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Researchers from the UMN College of Science & Engineering were recently named recipients of the 2020 TechConnect Business Innovation Awards for their work on three technologies.

Direct Conversion of Heat to Electricity – Developed by Richard James (Department of Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics) and Bharat Jalan (Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science), this technology uses ferroelectric oxide crystals to convert waste heat to electricity.

3D Printing on Moving Freeform Surfaces – This technology, developed by Michael McAlpine (Department of Mechanical Engineering), involves an adaptive 3D printing system that can print on moving freeform surfaces using computer-vision and closed-loop feedback control. The potential applications include additive manufacturing, wearable devices, and on-site repairing of aircrafts and automobiles.

Simplified Recycling of Multicomponent Polymer Products – Chris Ellison (Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science) developed a means for improving the recyclability of mixed plastic waste streams without the need for physical sorting, including the plastic PET-PE, which is found in food or other packaging and is generally not recycled alongside other plastics due to their incompatibility.

The awardees were named in anticipation of the TechConnect Business Virtual Summit & Showcase, scheduled for November 17–19.