RED HOT CAR IN A FEW MINUTES
With CO2 as the working medium in your car’s
cooling system, you can avoid scraping ice off the windows in winter.
Carbon dioxide has long been creating problems
for environmental experts around the globe. Research scientists
at SINTEF have now discovered a function in which CO2 can provide
a positive outcome. The gas’ properties make it well suited to providing
both heat and coldness in the air conditioning system.
Carbon dioxide has been used as a coolant
for more than 150 years. The gas has an extremely low boiling point
and the system draws heat from the surroundings via evaporation.
This is what makes a refrigerator cold on the inside but warm at
The cooling process “draws” heat out of the
fridge and the temperature inside drops. However, the direction
in the CO2-based process can be reversed so that the system can
function as a heat pump. The technology behind these duel purpose
climate systems adds to patented solutions from SINTEF/NTNU attributed
to the late professor, Gustav Lorentzen.
NORWEGIAN ASSISTANCE FOR BUSINESS LIFE IN THE BALKANS
Photo: Torkel Ystgaard, SINTEF
SINTEF is helping to create much needed jobs
in the war-torn Balkans. With financial aids from Norway, the research
foundation has come on board and is providing birthing aid to establish
businesses in Serbia-Montenegro and Bosnia-Herzegovina, where the
unemployment level is currently around 40 percent. The business
incubators assist local people to establish new businesses and also
support the newly established businesses through the start phase.
Staff from SINTEF will be among those proving the specialist advice.
The innovation centre in Bosnia- Herzegovina is now open and the
so-called BIT Centre (picture) is now underway. SINTEF has a stack
of applications from individuals and companies that want to become
involved. A similar arrangement in Macedonia is in the planning
stages, and one in Moldova is also being considered.
ARCTIC À LA CARTE
Two Norwegian students crossed Greenland
on skis last year, and used one of the products from the company
Dtech AS’s in their canteens. They added water to minced beef that
had been browned and then dried before they set off on their journey.
This tailor-made food was prepared
in a drying plant for which three researchers at SINTEF and NTNU
had the idea in 1989. Now, the trio’s technology is in the process
of making its commercial world premiere.
The Norwegian company Dtech AS – a
spin-off of SINTEF and NTNU – is now in the process of building
a large factory in Hungary. The new plant will supply the international
food industry with dried maize and dried peas - ingredients which
will end up in dried soups and powdered casserole dishes all over
the world. In terms of the taste, aroma and colour of the end-products,
the new technology approaches the quality of vacuum freeze-drying
- the Rolls Royce of dehydration technology. But the new technology
is much less expensive.
HUNGER HAMPERS PSYCHOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENT
mild or moderate malnutrition in early childhood may hamper psychological
development later in life, according to the PhD study of children
and juveniles in Ghana of Lily Yaa Appoh, NTNU.
Earlier studies have concluded that only
severe malnutrition has a negative effect on psychological development.
Among all undernourished children in the world, about 80 per cent
are subject to milder forms of malnutrition. In a global context
this means that aid programmes must not only focus on fighting severe
malnutrition; attention should also be paid to the developmental
problems that arise as a consequence of moderate malnutrition.
Photo: Hege Opset, Scanpix
SINTEF/NTNU ABLE TO MASS-PRODUCE SUPER-MATERIAL
Photo: SINTEF Media
Scientists at SINTEF Materials and Chemistry
are among the first groups in the world who have developed a process
for large-scale production of carbon nanotubes. The scientists have
been developing their unique expertise in plasma technology and
hightemperature chemistry for 30 years. Production of the strongest
material in the world takes place in a high-temperature reactor
designed in Trondheim.
Carbon nanotubes has turned out to have unsuspected
electrical and chemical properties in addition to its high strength
and extremely low weight. This means that superstrong plastics,
uncrushable boat hulls and superlight aircraft could become a reality.
