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Aalto University’s Material Technology Invention prize is awarded to researchers from Tampere University of Technology (TUT) for their invention “Economical direct dissolving method of cellulose”. The invention was created by researchers Marianna Vehviläinen, Taina Kamppuri and Maija Järventausta and Professor Pertti Nousiainen from the Department of Material Science at TUT. The prize was awarded on January 13 during the Technology Days event at Dipoli in Espoo, Finland. The prize is 20,000 euros.
In the method developed by the researchers, cellulose is treated with enzymes and subsequently mixed with an alkali, frozen and then melted. The result is an alkali cellulose solution. The process is environmentally friendly and does not require hazardous chemicals, contrary to the viscose method in which cellulose is treated with carbon disulfide, among other things. The invention represents modern clean tech thinking. It is also simple, ingenious and potentially cost-effective. The invention may have a significant national impact as it has direct relevance to the forest industry. The invention can be applied in several different industries.
There have been preliminarily discussions with a Finnish company on the commercialization of the invention. The improvement of the quality of the fibers and the productivity to the required level are prerequisites for commercialization. The Award Committee, in its justification, concluded that the quality of the product needs further improvement for commercial use.
The objective of the prize is to support the development of valuable inventions from free university research.
Aalto University grants the Material Technology Prize through an initiative of the UMK Center for New Materials. The objective of the prize is to support the development of valuable inventions for Finland that are the result of free university research. The prize covers only those inventions to which the inventors or the university had ownership when the first patent application was filed. Furthermore, national applications must have been filed in key countries to achieve international patent protection.
The most important evaluation criterion is how simple and ingenious the invention is. Secondly, the national impact is assessed, along with how the invention can be realized and taken into use. The third criterion is the commercial potential of the invention.
The Centennial Foundation of Technology Industries of Finland is the main sponsor of the Prize. Other sponsors are companies Beneq, Okmetic, Patent Agency Papula-Nevinpat, Reddal, Spinverse and Patent Agency Seppo Laine, and the Aalto Center for Entrepreneurship (ACE) and the Center for New Materials (UMK) at Aalto University.
Professor Pertti Nousiainen
TUT, Department of Material Science
phone. +358 400 632 051
Director Runar Törnqvist
Center for New Materials (UMK), Aalto University
phone. +358 50 380 0564
CEO Pekka Koponen
phone. +358 40 545 0008