In 2012, it is estimated the $145bn was invested in solar photovoltaic
technology. Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells (DSC) are expected to play an
increasing role in renewable energy generation over the next decade and
beyond, but several practical issues need to be overcome to facilitate
large-scale economic production. Fundamental research at Bangor has laid
the ground for collaborative work with industry which has overcome several
of the key production constraints in their manufacture, increasing
production speed and efficiency and substantially reducing costs. As a
result, we have developed a Technology Roadmap with a major multinational
partner (TATA) which has led to significant investment in plant and to the
production of pilot products in the form of photovoltaic roofs, currently
undergoing outdoor testing.
A new family of antiviral agents, bicyclic nucleoside analogues (BCNAs),
discovered in Cardiff University has led to a highly potent anti-VZV
(shingles) molecule, FV-100. On a worldwide basis more than two million
patients are affected by shingles annually. FV-100 has successfully
completed Phase II clinical trials, showing it is safe, potent and
effective and with clinical advantages over the current standard of care.
FV-100 has received more than $30 million in R&D investment,
generating patents and creating highly skilled jobs in the UK and the USA,
with the parent company currently valued at $397 million. It will enter
registration trials in late 2013.
Platinum Group Elements (PGE) are critical strategic metals because of
their unrivalled applications in catalysts, fuel cells and electronics and
cancer therapies. Research and analytical methods developed at Cardiff
have impacted on exploration for new PGE deposits, and more efficient
processing of PGE ores by international mining companies. A key milestone
between 2009 and 2012 was the discovery of a 3 billion year old giant
impact crater in West Greenland. This discovery is of major economic
significance because all craters previously found in this size class are
associated with multi-billion dollar mineral and/or hydrocarbon resources.
It led to an intellectual property transaction worth CDN$ 2.1 million and
discovery of nickel and PGE deposits in Greenland by North American Nickel
Cardiff University's research has provided quantitative characterisation
of transient fuel sprays under engine condition for the first time. This
has enabled integrated design optimisation of Gasoline Direct injection
(GDi) engines, through computer simulation validated by Cardiff's
experimental measurements. The method has been developed and used in
collaboration with Ricardo, a world-leading engine design consultancy, and
has resulted in:
There have been substantial reductions in global CO2
emissions. Prior to 2012, GDi engine production had resulted in over 20M
tonnes CO2 reduction globally, including 10M tonnes across
Europe. A global reduction of 10M tonnes/year is predicted by 2020.
Gasoline engines designed or developed by Ricardo in collaboration with
Cardiff have provided a considerable contribution to this reduction.
Cardiff's measurement techniques provided an essential step in designing
these engines. For example, the PETRONAS engine uses 20% less fuel and
produces 80% less NOx.
Improved Professional Engineering Practice
Cardiff's experimental validation methodology has enabled Ricardo to
design engines through simulation rather than step-wise empirical
development, significantly reducing lead time.
3D scanning technology has enabled multiple opportunities for innovation in diverse areas such as
manufacturing, design, and the arts. However, full utilisation of this technology requires not just the
scanning hardware, but accompanying software that can build meaningful, editable models. This
development has been pioneered by research conducted in the School of Computer Science and
Informatics, at Cardiff University. Innovative algorithms for reverse engineering and digital shape
reconstruction were devised that enabled the reconstruction of complex computer aided design
(CAD) models from data captured by 3D scanners. The algorithms have been endorsed by
Geomagic Inc, a market leading American software corporation (recently acquired by 3D Systems),
that has subsidiaries in Europe and Asia and global distributors, and incorporated into their
software product suite. This is accessed by nearly 10,000 licensed users worldwide, who have
applied the product for industrial applications including aerospace and automotive engineering,
product design, cultural heritage preservation, and healthcare. Accordingly, the impacts claimed
are twofold: a) economic gain manifesting in the benefits to Geomagic and a plethora of end users
who have utilised the software, b) impact on practitioners and professional services in diverse
Cardiff University research led to second-generation chemiluminescent
technology. The invention allowed for internal amplification control in
nucleic-acid based clinical diagnostic assays for infectious disease and
produced results with greater accuracy and fulfilled previously unmet
regulatory standards. Adopted by the market leader in nucleic acid
diagnostics (a sub-licensee of Cardiff University) the Cardiff technology
is used globally in more than 60 million in vitro diagnostic tests
annually. Sales of the tests approach $500 million per year and the
sub-licensee was subsequently sold for $3.8 billion.
Economic gains by oil and gas companies, improvements in professional
practice in hydrocarbon exploration, and environmental benefits from
identifying CO2 disposal sites have been achieved through a
Cardiff-led consortium with industry. Building on research carried out
since 2004, ten of the largest oil companies in the World have contributed
to and benefited from understanding how faulted caprocks behave under
specific geological conditions. Research at Cardiff has shown which
families of faults and fractures make caprocks highly permeable, thus
improving Industry's ability to predict if caprocks are able to prevent
oil and gas reaching the surface.
Research and Development activity at Cardiff University's Astronomy
Instrumentation Group (AIG)
has been commercialised and made available to the international market.
Sales have been made
to fields including bio-molecular spectroscopy for health science, plasma
fusion diagnostics for
sustainable energy, and remote atmospheric sensing. This has resulted in
Diffusion bonding (DB) is well-known for producing structured materials
with fine scale features and is a critical technology for high efficiency
reactors, e.g. heat exchangers and fuel cells, but currently equipment is
slow and expensive (and there are size limitations to the `assemblies'
that can be built). The University has researched and developed, with
industry partners, a rapid affordable diffusion bonding (ADB) process
involving direct heating to provide appropriate temperature and stress
states and utilising flexible ultra-insulation (vacuum) for pressing
titanium (and now aluminium) sheets together. The process operates at low
stresses thus avoiding `channel' collapse. Investment is taking place in
the partner companies to exploit the technology. A breakthrough has been
achieved in the chemical machining of three dimensional structures for
laminar flow technology assemblies in aluminium and titanium, that can be
built by ADB.
Cardiff University, through developing and patenting a commercially
viable synthetic route to a catalyst, has enabled the application of a new
process, the Alpha Process, for the production of methyl methacrylate
(MMA), a key commodity precursor to Perspex. The Alpha Process has had
economic and environmental impacts.
Lucite International, the world's leading MMA producer, has invested in
major Alpha Process production facilities in Singapore and Saudi Arabia,
benefitting from a production route which is more efficient, more reliable
and cheaper than conventional routes.
The Alpha Process also brings environmental benefits, as it does not rely
on the use of corrosive and toxic feedstocks, such as hydrogen cyanide,
which are associated with conventional MMA processes.