“NanoRoad Show” Highlights Czech Technology Prowess
|October 23, 2014||Posted by Anharris under Cool Companies, Events, Innovation, Technology|
On Wednesday, October 8, I was pleased to attend a “nano road show” highlighting tiny technologies and expansive R&D capabilities of the Czech Republic came to Boston.
Sponsored by “CzechInvest,” the Czech Republic’s investment and business development agency, and by the Consulate General of the Czech Republic, the “road show” featured six companies and research institutions with expertise in nanotechnology–a branch of engineering focused on the design and manufacture of extremely small devices built at the molecular level of matter.
At a reception held at the Cambridge Innovation Center in Boston, I had the opportunity to speak with Jan Slunsky, the CEO of a company called Nano Iron–which produces tiny iron particles used to treat ground water contaminated by chlorinated hydrocarbons from industrial waste. “Our nano particles are “very reactive” and may clear an area of pollutants in months-to-years—unlike other ‘in-situ’ reagents that can take 10-to-20 years to reduce contaminants,” Slunsky said, “And because Nano Iron particles are composed of a naturally occurring mineral, they do not add toxicity when injected into a substrate.” Other remediating processes may involve the costly transport of polluted water to distant filtration plants, he added. Nano Iron currently partners with environmental consultants and remediation companies in the Czech Republic, France, Denmark, Belgium, and the Netherlands. Nano Iron recently launched a pilot project in South Carolina.
- Another presenting company was Advanced Materials-JTJ, which introduced its own industrial process of manufacturingofphotocatalytic multifunctional paints for air purification. The company has also patented large-scale technology toproduceTiO2nanoparticles withhigh efficiency. Advanced MaterialsJTJ works with several universities and international companies on variety of R&D and commercial projects. With technologies are in material science,photocatalysis and energy accumulation, ADvancedMaterials-JTJ participates in EC grant consortia onphotocatalytic water decontamination.I also met Martin Navratil, chairman of the board of SYNPO, a commercially-oriented, privately held R&D center which arose in 1992 from a government-owned research center. Today, SYNPO offers new technologies and products such as coatings adhesives, composites and binders based on applied polymer science. It focuses on contract research and development, manufacturing, process development, and nanostructured polymers and polymers from renewable raw materials. It also provides specialized analytic services, helps client companies scale up production, and trains students. SYNPO’s clients range from small Czech and European companies to some of the world’s largest multinational chemical companies, including DuPont, in the US, Navratil said.
Featured educational and research and development institutions included:
- The Central European University of Technology (CEITEC) — a multidisciplinary science center focused on life sciences and advanced materials and technologies.
- The Technical University of LIberec Department of Nonwovens, which offers patented process of industrial-scale production of nanofibers (including nanofiber scaffolds for use in tissue engineering, and composite nanofibers).
- The Technical University of Liberec – Institute for Nanomaterials, Advanced Technologies and Innovation (CxI), which provides long-term support of industrial research activities and utilization of new technologies and technological production methods. Its foci include competitive engineering, robotics and mechatronics, and applications of nanofiber materials.
After the meeting, Abi Barrow, director of the Boston-based Massachusetts Technology Transfer Center, said: “Nanotechnology is changing the world. It will change the way everything operates, because of the new materials people are now developing. The Czech’s have exhibited some ‘very interesting’ technology and research skills in the nanotech arena. And New England, with its own great nanotech base, has real interest in finding cost-effective ways to contract out research development and testing.”
Agt the event, I learned that, t in the 1930´s Czechoslovakia was ranked among 10 most developed countries in the world and that Czech scientists were instrumental in developing contact lenses and anti-HIV drugs.
Jan Fried, director of East Coast operations for CzechInvest tokd me that today, “the Czech Republic offers the best conditions in Central and Eastern Europe for international partnership, with US firms major investors in Czech companies.” Additionally, CzechInvest has sponsored “CzechAccelerator” for the past three years. One such program, was based in Silicon Valley; the other at the Cambridge Innovation Center, in Kendall Square.
–Anita M. Harris
Anita M. Harris is Managing Director of the Harris Communications Group, an award-winning marketing and public relations firm based in Cambridge, MA.
This post was adapted from a sponsored post originally written for New Cambridge Observer.