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Success stories

On this page you may find a few examples of successful projects developed by Engineering researchers at the University of Groningen and public and private partners. The list will be constantly updated with new promising initiatives.

Fundamentals in the adhesion of PVD ZnMg-coatings for the next generation steels

Prof. Dr. Yutao Pei’s project , developed at the Engineering and Technology Institute Groningen was awarded by the Technology Foundation as part of its initiative to support the High Tech Systems and Materials Top Sector . The project is driven by the desire of Tata Steel Europe to develop PVD continuously coated strips as a breakthrough technology for depositing anti-corrosion ZnMg coatings on NGS strip. It aims at understanding how the adhesion property of PVD ZnMg coatings on NGS is influenced by PVD including the subsequent thermal processes, and by the chemical composition and microstructure of the coating and substrates. These parameters will be used to predict the mechanical performance of substrate-coating systems during subsequent thermal and forming operations by micromechanical simulations. The ultimate goal is to solve the adhesion problem of novel PVD ZnMg-based multilayer coated NGS by optimizing the coating design and interface structure, and enhancing interfacial bonding through hybrid ion implantation and thermal activated intermetallic reactions, and/or by employing an adhesion interlayer.

North East Netherlands Region of Smartfactories
North East Netherlands Region of Smartfactories

Smart Industry Roadmap

Engineering researchers at the University of Groningen are active participants in the “Region of Smart Factories,” a field lab within the Smart Industry Roadmap of the High Tech Top Sector . The “Region of Smart Factories” is also a flagship project of the High Tech Systems and Materials North Netherlands in which 25 companies (large and small) and knowledge institutes conduct joint research. Focus will be on research issues such as flawlessness (zero-defect manufacturing), "first time right" designs of new products and manufacturing processes, and customized (flexible) manufacturing.

Several projects developed by engineers at the University of Groningen have been awarded by the local governments in North Netherlands within the frame of the Region of Smart Factories :

  • Prof. Dr. Marco Aiello’s project will deliver “Scalable sensor-software architectures for Big Data in the Manufacturing industry”
  • Dr. Antonis Vakis cooperates with Prof. Ton van den Boogaard (University of Twente) for the development of hybrid simulation models, based on material microstructure and interfacial properties, to predict and optimize the performance of combined metal forming and polymer injection moulding processes

Energy-based analysis and control of the grid: dealing with uncertainty and markets

A team of researchers consisting of Prof. Claudio de Persis, and Prof. Jacquelien Scherpen from the Engineering and Technology Institute Groningen, Prof. Arjan van der Schaft (Johann Bernoulli Institute for Mathematics and Computer Science) and colleagues from TU Delft, DNV KEMA and TSO TenneT are developing a new approach for the modeling, analysis and control of smart grids based on energy functions. Their project “ Energy-based analysis and control of the grid: dealing with uncertainty and markets (ENBARK)” focuses on dynamic pricing algorithms that formulate the maximization of the social welfare as the stabilization of an equilibrium point. The combination of economic and energy considerations in a unifying energy-based framework has no precedent in the literature and will lead to a breakthrough in how future smart grids will be operated. ENBARK was awarded by the National Scientific Organization within its research program Uncertainty Reduction in Smart Energy Systems (URSES) that supports the Energy Top Sector .

Cooperative Networked Systems

Energy efficiency is a growing concern for the optimal operation of data centres (data farms). In response to this need Prof. Claudio de Persis, from ENTEG, together with Prof. Arjan van der Schaft from the Bernoulli institute, colleagues from the University of Twente (Prof. Boudewijn Haverkort ) and University of Amsterdam (Dr. Andy Pimentel) and Target Holding BV are exploring new control strategies for networks of cyber-physical systems. The task of the developed model is to enable feedback scheduling of the servers’ workload and to balance the completion of jobs and maintenance of the operating conditions in the servers with reduced energy consumption.


The European Graphene Flagship

The University of Groningen occupies a major position in the European Graphene research via the Graphene Flagship project, in which Prof. Bart van Wees from the Zernike Institute of Advanced Materials participates as work package leader. The Graphene Project is one of the two European flagships to stimulate new and upcoming technology and is assigned a budget of € 1 billion over a period of ten years. It investigates the possibilities offered by this two-dimensional carbon super material. Prof. Bart Van Wees was appointed workgroup leader of the programme investigating how graphene can be applied in spintronics, a field of electronics that makes use of electron spin, an intrinsic magnetic property of electrons. In the coming period the participating research groups are expected to focus more on applications. To this end they have been joined by an industrial partner, the Swedish NanOsc, a company that is already active in the production of spintronics.   

Advanced instrumentation for radiation physics

The KVI - Center for Advanced Radiation Techniques has a strong tradition in the development, construction, and operation of complex equipment for particle accelerator facilities (ion sources, beam guiding systems, beam diagnostics instrumentation) and detector systems for experiments with particle beams. The scientific and technical staff at the KVI is very experienced in producing and using state-of-the-art systems, based at the centre’s facility or at various other places around the world.

