill millions of people every year. And electromobility will not help us in that. A huge amount of these nanoparticles is produced by car tires, and it does not matter whether they are used on an electric car or a car equipped with a combustion engine,” explains Klemeš. That is why his team is now dealing with the issue of so-called smart cities, which should take these problems into account. According to Klemeš, new, more environmentally friendly technologies make sense, but it is necessary to avoid giving in to the feeling that everything what is new is completely trouble-free or emission-free.

Thanks to the international reputation of Professor Klemeš, the SPIL conference, which his team has been organising for the 6th year and which coincidentally is taking place in Brno these days, has also gained a lot of attention. “This year we have 324 authors of papers from 29 countries and very prestigious departments. Only a part of the participants were on site, namely 55, and another 132 joined remotely, so the conference is again a hybrid, which proved to be successful for us during the pandemic. I see a great future in this for the whole international scientific community, because sometimes it really doesn’t make sense to fly halfway across the planet for one or two days and back again,” believes Klemeš.

The United States leads the ranking

Clarivate publishes a list of the most cited scientists annually. This year, it embraced 6,938 names of researchers from around the world. Analysts select from the Web of Science database 1% of the most cited scientific articles in individual fields over the past ten years. According to the authors of the ranking, the upper percentage of the most cited papers can be interpreted as a sign that the given scientific contribution has an extraordinary impact.

In international comparison, the United States was by far the most successful, with 2,764 scientists from the entire list (i.e. 38.3% of the awardees). China ranked second with 1,169 researchers (16.2% of the awardees). Among the institutions, Harvard University from the USA has the most scientists on the list. The ranking for 2022 also includes ten researchers who belong to a Czech research institution.

The overall results of Highly Cited Researchers 2022 are available here.


The more international the better. The SPIL project moved to the next phase

Five years ago, the NETME Center presented a new scientific team, which, under the leadership of Professor Jiří J. Klemeš, began research on the efficiency of the process and energy industries. During this time, a truly international team of the Sustainable Process Integration Laboratory (SPIL) has established itself at the faculty. Even though the original project ends at the end of April, the well-run work continues.

0D7A6066International meeting of the SPIL project in April 2022 at FME (photo: Jiří Salik Sláma)

Achieve practical knowledge that will contribute to the greater efficiency of the industry. Contribute to the minimalis4ation of greenhouse gases, nitrogen oxides, and energy and water footprints. And also to build an internationally competitive research facility. The SPIL project, which the first phase ends by April this year, started in February 2017 with these considerable goals.

The success in the international scientific community exceeded Professor Klemeš’s expectations. “Instead of the planned 92 publications, we have 521, instead of six conferences we attended 118, and instead of eight lectures we had 336,” Klemeš sums up the team’s success. Prof. Klemeš himself is one of the most-cited scientists at the BUT and around the world.

The team was not stopped by a world pandemic, on the contrary. “During the pandemic, we all moved to a home office and our results have even improved. There was nothing else to do at home, so everyone worked, researched, wrote, published,” Klemeš praised.

0D7A5987Dean Jiří Hlinka also congratulated the team on its success (photo: Jiří Salik Sláma)

The pandemic affected the team’s work in other ways as well: reflected in the research topics. An article on plastics and the environmental burden associated with the pandemic, published in the journal Renewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews, was a great success not only in the scientific community but also in several mainstream media around the globe.

“If you want to be successful, you must not only do good science but also respond to the serious issues of the time. When we wrote the article about plastics at the time of the Covid-19, thousands of people outside the scientific community were interested, because the focus of our research had a big impact on a whole society,” says Klemes, adding that.

New blood

The SPIL team relies on the collaboration of scientists from all over the world. “The more international research, the better,” Klemeš believes and continues: “Research is a bit like genetics: and new blood is always beneficial. I’m glad our research team consists of scientists from all over the world: from Slovenia, through Malaysia to China,” he added.

In this context, the pandemic played a paradoxically positive role, teaching scientists worldwide the so-called hybrid format of conferences, where some participants and speakers arrive and some connect online. It saves time and emissions from transport, and for SPIL the hybrid format is probably the new standard of scientific meetings.