At the moment, there is little or no international
commercial production of carbon nanotubes. However, the n-Tech company
at the Institute of Energy Technology produces a few grams a day
by the arc discharge method. The Trondheim reactor has been designed
and built for production on the kilogram scale.
The efforts of SINTEF and NTNU have received
financial support from the Research Council of Norway, and SINTEF
has applied for patents on its technology.
NEW TECHNOLOGY TO MONITOR OIL AND GAS WELLS
Photo: Rune Petter Ness
ResMan AS – a start-up company
based on spinning-off technology from SINTEF and IFE – will produce
chemical intelligent materials to monitor flows in oil and gas wells.
The whole process will take place without the use of cables.
The chemical intelligent materials
are based on polymers, which react with their surroundings by releasing
trace elements. By distributing the polymer units throughout the
well and ensuring that the trace elements are recognised when they
migrate to the surface, operators can obtain valuable information
about flows in the formation, and how these develop over time.
The technology will significantly
reduce uncertainties regarding what actually happens in oil and
gas wells. Operators will obtain a better understanding of the physics
of underground formations and thus a basis for optimising oil and
The company has been set up
by Fridtjof Nyhavn from SINTEF Petroleum Research and Anne Dalager
Dyrli from SINTEF Materials and Chemistry (picture).
LIFE-SAVING CLOTHING FOR FISHERMEN
is one of Norway’s most dangerous occupations. Between 1988 and
2005, 80 Norwegian fishermen died at sea. Now fishermen are to get
work clothes that will improve their chances of survival. If a fisherman
falls into the sea, the new oilskin suit will keep him afloat -
in fact, upright in the water, a position that will make it easier
to climb on board again, or to be dragged on board by others.
The new suit is the result of a cooperative
effort involving SINTEF, the Norwegian Fishermen’s Association,
the Gjensidige Insurance Company and the equipment manufacturer
The aim was to develop a suit that would
both promote safety and actually be used. The project group therefore
emphasised the importance of developing clothing that would be comfortable
to work in. The new suit sports large areas of fluorescent yellow
and has been given the name “Regatta Fisherman”. The Norwegian Fishermen’s
Association has great hopes for the clothing concept.
BIOTECHNOLOGY FIGHTS PSORIASIS
Photo: Rune Petter Ness
One to three per cent of the world’s population
suffers from psoriasis. There are no known medicines or treatment
methods that give sufferers satisfactory and lasting relief. An
intensive research effort at the Department of Biology at NTNU has
resulted in the development of a group of compounds that can be
used as a component in a new drug for the treatment of psoriasis.
The compounds have been tested in vitro, and a patent application
has been submitted with support from Leiv Eiriksson Nyskapning,
a Norwegian company.
The researchers and inventors of the compound,
most notably Professor Berit Johansen (photo) and Professor Emeritus
Lars Skattebøl (University of Oslo), have formed the company Avexxin
AS in cooperation with the Danish company Ventac Partners and Leiv
Eiriksson Nyskapning AS. Avexxin’s chief aim is to develop the new
medicine for the treatment of psoriasis. The group is applying for
funding to perform clinical studies.
The company also plans to develop medicines
for the treatment of other chronic diseases. The market for psoriasis
medicines is expected to expand from US $1 billion in 2005 to more
than US $3 billion in 2009.
LUNAR INFLUENCES ON FISH STOCKS
populations in the Barents Sea fluctuate considerably. NTNU researcher
Harald Yndestad has worked to identify the factors that influence
oscillations in fish populations over time. He has discovered that
there is a connection between fluctuations in fish populations and
the position of the Moon in relation to Earth. The lunar orbit is
not circular; the angle varies by 5 degrees over a span of 18 years.
When the angle changes, the tides on Earth shift direction. As a
result, there is an increased flow of temperate water from the Atlantic
Ocean into the Barents Sea. Warmer waters contribute to an increase
in plankton production, and therefore fish.
