- I did not expect to get this award at all. It's a big surprise for me and really a great honor. The award feels like a proof that I am on the right track, says Shi Yijun, a researcher in machine elements at Luleå University of Technology.
Behind the Future Award and Naturskyddsföreningen, Ny Teknik, Svensk Energi, Swedbank and Teknikföretagen. The prize aims to stimulate young people's interest and curiosity to solve future challenges in the energy and sustainability issues. It should also encourage training, research and work on energy and sustainability in the broadest sense. Initiatives that promote interaction between academia and industry, considered particularly interesting.
The lubricant Yijun Shi, that has developed, is completely new in its kind. It is based on glycerol and is extracted from biomass waste products. Besides the environmental benefits, the product is better and costs less. It is considered to have great potential in the market, especially in the forest industry, where lubricant leakage today is a big problem. Most likely, it will also be a strong competitor to traditional lubricants for many other applications.
The invention is considered to have great potential in a multi-billion market.
- The product is 100 percent renewable and production is simple and cost effective. The process causes no carbon emissions, says Shi Yijun.
The commercialization of the lubricant, Yijuan Shi does in close cooperation with the innovation support system available at Luleå University of Technology, through LTU Business AB and Arctic Business Incubator. The funding for this comes from VINNOVA and is a WIN-Authentication given to support verification of business concepts and support the commercialization of research.
- We work with the goal to have a commercial product on the market in about 9-12 months. The closest we aim at a pre-commercial field test together with forestry industry, says Emil Svanberg, LTU Business AB.
Prize winner gets, in addition to fame and fortune, a stipend of SEK 100 000, for personal development and advancement in his field.
- The price is a good confirmation that Shi Yijun work with an exciting business opportunity and key technology challenge. It is also an acknowledgment of his curiosity and drive in everything that is required in addition to the research itself, when the research results are commercialized. He has left his comfort zone as a researcher. Moreover, he is relatively young and has quite recently moved to Sweden from another country, so he makes an intense personal journey right now, says Emil Svanberg.
The incubator of Luleå University of Technology, Arctic business incubator praise the idea.
– We see major opportunities for Yijun and his team that is in the process of creating a company in order to take this idea to the market, says Katarina Öqvist, business consultant at Arctic business incubator.