Group photo - KT-Consortium Annual Meeting 2017. Photo: DTU Chemical Engineering

So went the KT Consortium Annual Meeting 2017

Wednesday 09 Aug 17
|
by Lotte Grandorf

Contact

Georgios Kontogeorgis
Professor
DTU Chemical Engineering
+45 45 25 28 59

On the 6-8th of June 2017, 54 delegates from industry and academia from around the world gathered for a three-day Annual Meeting in Elsinore north of Copenhagen. The focus of the conference was on how to ensure research and innovation go hand in hand with the future needs of society.

The Annual Meeting started in Lyngby and following a workshop and a tour of the large pilot plant of DTU Chemical Engineering, the group commenced their journey north towards the historic Marienlyst conference centre in Elsinore and two days of presentations, poster sessions and discussions. At the Annual Meeting, the new Head of the KT Consortium was announced: Professor Georgios Kontogeorgis will be leading the consortium in the future succeeding Professor Rafiqul Gani, who for many years was the head of the CAPEC center and consortium (predecessor of KT Consortium). Fortunately, Professor Kontogeorgis is no stranger to managing and developing large consortia. With his many years as Head of AT CERE and later the Centre for Energy Resources Engineering (CERE) he is an experienced networker who has succeeded in building a large and strong consortium. However, with the KT Consortium Professor Kontogeorgis will not be starting from scratch. The new consortium rests upon the shoulders of the CAPEC consortium which has existed since 1997. Consequently, most of the current members have been affiliated for almost as long. Therefore, many of the industry members were interested to see where the new reorganized consortium will be heading. One of these industry members is Syngenta who sent to the annual meeting two of their bright minds, Christophe Grosjean and Patrick Piccione, Syngenta Fellow Group Leader, Process Engineering Science at Syngenta.

It’s great to see and hear that the way forward for a sustainable consortium has been found and what we’ve seen at the conference is that there’s thought given to continued research areas. I think this was the first opportunity for us to see how this was going to evolve in the future with my expectation that we will have the opportunity to have a role to play in shaping that future”, says Patrick Piccione from Syngenta, who also is member of the Advisory Board of the KT Consortium

Lead Scientist at Akzo Nobel and also Advisory Board member of the KT Consortium, Antoon ten Kate is also optimistic about the future of the consortium.

I look forward to seeing it grow further. I think the combination of CERE and CAPEC is a strong proposition. Together, they can achieve even more than as separate entities and I am optimistic about the future of the consortium”.

Discovering mutual interest and potential

During the discussions at the Annual Meeting it was visible that the interests of the industry members vary significantly. It is a diverse group. Currently, the KT Consortium consists of 16 companies from the chemical, food, simulation, biotech and pharmaceutical sectors. Yet, this did not deter the many members from finding common interest in some important issues that concerns them all. As such, the discussions mostly centred around - thermodynamic and related - property prediction as well as process design and synthesis. Modelling and simulation were also the central interests of the companies, as most of the industry members are particularly interested in the popular Integrated Computer Aided System (ICAS) software developed over the years by a research group led by Professor Rafiqul Gani.

It was clear from the annual meeting that the companies would like to see these ICAS/software activities continued and enhanced. In time, we will see whether some of these companies may become interested in other tools and research projects provided by the Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering. It is too early to say if such extensions will be relevant in the near future”, says Professor Kontogeorgis who is also no stranger to the challenge of finding common ground in a complex constellation of diverging interests.

Cooperation is key

Aside from the ICAS software, one interest that all companies seemed to have in common was in keeping up with the newest knowledge. Denis Lancon is a ‘Coordinateur Recherches Universitaires et Coopératives’ at Total as it beautifully states in French - a title which Lancon seems to fully embody in his visit to the KT Consortium Annual Meeting. To him, the key to acquiring new knowledge does not revolve around having the most resources - instead is it about being able to cooperate with others outside your own organizational boundaries.

I think it’s quite important. We cannot find one company or one university that is big enough to develop everything, so we need to have cooperation, which means we can go faster and more efficiently towards solutions. So, cooperation is the key”, says Denis Lancon.

Nevin Gerek, Principal Research Engineer at Schneider Electric - also member of the KT Consortium - agrees:

There’s no way we can be experts in every area and therefore we want to collaborate with universities such as DTU - and specifically KT Consortium is great for that! We’ve been in this consortium for almost 25 years - so the history goes back”, says Nevin Gerek who describes herself as new to the KT Consortium, but is looking forward to continuing the collaboration.

A rare opportunity

The consortium has been around for a long time and many of the original members still prioritize to travel many kilometres from their respective countries to Denmark each year to participate in the Annual Meeting. Christophe Grosjean, Principal Process Engineer at Syngenta has an explanation for this:

I really enjoyed seeing the tools where there were actual experimental results to correlate with some of the modelling work. That’s quite rare, so it’s always nice to see results being applied or data being used in conjunction with the modelling”, says Grosjean.

Apart from KT Consortium members getting the tools that they need in their work, another rare opportunity has also presented itself for people who are not member of the consortium: All presentations and posters from this year’s conference has been made available online. Go to the KT Consortium website at: http://www.kt.dtu.dk/english/research/kt-consortium  

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18 OCTOBER 2017