Austrian University Spin-offs at the World Expo in Dubai

More+Events ♦ Published: September 8, 2021; 16:14 ♦ Updated: September 8; 16:16 ♦ (Vindobona)

The World Expo 2020, which retained its name despite being postponed to 2021, will begin in October in Dubai. Various Austrian university spin-offs will present their innovations that will have positive impacts on climate-conscious behavior. These spin-offs include GREENPASS, REEgain, WoodC.A.R., City Intelligence Lab (CIL), Mostly AI's Mostly GENERATE, and Incremental3D's myPot. Read more about Austria's contribution to the upcoming World Expo and what innovations these spin-offs will be presenting.

The Austria pavilion at the World Expo 2020 in Dubai. / Picture: © WKO Austrian Chamber of Commerce / Expo Austria

At the World Expo 2020 in Dubai, which retained its name despite being postponed to October 2021, Austrian domestic spin-offs, i.e., companies that were founded from the university sector, will present developments that have a positive effect on the environment and climate in accordance with the Expo motto “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future.”

The close cooperation between companies and universities and technical colleges is also of particular importance here. In the iLab–the knowledge platform inside the Austria Pavilion–local spin-offs and research institutions will present themselves to an international audience of millions. There will be amazing projects from different subject areas to discover. So-called InnovationTowers will form the framework to present the exhibits, which will also be explained in more detail in videos.

“For many years, Austria, with its internationally oriented spin-offs and start-ups, has stood for a spirit of innovation and know-how. The Expo 2020 in Dubai is an opportunity to further emphasize the quality of domestic research and development, to pave the way to new markets and to initiate international cooperation,” said Minister of Digital and Economic Affairs Margarete Schramböck.

Four iLab topic clusters in the second phase

The Austrian contribution has set itself the task of showing solutions and products that make sense, reflecting the motto of the domestic contribution “Austria makes sense.” The exhibits of the companies will be shown in a temporary exhibition, which will run in two phases with four clusters each, in which the spin-offs will also be integrated. A change of objects and video presentations will take place at the halfway point of the world exhibition.

President of the Austrian Chamber of Commerce Harald Mahrer stated, “The presentation in several clusters and phases shows the great diversity of our companies, which are optimally complemented by university spin-offs and their research-based innovations. Export is the source of our prosperity, the Expo can help promote Austria's international network because the development of the domestic export economy is a success story that is second to none. Products and services 'Made in Austria' are in demand all over the world.”

In the first phase of the exhibition, the InnovationTowers in the Austria Pavilion will feature the topics Smart City, Circular Economy, Mobility, and Digital Opportunities from October to December 2021. From January to March 2022, the next four clusters of the exhibition will follow: Water Agriculture, Health & Life Science, New Materials, and Digital Security.

Austrian spin-offs at the Expo

Exciting spin-offs from Austria will present their innovations on various topics at the world exhibition that have a positive impact on climate-conscious behavior. Below are some examples:

Greenpass - Project: GREENPASS - enabling livable cities (Vienna)

Greenpass is a Viennese start-up and spin-off from Green4Cities and the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, founded in 2018 with the vision and mission of creating climate-resilient and livable cities around the world. Founded as an international competence and software center for climate-resilient urban planning and architecture, Greenpass has developed a worldwide unique software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution. This comprehensively evaluates, optimizes and certifies the environmental impact of real estate and plants with regard to the six urban topics of climate, water, air, biodiversity, energy and costs. “The toolbox offers the ideal tool for a successful adaptation to climate change for the respective planning phase. The globally applicable, unique rating system allows full control for livable cities - enabling livable cities, ”says Greenpass CEO Florian Kraus.

IMC University of Applied Sciences Krems - Project: REEgain - recycling rare earth metals (Krems, Lower Austria)

The aim of the international REEgain project at the Department of Lifesciences is to recycle rare earth metals such as scandium and yttrium without damaging the environment with the help of bacteria and algae from electronic waste.