BUGA6307Professor Klemeš does not hesitate to call Dr. Yee Van Fan a “rising star” (photo: Jiří Salik Sláma)

Not only the international spirit, but the young blood are the basis of Klemeš’s philosophy. “Young researchers make a huge contribution, they need to create great working conditions so that they can discover something new. We managed to find such a background in SPIL,” says Klemeš, and five fresh Ph.D. holders in his lab give him the truth. For example, Dr. Yee Van Fan has been with the team for many years and despite her youth Professor Klemeš is proud of her high H-index and does not hesitate to call her the “rising star”.

The SPIL project has now ended its five-year funding from European funds. However, the team continues to work, during the sustainability second phase, currently working on, for example, the RESHeat project, which aims to show how to save energy effectively.

BUGA6331International meeting of the SPIL project in April 2022 at FME (photo: Jiří Salik Sláma)


They said about the SPIL project

“I use the knowledge of the SPIL team in my lecturing, among other things. And this is one of the intended consequences of this team’s work: sharing knowledge and educating the next generation. For me, working with SPIL is a great experience and I would like the team to continue what they do and how they contribute to the whole company.”

Professor Sandro Nižetić (University of Split, Croatia)

“SPIL is a world leader in sustainability and energy systems research. It is a hub of scientific innovations in Europe, attracting worldwide talents. I am very excited about collaborating with SPIL for this trans-Atlantic research collaboration to strengthen the tie of global knowledge exchange contributing to UN SDGs.”

Professor Fengqi You, Roxanne E. and Michael J. Zak Professor (Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, USA), A member of the Academic Advisory board

“I am very proud of the SPIL team and grateful for all the support and help.”

Profesor Paweł Ocłoń (Politechnika Krakowska, Poland), A member of the Academic Advisory board

“The SPIL-related conferences are held all over the world, moving to different countries, to different continents. And they’ve affected more people in the scientific community than they might think. They are the basis of a number of collaborations that are not directly related to SPIL, but could only have been created thanks to these events. This is SPIL’s contribution to the scientific community and a contribution to solving global problems.”

Professor Ferenc Friedler (Széchenyi István University, Hungary), A member of the Academic Advisory board

The SPIL project (Sustainable Process Integration Laboratory) was supported by the Operational Program Research, Development and Education.logolink_OP_VVV_hor_barva_eng

ReMaP - novinka 4 (2)

The ReMaP project presented at the A3PS conference

At this year’s A3PS (Austrian Association for Advanced Propulsion Systems) conference on sustainable mobility, the ReMaP project was presented in the form of a poster.

On November 18-19, 2021, the A3PS conference “Eco-Mobility 2021: Paths to Climate-Neutral Mobility – Sustainable Propulsion Concepts and Energy Carriers for Carbon-Neutral Future: Europe as Frontrunner” took place in Vienna.

At the conference, the ReMaP project was presented to the internationally important participants in a poster session. In addition to general information about the project, the project goal, and the allocation of the individual research fields among the respective partners, current results were also presented.

The consortium can look back on a successful second year of the project: in 2021, numerous magnesium-based alloy compositions with a focus on high specific strengths for structural components were created and successfully processed in WAM (Wire Additive Manufacturing). Better mechanical properties could be achieved than in casting processes.

In the past project year, for example, a Mg-Al-Ca-Mn alloy was presented that achieves a yield strength of over 190 MPa thanks to its fine network of Mg-Al-(Ca) phases and a high proportion of dissolved aluminum. The pore analyses carried out at the computed tomography laboratory of the Wels University of Applied Sciences confirmed the high quality of the manufactured components.

Furthermore, the production of specimens from materials for medical applications was started. The alloys are free of aluminum and are characterized by high ductility and corrosion resistance.