NEW COMPANY INTENDS TO TAILOR MEDICINES TO PATIENTS
Biosergen AS is the brainchild of a group
of scientists at NTNU and SINTEF who have been studying the inner
life of the soil bacterium Streptomyces noursei in detail. These
bacteria produce Nystatin, an antibiotic that is used in medicines
to treat fungal infections in human beings.
The company will use gene technology to develop
analogues of the Nystatin molecule that are less toxic than today’s
antifungal antibiotics and that will thus have fewer side-effects.
This will help HIV victims, cancer patients and organ transplantees;
these are all groups of patients whose weakened immune response
system leaves them more liable to suffer serious fungal infections.
Biosergen expects to invest NOK 50 - 80 million
in developing its new antibiotic. However, sales in this sector
can reach dizzying heights; the part of the antibiotics market being
targeted by Biosergen is currently worth around USD 4.3 billion
a year, and this amount is expected to double by 2012.
TENDER MEAT DETECTOR
Photo: Morten Stene
A new tool has been designed for hunting
enthusiasts. The “døgngrader”, literally “day-to-day temperature
monitor”, or “gamekeeper” is the name for the new device, which
monitors storage conditions for meat. The device is placed out with
game that has been hung to mature, and measures the relative humidity
and temperature changes while the game is hanging. The device essentially
measures the storage temperature multiplied by the number of storage
days. When the device has calculated that the meat has reached an
optimal quality, an alarm sounds. Maturing meat by hanging it can
be quite challenging, especially under changeable weather conditions.
The gamekeeper reduces the risk of the meat rotting.
The gamekeeper has been developed by SUVITEK.
SUVITEK is located in Verdal and was established by Jon Olav Vikan
(photo) and Jørund Sund, who are electrical engineers from NTNU.
It took two years and NOK 1 million to develop the product.
“TENSEGRITY” – SPACE TECHNOLOGY IN THE OCEAN
their search for better solutions for the aquaculture, fishing and
offshore industries, researchers are about to adopt a new design
principle known as “Tensegrity” which enables plants to bend with
the wind without breaking, and allows them to return to their original
ambition of NTNU and SINTEF is to utilise this type of construction
at sea. Traditionally, designers have enabled marine structures
to withstand loads by making them strong. Smart structures represent
a different philosophy of design, one that prefers adaptation and
cooperation to raw strength. The researchers envision slender, intelligent
structures that adapt to wave loads instead of fighting them. One
of the aims is to develop “smart” sea-cages for fish farming. If
necessary, a smart aquaculture sea-cage will change its own shape,
so that it reduces the cross-sectional area that it presents to
the waves. If there is little current and thus relatively little
oxygen available to the fish, it will increase the area turned towards
the direction of the waves.
Photo: Svein Tønseth
REFRIGERATION TECHNOLOGY AWARD
scientists at SINTEF and NTNU have been honoured by an award from
the International Energy Agency (IEA) for their contribution to
solving the greenhouse problems caused by leaking refrigeration
systems and heat pumps.
The award has shown that it is possible to
use CO2, a natural substance, as the “work-horse” in cooling systems
and heat pumps. SINTEF and NTNU were the first to demonstrate that
CO2 can be used in vehicle air-conditioning systems without increasing
To utilise CO2 in cooling systems does not
contribute to the greenhouse effect, since it is essentially “borrowed”
from industrial waste gases that would otherwise have been released
to the atmosphere.
The EU is currently drawing up a directive
that will require all new vehicle models to have air-conditioning
systems that do not contain the chemicals in use today. Vehicle
manufacturers already have test cars on the road fitted with CO2-based
air-conditioning. SINTEF and NTNU are also members of an EU project
that will develop simple, inexpensive CO2 systems for small cars.
surgery, surgeons can become hot and sweaty. This can be stressful
and affect a surgeon’s ability to concentrate. NTNU master’s student
Ragnhild Nesbakken has developed a cooling vest for surgeons for
her master’s project. The vest has cooling agents made from a material
that changes its phase from solid to liquid when skin temperatures
exceed 28 degrees Celsius. The cooling elements have been incorporated
in the back of the vest and in the centre of the chest, which are
regions that generate a great amount of heat. The cooling elements
are linked together in strips, which makes the vest very flexible.
