2.5 million euros for public-private research towards more sustainable steel production
Total of seven Utrecht public-private projects granted within NWO ENW-PPS
A public-private consortium led by prof. Bert Weckhuysen and Ward van der Stam (Chemistry), has been awarded an NWO grant for the project “Transforming carbon-rich industrial waste gases of metallurgical plants into valuable products.” Together with Tata Steel, Leiden University and M2i, the researchers will work towards more sustainable steel production by converting released CO2 into valuable basic chemicals.
The project budget of 2.5 million euros is financed 50% by NWO and 50% by the industrial partners. In addition to this project, another six smaller public-private projects have been awarded to Utrecht researchers within the NWO ENW-PPS-programme.
With a CO2 reduction of more than 50% compared to the conventional blast furnace process, the recently developed HIsarna process is an important step forward in Tata Steel’s ambition of fully carbon neutral steel production. This consortium is centered around the use of the HIsarna top gas. Tata Steel, Utrecht University, Leiden University and M2i have joined forces to convert the CO2-rich, high-temperature emissions of the HIsarna top gas into valuable basic chemicals by thermo- and electrochemical means. For this purpose, in addition to new catalysts, new thermo- and electrochemical measurement methods will be developed, which are generically applicable in the broader field of catalysis and process technology.
New generation of antibodies for the treatment of leukaemia
Another major NWO ENW-PPS grant has been awarded to a project of 830,000 euros with Wei Wu (Pharmaceutical Sciences). Together with the VU (project lead), AMC, QVQ and argenx, the researchers will work towards a new generation of antibodies for the treatment of leukaemia.
Chronic lymphatic leukaemia is the most common form of blood cancer (the uncontrolled proliferation of certain white blood cells). Expression of the chemokine receptor protein CXCR4 is raised in leukaemic cells, and this plays an important role in their cell division and migration to the lymph glands where, through interactions with other cells, they promote cell division and are less susceptible to cell death. We will examine whether the inhibition of certain CXCR4 complexes and/or the activation of the immune system is the most effective way of deactivating CXCR4-positive tumour cells. This will lead to a new generation of CXCR4-directed antibodies for the treatment of leukaemia.
Catalysts, antibodies and plastics
In addition to these two projects, five smaller public-private projects have been granted to Utrecht researchers within the NWO ENW-PPS programme.