In addition to the alloy development, the improvement of the entire process chain of additive processing methods represents an essential project objective of ReMaP. Significant progress has been made here both in the wire manufacturing route and in powder production. In addition to a newly implemented coiler for wire production, the atomizer newly set up at the University of Brno for powder production from wires is particularly worthy of mention. With the help of these two components, it is now possible to provide powder from special materials with high quality for additive manufacturing.

In the next project year, the ongoing developments will be continued, focusing on the characterization of the manufactured samples and further investigations of powder-based additive manufacturing of magnesium.

You may chceck the poster here.

More about the project here.

interreg_Austria_Czech_Republic_EN_RGBThe project is co-financed by the CrossBorderCooperation Programme Interreg V-A AustriaCzech Repulic for the funding period 2014-2020.


New form in a new era: SPIL group from FSI organised the PRES and SPIL scientific conference in the hybrid form

The COVID-19 has been lasting for almost two years and has caused enormous changes in every aspect of our lives and work. The pandemic also challenged the field of scientific research and conferences. Scientific conferences which serve as a high‐impact international platform bring together researchers and multi-stakeholders from academia, government and private sectors to share the knowledge and experiences for the transformation towards a sustainable society. However, most of the conferences had to transform to an on-line form due to the mobility restrictions against the pandemic. The usual face-to-face lectures and discussions become supplemented by online audio, video, or even typing Q/A. It is evident that this fully on-line form can the smooth communication and effectiveness of the events.


PRES conference opening day – group photo

At the starting point of organising the conferences (January 2021), which are the 24th annual conference on Process Integration for Energy Saving and Pollution Reduction – PRES’21, and the follow-up SPIL Scientific Conference on Energy, Water, Emission, Waste in Industry and Cities, it was challenging to foresee the situation with the pandemic after about 10 months and decide to be fully on-line or a regular face-to-face conference. According to statistical data from the previous conference, more than 400 participants from more than 50 countries would be there. It would be impossible to set up the conference fitting the situation of all international participants. After rounds and rounds of discussions within the organising committee, the PRES conference president, Professor Jiří Jaromír Klemeš, announced to held the conference in a hybrid form, which is on-line conference for most of the international participants who are not able to travel, and with a limited number of on-site (face to face) spaces for participants who being able to manage to come to Brno. The organisation was quite challenging due to the frequent changes in infection situations and measures against the COVID-19. Even in this tough time, the conferences were finally successfully held both on-line, and on-site at the Hotel International Brno, the PRES’21 Conference from 31st October to 3th of November, and SPIL conference from 4th to 5th November 2021.


On-site PRES’21 Conference Parallel Session 1 lectures

Thanks to all the effort, supports and contributions from our PRES Conference President Prof Jiří Jaromir Klemeš, colleagues, collaborators, and all participants, the PRES Conference received a total number of 513 abstracts with 1,022 authors from 67 countries worldwide. Among these, 50 presentations with more than a hundred participants were delivered at the conference venue in Brno, with strict measures against COVID-19. In addition, ten invited lectures from distinguished professors and researchers, from world top universities and institutes, were also presented at both on-line and on-site conference. Prof Ignacio E. Grossmann from the Carnegie Mellon, a top US university, delivered the lecture titled “Optimal Synthesis and Planning of Sustainable Chemical Processes and Energy Systems”. Prof Santanu Bandyopadhyay from the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, and one of the pioneering researchers in Pinch Analysis, contributed with a lecture “Incorporating Uncertainties in Pinch Analysis”. Prof Raf Dewil, who is a leading expert in wastewater treatment, and the Editor in Chief of the Journal of Environmental Management, presented the plenary lecture with the title of “Energy Positive Wastewater Treatment: Creating Value from an Underexploited Resource to reveal the water-energy nexus developments”.