The strips can easily be replaced, and the fabric is good at transferring
both moisture and heat. The vest has been tested during surgery
at St Olavs Hospital in Trondheim, and feedback from the surgeon
was positive. Nesbakken’s master’sthesis was written at the Department
of Product Design in cooperation with the Department of Work Physiology
and Microbial Exposure at SINTEF Health.
Photo: Ragnhild Nesbakken
Many species experience changes in both their
environment and in overall living conditions. How quickly are they
able to adapt to these changes, and what are the factors that affect
genetic change in a population? Scientists all over the world are
joining forces to find answers to these questions, and the Department
of Biology at NTNU is part of this group. A research team at NTNU,
headed by population biologist Professor Bernt Erik Sæther, will
focus on genetic material from moose, yellowhammer and a type of
This is an interdisciplinary effort where
biologists and mathematicians are cooperating to fit genetics into
an ecological framework, and chart and “model” how genetic material
changes over time. The project has received NOK 18 million from
the Research Council of Norway.
DIGITAL WOODEN HOUSES
A project group at NTNU is working to establish
an interdisciplinary programme to boost wood carpentry education.
The aim is to cooperate with Norwegian industry and international
researchers on the planning and manufacturing of wooden buildings
by using digital product models.
CHICK AND THE TRONDHEIM JAZZ ORCHESTRA
jazz musician Erlend Skomsvoll’s arrangement of jazz legend Chick
Corea’s scores was performed during the Molde Jazz Festival in 2000
by Corea and the Trondheim Jazz Orchestra. The adaptations were
met with much enthusiasm by Corea himself, the musicians in the
Trondheim Jazz Orchestra, the press, and the audience. A selection
of scores from the concert has been released on CD, and the Corea
writes in the liner notes that it was “complete creative fun from
beginning to end”. All musicians involved in the project are former
or current students from the Department of Music at NTNU.
OIL IN ICE
Photo: SINTEF Materials and Chemistry
During a three-year project financed by the
Research Council of Norway, Statoil and Norsk Hydro, SINTEF has
been working with NILU and UiB to research how an oil spillage reacts
in ice. This knowledge is valuable to gain an insight into the biological
effects of an oil spillage in the Arctic region and also to establish
oil spill contingency planning in these ice-infested waters.
As well as discovering more about oil’s characteristic
in ice, the research scientists have studied photo-oxidisation of
the oil and how the water soluble components in oil spread in the
MARINTEK HELPS MEXICO
The world’s fifth largest oil
producer, Mexico, is moving into deeper waters – and MARINTEK is
assisting the Mexicans with the necessary technology. MARINTEK is
about to sign a co-operation agreement with the Mexican institute
IMP, which in reality is the research division of Mexico’s state-run
“Extracting oil at depths of
1000m or more requires special expertise,” says MARINTEK senior
engineer Svein Karlsen. “We have to utilise floating production
and it is difficult to install things. The production lines will
be long and we must face challenges like strong water currents,
changing temperatures and high pressure.”
Mexico’s deep water reservoirs
are predicted to be the next big oil fairy tale. MARINTEK has worked
on deep water technology since the late 1980s and has previously
assisted several deep water operators, including in Brazil.
PREMATURE BIRTHS CAUSE PSYCHOLOGICAL AILMENTS
Almost half of all children with birth weights
below 1500 grams suffer from psychological ailments by the age of
14. One in four has symptoms of ADHD, a neuropsychological condition,
and many have anxiety symptoms. The results come from a study at
NTNU and St. Olavs Hospital that included 56 premature children.
“These children constitute a risk group and they need treatment,
but only a small number of the children in the study received the
support that they needed”, says child psychiatrist Marit Indedavik
of the Department of Neuroscience, NTNU.