The accelerator facility of KVI - CART (AGOR) offers world-wide unique particle beams for a range of applications in medical physics and radiation physics. Under the leadership of Prof. dr. S. Brandenburg we are developing the next generation of radiation techniques for cancer treatment based on accelerated particles. As an example, we cooperate closely with the leading commercial vendor in this field: IBA. Under the leadership of Prof. dr. N. Kalantar-Nayestanaki we design, construct, assemble and test various pieces of very complex hardware which will be used for the detection systems of the new Facility for Anti-proton and Ion Research in Germany (FAIR). Examples are systems to enhance the signal to background ratio for accelerated particles and complex systems for high-energy photon detection.

The chopper during testing at room temperature
The chopper during testing at room temperature

Mirror for the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT)

The group Discrete Technology and Production Automation (Prof. Dr. Bayu Jayawardhana, Prof. Dr. Ir. Jacquelien Scherpen, Prof. Dr. Ir. Ming Cao, from the Engineering and Technology Institute Groningen has been involved in the development of the “chopper” an important component in METIS, the Mid-infrared E-ELT Imager and Spectrograph of the European Extremely Large Telescope . The “chopper,” which is the First Dutch contribution to the Telescope, is a small mirror that should be able to move very fast, be able to hold a random position very stable, operate at a temperature of -190 degrees Celsius and in vacuum. The controller design and the performance test program of the mechanism were the result of a collaboration with SRON. Other partners in the project were NOVA, ASTRON, TNO, and JPE.

The Ocean Grazer is a massive platform most of which is situated under the water surface
The Ocean Grazer is a massive platform most of which is situated under the water surface

The Ocean Grazer project

Through the Ocean Grazer Project,  Dr. Antonis Vakis, Prof. Bayu Jayawardhana, Prof. Yutao Pei, and Prof. Gert-Jan Euverink from the Engineering and Technology Institute at the University of Groningen, and Dr. E.J. Stamhuis (Energy and Sustainability Research Institute Groningen), Dr. A.J. Bosch (Undergraduate School of Science), Dr. A.A. Geertsema (Undergraduate School of Science) and Drs. W.A. Prins (innovator and project manager) cooperate with academic and private partners from the Netherlands and abroad to develop a new, adaptable device for the collection and storage of multiple forms of ocean energy. The project has the endorsement of the Provincial Executive of the province of Groningen.


Researchers in the group Green Chemical Reaction Engineering that Prof. Erik Heeres leads at the Engineering and Technology Institute (University of Groningen) have worked together with two companies, KNN and Syncom, for the development from biomass of three basic chemicals benzene, toluene and xylene (BTX) that are used in numerous chemical products such as epoxy resins, polycarbonate, aramid and other high-performance plastics. The project BioBTX, which holds relevance for both chemistry and the agro-industry, makes possible the production of green materials with high added-value from organic waste, and the reduction of CO2 emissions associated with the production of BTX.

Sustainable buildings

The Sustainable Buildings initiative, a spin-off of the Distributed Systems research group (under the leadership of Prof. Marco Aiello) at the University of Groningen has as main goal to make office buildings more energy efficient and therefore sustainable. Sustainable Buildings offer customized solutions for consumption and environment monitoring, and for manual and automatic control. To do that, they provide a SaaS cloud platform that enables organizations and businesses to save up to one-third of energy in their buildings. The spinoff also focuses on public energy dashboards that make users of buildings more aware of energy they consume at work, on energy dashboards for management that help managers get better insights into energy consumption in their buildings and on automating the control of energy consuming devices using intelligent algorithms.

Cellulose Assisted Dewatering of Sludge

The research group Products and Processes for Biotechnology in the Biobased Economy, under the leadership of Prof. Gert-Jan Euverink (Engineering and Technology Institute Groningen), works together with water authorities and industry (Attero, Brightwork, the Centre of Expertise for Water Technology, Waterschap Noorderzilvest, Wetterskip Fryslân’) in the project CADOS for the cellulose assisted dewatering of sludge. Wastewater carried via sewers to the treatment plant contains solid matter that includes a large proportion of cellulose. The cellulose stems from the use of toilet paper. The project will separate the solid matter containing cellulose that is present in the sewage water by means of a fine sieve and will use the separated solid matter for the dewatering of sewage sludge. CADoS principle is being applied to attempt to reduce significantly the use of chemicals at the treatment plant, to consume less energy and to lower sludge processing costs. CADoS will also increase the energy yield from biogas in the fermentation of sludge.


SPRINT is a joint initiative of the University of Groningen, the University of Groningen, the University Medical Center Groningen, the University of Twente, and the Hanze University of Applied Sciences, which develops innovative technologies to improve or restore the mobility of the elderly. Research at SPRINT focuses on the development of Smart Mobility Devices to prolong the mobility of the elderly and facilitate rehabilitation treatments, and on developing innovative prostheses and orthoses. Several engineering scientists at the UMCG and the University of Groningen participate in the leadership of SPRINT: Prof. Ir. Bart Verkerke, Ing. Herman Kuis and Prof. Dr. Ir. Hans Wortmann.

Last modified:08 September 2020 3.47 p.m.