Awarding SPIL’21 Best Young Researcher Awards at the Conference closing ceremony

The conference also invited distinguished researchers from world top universities as Guest Speakers of Honour, including Prof Donald Huisingh from University of Tennessee, Prof Qiuwang Wang from Xi’an Jiaotong University, Prof Pen-Chi Chiang from National Taiwan University, Professor Stratos Pistikopoulos from Texas A&M University, Prof Soteris Kalogirou from Cyprus University of Technology and Prof André Bardow from ETH Zurich. In addition, there are 397 inspiring presentations on the virtual conference website, 1,354 comments and questions from the on-line participants. The lectures from Prof Grossmann received more than 400 views, which is right after the opening presentation from Prof Klemeš (543 views). Discussions are still continuing after the official ending of the conference, and we hope that will lead to many fruitful collaborations. This hybrid conference with all the presentations downloaded and commented enabled those who were interested “to be present” even if they missed them due to the impossibility of monitoring them in real time.

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Assoc Prof Ing Jiří Hlinka PhD opening the conference | Prof Ing Petr Stehlík, PhD, Dr.h.c. Plenary lecture presentation

The SPIL’21 Scientific conference, which followed the PRES conference, to reduce the environmental footprints for travelling, had also been successfully organised in hybrid form with the leading organisation of Dr Yee Van Fan. The conference hosted on-site more than 70 participants with 30 presentations at the conference venue and totalling 303 registered delegates. The conference started with a Welcome address by Vice-Dean Jiří Hlinka, and Opening Presentation by Prof Jiří Jaromír Klemeš (Head of SPIL), and the first invited lecture by Prof Petr Stehlík. A total of 14 invited lectures were presented to the participants, of which seven were delivered on-site. Prof Sandro Nižetić from the University of Split, Croatia, delivered his lecture with the title “A pathway to improve performance and applicability of photovoltaic technologies in energy transition”, sharing his visions in the future development of photovoltaic technologies in future energy supply. Prof Ms Aoife M. Foley, a leading researcher from Queen’s University Belfast and the Trinity Colleague, UK, and Editor-in-Chief of the high impacted journal Renewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews (IF 14.982) delivered the lecture titled “Green Energy Systems by 2050 for a ‘net’ Zero Carbon future”. Prof Fengqi You (Cornell University, US) and Prof Paweł Ocłoń (Cracow University of Technology, Poland) were another two invited plenary speakers of SPIL’21. A total of 106 presentations have been delivered on the virtual conference platform raising 1,380 comments and questions. The opening presentation of SPIL achievements was viewed on-line by 342 times. Guest Speakers of Honour included Prof André Bardow (ETH Zurich), Prof Dimitrios Gerogiorgis (The University of Edinburgh), Prof Iqbal M Mujtaba (University of Bradford), Prof Ignacio E. Grossmann (Carnegie Mellon University), Prof Petr Stehlik (VUT Brno), Prof Ferenc Friedler (Széchenyi István University), Prof Qiuwang Wang (Xi’an Jiaotong University), Prof Robin Smith (The University of Manchester), Prof Zdravko Kravanja (University of Maribor) and Dr Farooq Sher (Nottingham Trent University).


On-site SPIL’21 Opening Presentation by Prof Jiří Jaromír Klemeš

It has been a great challenge as well as a great experience for the whole organising team to manage the conferences in hybrid form for the first time. This is probably a new trend for academic conferences in the long term, not only because of the pandemic, but also considering the ability and feasibility of researchers to travel to the conference venue, a hybrid form can provide more possibilities for researchers from all around the world to learn, share, and inspire new knowledge. From the gained experience also benefited a recently accepted paper by NATURE Communications Journal “Trend of virtual and hybrid conferences since COVID-19 effectively mitigate climate change” co-authored by Professor Fengqi You, Roxanne E. and Michael J. Zak Professor at Cornell University, Ithaca, State New York, OS, his collaborators Yanqiu Tao, Debbie Steckel and Prof Jiří Klemeš, SPIL, FME, VUT Brno.


2021-09-02 16.46.48

The project meeting in Brno invited partners to the laboratories

The ReMaP project partners met on September 2 at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, Brno University of Technology. The program included a discussion of the project results and tasks for the future. The meeting also enabled a visit to laboratories, especially the newly acquired atomizer, which we use to process magnesium wire into a fine powder. The atomizer is one of the crucial devices for the success of the project.