DESIGN FOR THE COMMON MAN
Photo: Nina Tveter
They studied together at NTNU and toyed with
the idea of starting their own business. Two years later, the product
design company called Kadabra has been founded at the Leiv Eriksson
Business Incubation Centre in Trondheim. The goal of the four industrial
designers who formed the business is to offer innovative designs
on a consultancy basis. Kadabra’s services are already in demand.
The company has developed a bicycle rack it calls “Løv” (literally,
“Leaves”) for Ørsta Stål, which will install the rack in a number
of Norwegian cities in 2006. Aesthetic qualities are normally not
the top priority for bicycle rack designs – usually the design is
simply a matter of bending some steel tubes. “We were inspired by
nature and we let the bicycle stand ‘grow’ out of the cobblestones.
The stand also has protective, rubberised sides to prevent it from
scratching bicycles”, Espen Jørgensen (left) explains. The three
other designers at Kadabra are Carl André Nørstebø (right), Carl-Gustaf
Lundholm and Jørgen Solstad.
HYDROGEN IN MATERIALS
The off-shore sector currently relies mostly
on non-corrosive materials for underwater pipelines and production
systems at great depths. In the late 1990s, there were several breakdowns
and subsequent production stoppages in the North Sea, including
on Åsgård and Draugen. This focussed attention on the problem of
hydrogen in materials. Possible sources of hydrogen include hydrogen
contamination in materials used for welding and hydrogen that develops
in cathode protection. The hydrogen impairs the metal properties
and can lead to small cracks and defects that occur, for example
during welding, becoming critical. There is now considerable international
focus on this problem and research scientists at SINTEF/NTNU want
to gain more knowledge on the subject. SINTEF/ NTNU recently arranged
a large-scale workshop about hydrogen in materials, which attracted
representatives from several oil companies, material suppliers and
international research institutes. SINTEF/NTNU is now working to
achieve an EU project on the theme.
X-RAY CONSULTATION VIA BROADBAND
Photo: SINTEF Health Research
SINTEF, in collaboration with American IT-company
Kitware, has developed the world’s first communication system of
its type. The system enables clinicians to interpret three-dimensional
x-ray pictures together – at their respective hospitals via broadband
A pilot project is using the innovation to
connect the radiography departments at Molde Hospital and St Olav’s
Hospital in Trondheim. The system is being used to monitor the progress
of patients who have undergone surgery for a thoracic aortic aneurysm.
The elderly patients say they are grateful for the reduced travelling
for follow-up consultations. The system has been trialled on five
patients from Romsdal, and it meant they did not need to make the
long journey to the hospital in Trondheim for post-operative consultations.
Now they can stay in Molde and be checked from a far. Savings are
also made on reduced hospital bed nights.
The next stage can lead to a reduction in
hospital bed nights to an even greater extent. SINTEF research scientist
Jon Harald Kaspersen, one of those who developed the new system,
says it is also ideally suited for similar co-operation between
smaller and larger hospitals, including when radiation treatment
of cancer patients is being planned.
TOWARDS HYDROGEN PRODUCTION WITH CO2 HANDLING
Photo: Thor Nielsen
SINTEF Energy Research will co-ordinate
the research project DYNAMIS, which is at the leading edge of the
EU’s billion project HYPOGEN (Hydrogen Power Production). This project
comprises 29 participating partners, including Statoil, BP, Store
Norske Spitsbergen Grubekompani, Vattenfall and companies like Alstom
and Siemens. The project deals with studies on hydrogen production
from fossil fuels, gas treatment and transport, treatment of CO2
and H2 and storage of CO2 geological formations. The project will
also select a preferred concept design for a demonstration plant
for hydrogen power production together with a social awareness and
consciousness. The project’s total budget is €7.7 million, of which
SINTEF is contributing €1 million and NTNU €300,000.
