The researchers dr Samson Afewerki and professor Armando Córdova at FSCN got SKAPA Foundation Development Scholarship in Västernorrland on September 6th. As winners of the regional final competition they will get 15 000 sek reward for the development of a unique and environmentally friendly method to selectively decompose lignin and transform it into products with a higher market value, such as liquid biofuels, polymers and pharmaceuticals.
The researchers' innovative technology uses non-toxic organic catalysts and directly implementable in existing industrial scale production. The technology will benefit the paper industry, forest owners and fuels companies. The market for lignin into biofuels is estimated to be between 200 to 360 billion Swedish kronor per year.
- We have received development funding from Vinnova and the scholarship is a new proof of that more people see the potential of our innovation. It will be a great motivator to quickly realize our vision and reach out to the market with our products and services, says Samson Afewerki.
The jury found that Samson and Armando with targeted research and a clear direction towards commercialization had created a unique manufacturing method of a sustainable, environmentally friendly and cost-effective technology that can be applied in many different industries for the production of such biofuels, polymers and pharmaceuticals. The method is patented and heading out on the market.
Samson and Armando will also represent Västernorrlands län in the national final competetion in Stockholm on November 10. They are competing with 24 regional finalists of 500 000 in prize money. Expectations are high as last year's winner was from Västernorrland.
- We really hope that we can defend the title and take home the first prize of Västernorrland even this year, says Samson.
Congratulations Armando and Samson!
SKAPA-stipendiet är instiftat till minne av uppfinnaren Alfred Nobel med syfte att uppmärksamma och stödja innovatörer så att de kan utveckla sina uppfinningar till produkter och tjänster på marknaden. Samson och Armando har under de senaste åren tagit del av rådgivning genom Mittuniversitetets innovationsverksamhet och erhållit så kallade verifieringsmedel för att utreda den kommersiella potentialen i idén.