“During the meeting, we showed our colleagues the laboratories where we perform the additive manufacturing method of selective laser melting, in layman’s terms 3D printing from metal powders, and introduced them to the processes we use for the new materials. An excursion to a newly acquired atomizer followed. Later on, we discussed the next steps that we have to take in order to successfully finish the project,” described FME research leader Daniel Koutný.

You can visit the laboratory with us in the photo gallery below.

20210902_141431 2021-09-02 16.53.37 2021-09-02 16.50.372021-09-02 16.47.4320210902_164711

More about the project here.

interreg_Austria_Czech_Republic_EN_RGBThe project is co-financed by the CrossBorderCooperation Programme Interreg V-A AustriaCzech Repulic for the funding period 2014-2020.


Successful application for a Marie Curie grant? Detailed, convincing, and passionate

Marie Skłodowska-Curie grants help researchers carry out their individual research mobility, gain experience abroad and rise a career. One call is open just now, another will run next year. Why does it make sense to apply for Marie Curie as a fellow? What does it mean to write a successful application? And what can a young scientist bring to the team he/she joins? We asked successful fellows and tutors from BUT.

Although there is currently no fellow working directly at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, a small connection could be found. Zdeněk Jakub, a graduate of physical engineering from FME, works in Jan Čechal’s research group at CEITEC BUT, which focuses on the development of new unique devices and materials. After studying at BUT, Jakub moved to the TU Wien, then returned to his alma mater thanks to a Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant. “It has several advantages: it is a prestigious grant, relatively well funded and it will be a great experience for my next career,” says a new fellow Jakub.

His supervisor Jan Čechal himself has experience as a fellow, from 2010 to 2012 he joined a research group at the Max Planck Institute. “It was a big career change and big experience. They were among the first to make molecular systems, which we do here today,“ recalls Čechal. That’s why he likes to welcome young fellows to his team. “Marie Curie is one of the best individual mobility programs and also one of the few ways to pay for a PostDoc from abroad,” he says.

Zdeněk Jakub_foto HovorkováSuccessful fellow Zdeněk Jakub (photo: FME BUT)

The competition is high in Marie Skłodowska-Curie, only 15% of applicants succeed. However, Jan Čechal points out that in many cases it is possible to obtain money from the Czech Ministry, which – if the program is announced – will financially support quality applicants who have remained “below the line”.

Little bureaucracy, a lot of science

Mireia Diez Sánchez also has experience with Marie Curie, she worked at BUT as a fellow in a research group at the Faculty of Information Technology. “You have to work hard to prepare the application. I would recommend finding an institution involved to help you write the application because you have to put together a lot of things. But once you submit the application and you succeed, it’s done. You don’t have to do any interim reports, meet milestones and deal with administration. You can really focus on your research. I would recommend anyone who wants to “grow up” a bit as a researcher to try it,” says Sánchez.

What are their tips for a successful application? “Start in advance, don’t think it’s something you’ll write in a few weeks. It must be well organized, nothing must be missing. If you know someone who has already applied and succeeded, ask for their experience and advice on what to look out for, what to focus on,” Sanchez recommends.

“First of all, the applicant should carefully read the conditions, answer all the questions and leave nothing out, it is really necessary to comment on everything. And I think it must be written in such a way that the evaluators are enthusiastic about your research after reading the application,” says successful applicant Jakub.

And the tutor’s view? “The most important thing is to find a consensus on what we will be the research topic. The application must be reliable and as specific as possible so that the evaluator can imagine what you mean. So instead of writing “I will consult with my fellow regularly”, you better write “There will be a two-hour individual consultation every week”. The part of career development is also important, the applicant must explain why he wants to join us. When you apply for the ETH Zurich, you probably don’t have to explain why, but why Brno and BUT? How will this develop your career? We are lucky that we have very high-quality equipment that fellows can aim for,” concludes Čechal.

Projektový management

The partners shared the project progress in a joint meeting

The project communication team met on Wednesday, June 30, via videoconference to share news about the continuation of the international ReMaP project. Representatives of the Czech and Austrian institutions presented their communication plans to raise awareness of the project results among the general public, as well as experts in the field. In addition to communication, technical issues related to research and development were also discussed. If possible, the next meeting will be face-to-face at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering in Brno, where the Austrian partners may see the key scientific device – the atomizer.

