Scientists from NTC and the Faculty of Electrical Engineering scored in the competition Visionaries

Competition Achievements Science

Startup Pinflow Energy Storage and also the project of an electrostatic separator of plastics, both with roots in the laboratories of the University of West Bohemia in Pilsen, attracted the attention of the expert jury of this year's Visionaries 2022 competition.

Scientists from the New Technology - Research Centre (NTC) and the RICE research center of the Faculty of Electrical Engineering brought honorable mentions from Tower Park Prague when the awards were presented on December 6th.

Startup Pinflow energy storage was founded in 2017 by Jaromír Pocedič, Jiří Vrána, Jan Dundálek, Juraj Kosek and Petr Mazúr - scientists from the NTC research center of the University of West Bohemia in Pilsen and from the University of Chemistry and Technology in Prague. They set themselves the task of finding a solution to store electrical energy for non-mobile applications so that the price per kWh per cycle is as low as possible. They have developed, manufactured, improved and sold batteries that contain not only energy but also the future. They have a lifespan of a quarter of a century and are non-flammable and non-explosive. So-called redox flow batteries and their components are produced by the company in the Pilsen hall, while also managing to assemble entire energy systems for large installations. It has customers in twenty-six countries. Even its beginnings are connected with BIC Plzeň. Similar to Amitia, the Pinflow energy storage company was included in the Incubation Program for young and innovative companies, where in addition to financial support from the Pilsen Region, it also received consultations from experts. A pure innovation company becomes a manufacturing company. Until now, manual production is being gradually automated so that the company is able to adapt to the extremely growing market demand.

In the Visionaries 2022 competition, the Pinflow energy storage company received an honorable mention from the expert jury for its technological, economic and social contribution in the field of optimizing the storage and consumption of electrical energy. "We appreciate this award. It is a symbol for us that the path we have set out is going in the right direction," said the company's CEO, Jiří Vrána. Pinflow energy storage already won the Neuron Award this year for connecting science and business.

The electrostatic separator of plastics developed at the RICE research center received an honorable mention for its technological, economic and social contribution to the field of waste management and the plastics industry. Thanks to the unique technology, it enables the separation of plastics with up to 99% purity. The technology is based on the principle of freefall electrostatic separation, whereby the separator takes advantage of the fact that each type of plastic is charged differently by friction and thus acquires a different charge. The plastic crumb is poured between the electrodes, to which a high voltage is connected, and according to its charge, the plastic particles are either attracted or repelled, and the electrodes sort them into baskets.

The whole process is energy-efficient, the power input of the high-voltage part of the separator varies in units of watts. Another advantage is that charging takes place continuously. The device includes software for computer simulation and optimization of separator settings and control. The program enables control and control of the device during separation and significantly facilitates its operation. The benefit is the variability of the technical solution of the separator, which enables the recycling of several different mixtures of plastic waste, or even the separation of one type of plastic from a diverse mixture.

The separator fulfills the idea of a friendly approach to the environment. It is suitable both for the secondary processing of plastic materials and for increasing the purity of plastic mixtures. In addition, current experimental data show that plastics may not be the only group of materials that can be separated with this technology. This technology can also be used in agriculture or in the separation of mineral raw materials. The University of West Bohemia is currently negotiating with several entities from the application field about the possibility of using the separator and selling the license.

The Visionaries 2022 competition was organized by the non-governmental non-profit association CzechInno to support inventive and one-of-a-kind ideas for Czech companies, entrepreneurs, organizations and the authors themselves. The awards ceremony took place on Tuesday, December 6 in Tower Park Prague (in the Žižkov Tower). Among the award-winning projects, the Plzeň region was prominently represented - in addition to the companies Amitia and Pinflow energy storage, the company HF Service from Touškov and the research center RICE ZČU also succeeded in the competition.


New Technologies - Research Centre (NTC)

Dita Sládková

07. 12. 2022