AWARD-WINNING SKI OUTFIT
gold medals, five silver medals and seven bronze medals was the
total take for Norwegian cross-country skiers in the World Cup competition
in Oberstdorf, Germany, in February 2005. No drugs were involved
in this impressive achievement, but we’d like to think that a new
ski outfit developed at NTNU was. Here is Marit Bjørgen after the
relay race and wearing the suit, which was developed by NTNU professors
Sveinung Løset and Lars Sætran in cooperation with ski wax manufacturer
SWIX. The aerodynamic speed suit is named Pro Fit. The suit is a
result of two years of research; it has undergone extensive testing
in the wind tunnel at NTNU, on cylinders, on test dummies, and on
people. The shin, knees, thighs and arms have a rough surface, while
the hips, belly, chest and back are smooth. The researchers estimated
that the suit would save athletes between three and 14 seconds during
the course of a 15-kilometre race.
Photo: Erlend Aas, Scanpix
THEY SAID IT COULDN’T BE DONE
Today we receive all sorts of information
via mobile phones – pictures, film, sound, and text. This surge
of information demands a standardised technological platform, and
the new ISO standard MPEG-21 addresses this demand. MPEG-21 describes
the compatibility of the different components that form the very
infrastructure for receiving and sending multi-media information.
Adactus, a spin-off company from the Department of Electronics and
Telecommunications at NTNU, has developed the software that allows
the display of all types of information, irrespective of format
and content, on mobile phones.
SCANDINAVIAN STUDIES BEST IN CLASS
Scandinavian studies at NTNU
has been rated at the top of a national evaluation by the Research
Council of Norway. The group was praised for its clear research
leadership, clear research strategy, and its energetic, interdisciplinary
environment, which promotes fresh thinking. Many of the group’s
research initiatives have been classed as very good and excellent.
The Department of Scandinavian Studies and Comparative Literature
as a whole has also been given favourable reviews: Individual and
collaborative research projects have been given a top-level rating;
the department has a conscious recruitment strategy and a fair age
and gender distribution. At a university with a clear technological
and scientific profile, it is particularly difficult for non-technological
disciplines like linguistics and literary studies to compete. The
evaluation committee concluded that the future of Scandinavian studies
at NTNU seems bright
UNWANTED TRAWL CATCHES
The oceans’ wild fish resources are limited,
so it is critical that trawl nets do not catch unwanted species
or small/under-sized fish. The water flow in and surrounding a trawl
net’s construction is an important factor in this context. Arne
Fredheim’s recently completed doctoral work at NTNU involved developing
an approach for calculating the water flow in and around trawl nets.
The methods can be used to design trawls that will prevent undesired
catches, as well as for the design and control of water flow through
nets intended for fish farming.
TRAYS FOR PEOPLE WITH SPECIAL NEEDS
serving trays can be quite slippery and difficult to carry for sick
and physically challenged people. An awareness of this fact encouraged
Silje Evensen to develop a serving tray that combined functional
qualities with a less institutional look for her master’s project
at NTNU’s Department of Product Design. The tray is a hybrid between
a serving tray and a table-mat. When it sits on the table, it acts
like a table-mat, but when you carry it, it acts like a serving
tray. The tray has a non-slip surface. Stackability, washability
and durability are qualities that Evensen emphasised in the design.
The tray should also make meals more appealing. The tray has been
developed in cooperation with the Norwegian porcelain manufacturer
Photo: Silje Evensen
SUPER CONDUCTING MATERIALS WITH ZERO LOSS
Using super conducting materials in induction
furnaces for aluminium and copper can reduce the loss and improve
efficiency. SINTEF Energy Research has taken the initiative and
is leading an EU project to develop such techniques to be trialled
in an industrial project.
Induction furnaces normally use AC currents,
but for super conducting materials the key word is direct current.
By utilising direct current, a super conducting material coil can
generate a magnetic field without loss. The induced current is achieved
by the metal material being heated rotating in the magnetic field.
The idea is to produce a prototype that can be trialled at a Polish
extrusion plant. This will consist of a 50cm long aluminium bolt
that will rotate in a strong magnetic field. SINTEF will design
and construct the electromagnetic system and super conducting material