More about the project here.

interreg_Austria_Czech_Republic_EN_RGBThe project is co-financed by the CrossBorderCooperation Programme Interreg V-A AustriaCzech Repulic for the funding period 2014-2020.


An atomizer will help researchers develop new alloys. It turns a wire into a fine powder

Czech and Austrian scientists have joined forces and are working together to develop new magnesium alloys that will be useful for the production of lightweight parts and biomedical implants. Newly developed alloys should have better qualities than currently known commercial products, and scientists hope that they will also be cheaper and therefore more affordable. One of the first important steps in the project was the purchase of an atomizer for FME laboratories.

The international research project ReMaP started in 2020. Although there was a slight delay due to the pandemic, FME researchers are already working on the production of magnesium powder using the new atomizer, which they acquired for their laboratories at the NETME Center thanks to project funding. “We have had the device since August 2020, but its commissioning for magnesium materials proved to be a real challenge. The manufacturer has an atomizer tested on aluminum or titanium alloys, but did not use it for magnesium alloys yet,” explains FME research leader Daniel Koutný.

The atomizer can, in layman’s terms, make small balls the size of a micrometer out of metal wire. This creates a fine powder that can be used in a 3D printer. Wires from newly developed alloys are supplied by Austrian partners, the team at FME takes care of atomization and verification of the suitability of the material for 3D printing. At present, magnesium alloys in powder form are only available from the USA and are not only expensive but also subject to export restrictions. Thanks to the atomizer, which cost about three million CZK, the joint Czech-Austrian development of new materials can be fully launched.

More about the project here.

interreg_Austria_Czech_Republic_EN_RGBThe project is co-financed by the CrossBorderCooperation Programme Interreg V-A AustriaCzech Repulic for the funding period 2014-2020.


The RESHeat project aims to show how to save energy effectively

Renewable energy and green technologies are not totally new. But how to use them together so that it is an economical and therefore attractive solution? The international RESHeat project, in which experts from the SPIL laboratory at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering also participate, want to answer this question. There are also plans for two demonstration installations on public building complexes which face different climate conditions, in Palombara Sabina, Lazio, a commune in the Metropolitan City of Rome, Italy, and Krakow, the historical capital Poland. These  are the final development steps before the system is launched.

Heating and air conditioning consume more than half of the civic sector annual energy consumption. In EU households, heating and hot water alone, account for 79% of total final energy consumption. What’s worse, three-quarters of heating and cooling requirements are still powered by fossil fuel energy. Nevertheless, the transition to renewables is still not smooth, often because it discourages high initial investments and operating cost.

obr_panelyThe testing of smart solar collectors for RESHeat (project partner Czamara site in Poland)

„Not that existing technologies are not technologically good. The problem with current renewable energy sources, however, is that in most cases, they have to be subsidised. The goal of the RESHeat project is to develop the technology so that it is economically  advantageous. If we succeed, renewables will be green. That is why we are preparing two demonstration installations in different climatic conditions, where those interested could come and see them and learn everything about how the system works,” explains Professor Jiří Klemeš, head of the SPIL laboratory at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, Brno University of Technology. The project focuses on residential units, so demonstration installations will be on residential buildings in Rome, where it is relatively warm, and in Krakow, which is to the north of us and considerably cooler. Experts will be able to compare the effectiveness of both systems in different latitudes.


Prof Jiří Klemeš, Head of the SPIL laboratory

It is the team of the Laboratory of Process Integration for Sustainability, abbreviated to SPIL, that, as the name suggests, is in charge of integrating all technologies so that they become a functional and efficient system. “In general, a lot of energy can be saved, and emissions avoided, but again it consumes some funding for operating cost. For example, almost all heat pumps run on electricity, which means that we save something but consume something again. We will run the research to integrate renewable sources so that the pump also takes energy from solar collectors,” explains Prof Klemeš. For solar collectors, they plan to use more efficient, so-called, smart units, which spin like sunflowers behind the sun to get the maximum energy input. This is very important, especially during the winter period, when the energy is much needed.