The biomass obtained in this way can be separated and the rare earth metals can be recovered. “In recent years, the use of rare earth metals in electronics has increased exponentially. Current recycling methods, which in most cases hardly make up one percent of the required amount, are neither environmentally friendly nor sustainable due to the use of chemicals,” explains project manager Professor (FH) DI Dominik Schild from IMC FH Krems. The project is funded within the framework of the EU program “INTERREG VA Austria - Czech Republic.” The IMC Krems University of Applied Sciences has taken the lead in this pioneering project.

Holzcluster Steiermark - Project: WoodC.A.R. - development of a wood-based side impact beam (Styria)

Holzcluster Steiermark acts as an interface between R&D, politics and business. With over 150 partners, it primarily promotes cross-sector networking and knowledge transfer. The WoodC.A.R. research initiative lays the foundation for innovative, wood-based products. Twenty partners from science and industry are jointly pursuing the goal of making wood as a material simulatable and calculable in order to open up new fields of application such as the automotive industry.

“The research results from WoodC.A.R. provide answers to the questions of which vehicle concepts will be needed in the future to achieve our climate goals and what role wood can play in this. Above all, the cross-innovation approach and the networking of the industries make it possible to completely rethink the use of wood and to develop products for a sustainable future,” explains DI Christian Tippelreither, Managing Director of Holzcluster Steiermark.

When used correctly, wood-based materials are lightweight, high-performance materials that represent a valuable addition to the mobility sector of the future. “As part of the WoodC.A.R. research project, the project team in Weiz is developing the basics for the large-scale use of wood in future vehicles,” says Tippelreither. “ He further explains that the WoodC.A.R. project partners are working on computer simulations that allow car manufacturers to virtually depict the use of wood.

AIT Austrian Institute of Technology - Project: CIL City Intelligence Lab (Vienna)

The AIT, with its main locations in Vienna, Seibersdorf, Wiener Neustadt und Ranshofen, is an independent, urban know-how partner developing innovative solutions for city management and planning. The Expo will feature the City Intelligence Lab (CIL), an interactive platform used to explore new forms and technologies for urban development practices of the future. Here, cutting-edge digital technology and innovative approaches meet Big Data and artificial intelligence (AI)-powered urban planning tools. Using augmented reality, real-time processes and their products can be experienced in 3D on an interactive platform.

The CIL makes it possible to bring together the ideas of developers, investors and urban planners more quickly and cost-effectively and to ensure the sustainability of cities. Scenarios such as the climate situation in city districts can be vividly simulated and planned through.

“The innovation achievement of future urban planning will be to use digital technologies to create diverse planning scenarios that offer a wide range of solutions for cities and their inhabitants. We have created the necessary infrastructure for this,” explains Nikolas Neubert, Head of Competence Unit Digital Resilient Cities at the Center for Energy.

MOSTLY AI Solutions - Project: Mostly GENERATE - solution for synthetic data

MOSTLY AI is a high-tech startup that has developed breakthrough AI technology to anonymize big data. MOSTLY AI's solutions enable organizations worldwide and across industries to securely share big data assets both internally and externally while fully protecting the privacy of their customers.

MOSTLY AI solves one of the biggest challenges facing businesses today: balancing the need for AI and big data innovation with privacy protection. Their AI-generated software for synthetic data helps companies to develop data-protection-sensitive data sets by completely anonymizing them while retaining all valuable information and granularity; the result is data that can be freely used and shared.

Incremental3D - Project: myPot (Innsbruck, Tyrol)

Founded in 2017, the University of Innsbruck spin-off specializes in design and implementation from prototype to series product. In cooperation with the building materials producer Baumit, three architects from the University of Innsbruck have developed a 3D printing technology for concrete in several years of research work. Today, they can produce concrete objects in almost any shape, color and surface very quickly and cheaply.

MyPot demonstrates the potential that 3D concrete printing can have in product design and production development. The 3D printed concrete planters are custom made and do not require any mold making. From design to delivery often takes only two to three weeks, and the 3D printer can produce several objects in one day. Incremental3D GmbH mainly produces objects for public spaces and garden design. The goal is more sustainability through material optimization and digitization of construction. In the future, the young entrepreneurs want to work with the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH Zurich) to make the technology marketable for building construction as well.

Austrian Ministry for Digital and Economic Affairs