Civic Sector still has reserves in energy efficiency and related emissions

Researchers also want to solve another problem, and that is the fluctuating performance of renewables. “Fluctuations occur both in regular day-night cycles and with changes in weather or season. To make a real breakthrough in the use of renewables, we need to address energy storage. In our project, we want to use advanced underground energy storage. If you have soil with suitable properties, as, e.g. clay, heat can also be stored in the ground. It’s relatively cheap and safe, so also promising,” says Jiří Klemeš.


Scheme of integrated solution in RESHeat project

This time, the target group of the project is not industry alone, but cities, regions and other public entities as well. “It’s promising because industry has been dealing with energy savings for some time. Even advanced industrial plants can still save  some energy, but it’s not tens of percent. On the contrary, the area of civic amenities still has higher reserves, and further research is also needed here,” stated Jiri Klemeš.

The EU RESHeat project is planned for four years, ending in November 2024. In the first three years, researchers plan to work on process integration and gradually install and test parts of the system in sample residential units so that the last year of the project runs and data can be collected and the effectiveness of the solution verified. The project involves research institutions, cities and companies, that plan to subsequently introduce the technology or its components to the market. “These companies had to contribute 30% towards the development of the project, which is already a good example of the fact that they believe it will be useful. And of course, we believe that too. Energy savings will only work if it really spreads en masse” concludes Jiří Klemeš.

An important part of the RESHeat project is the demonstration and dissemination, where SPIL, FME, VUT has a remarkable record in smart media dissemination and organising worldwide conferences, e.g. as SPIL’20 attended by 443 participants from 49 countries and coming hybrid (both face2face and online) conference PRES’21 (31/10 – 3/11 2021, Brno, Czech Republic) , where already more than 1,650 authors from 59 countries submitted their research works.

EUThis project is supported by European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 956255, project RESHeat (Renewable Energy System for Residential Building Heating and Electricity Production).


Project SPIL is funded by Czech Republic Operational Programme Research and Development, Education, Priority 1: Strengthening capacity for quality research Czech Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport (CZ.02.1.01/0.0/0.0/15_ 003/0000456).


A new generation of radiators is being developed at BUT. The first prototype has already been tested in a car

Tens of millions of car radiators are produced annually in Europe alone. They are usually made of metal, but experts from the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering at BUT have been working for several years on the development of a completely new type of a radiator made of hollow polymer fibres. The first-generation prototype has already been tested in a car, but the new type of an exchanger could also be used in air conditioning units, in battery cooling or in places where a metal radiator is not suitable, for example, due to corrosion.

Read more here.

Jiří Klemeš_náhled_foto Igor šefr

Jiří Klemeš from FME belongs to TOP 1 % cited researchers in the world

Professor Jiří Jaromír Klemeš, from the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering BUT, has been named on the annual Highly Cited Researchers 2020 list from Clarivate Analytics. This highly anticipated annual list identifies researchers who have demonstrated significant influence in their chosen field or fields through the publication of multiple highly cited papers during the last decade. Their names are drawn from the publications that rank in the top 1% by citations for the field and publication year in the Web of Science citation index. Professor Jiří J Klemeš first appeared in the top ranking in 2018.

Read more here.

Jiří Klemeš_náhled_foto Igor šefr (2)

Plastic does not always mean evil, researchers say in response to the coronavirus pandemic

Environment is said to be another victim of the novel coronavirus. Many countries were determined to fight plastics last year, but during the pandemic, people more often reached for plastic packaging or personal protective equipment. Based on their research, researchers from an international team led by the experts from Brno University of Technology point out that plastics do not have to be automatically bad; it mainly depends on how they are handled. In order to map the environmental impact, the team has introduced a new concept called Plastic Waste Footprint (PWF), which should help determine the environmental footprint. The concept was presented in the article published in the renowned journal Renewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews.

Read more here.