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Talking to Evgeniya Khomyakova and Anne Dalager Dyrli, Cerpotech, NO (September 2020)

About Evgeniya Khomyakova 

Dr. Evgeniya Khomyakova is R&D Manager at Cerpotech since 2019. She holds a PhD in Material Chemistry (2016) from the Jozef Stefan Institute, Ljubljana, Slovenia. During the PhD study (2012-2016) she studied different functional ceramic oxide processing and characterization methods. From 2017 to 2019 Evgeniya worked as a postdoc at Department of Materials Science and Engineering, NTNU. During her postdoc she worked with developing environmentally friendly aqueous sol-gel routes for preparation of piezoelectric lead-free ceramic powders and thin films. So far she has published 9 peer-reviewed articles (h=4, ~40 citations) and co-authored 1 book chapter.


About Anne Dalager Dyril

Anne Dalager Dyrli is CEO of Ceramic Powder Technology AS (Cerpotech) since 2017. she holds a MSc in Chemistry, majoring in polymer chemistry, and a Master of Management, Strategy and Business Development, from NTNU. After graduation she worked as a research scientist in SINTEF for 13 years. Anne was involved in projects within chemistry and polymer materials for a wide range of applications, from special niche product to large volume products and within various market areas such as medical, consumables, oil and gas etc. In 2005 she became one of two founders of RESMAN AS and held the position as CTO and VP chemistry and Materials. In her 12 years at RESMAN Anne had the main responsibility for technology development and commercialization and was part of an exceptional journey with growing a great and profitable company. Anne has also a 2 years teaching experience as Assistant Professor II at NTNU Department of Industrial Economics and Technology Management with focus on mentoring for start-up companies.


Role in the project: members of Cerpotech, project partner


1-What is the company background?

Cerpotech (cerpotech.com) is a spin off company from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) from 2007 specializing in manufacturing of high quality complex oxide powders by spray pyrolysis. Main driver to establish the company was the lack of commercial availability of special materials. The company moved out of campus in 2013 and have a production facility with ton scale capacity per year.

Our core technology is the spray pyrolysis process from feedstock chemicals to customized powders with ability to serve both academia and industry.  Spray pyrolysis is an economically feasible, environment-friendly method to produce high quality advanced materials with particles in the nano/submicron range in large scale. Over the years, Cerpotech has developed protocols for more than 100 different oxide materials from combinations of more than 40 elements. The powders exhibit excellent sinterability properties due to their small particle size, large specific surface areas and high chemical and phase purity. Additionally, the spray pyrolysis is very flexible and can produce a broad range of materials given stable precursor solutions. With the flexibility in combination of elements and batch size from kg scale to ton scale Cerpotech is in a unique position to both partner as a developer of new materials in projects and as a commercial supplier of high quality complex oxides to the industry. The market areas for Cerpotech´s materials are membranes, materials for cathode and electrolyte in solid oxide fuel cells, lead-free piezoceramic materials for transducers, sensors and other piezo applications, materials for batteries including solid state electrolyte etc.

2-What is the technical role of Cerpotech in KEROGREEN?

Cerpotech, being a raw material supplier, is one of the first links in the value chain for the development of the technology in Kerogreen.  We are responsible for the manufacturing of materials for the oxygen separation membrane in solid oxide cells. The materials are sent to partners in Kerogreen for further processing and characterization.  In the first stage of the project we start out with a range of materials, different compositions, for the initial screening tests.  Based on the functionality test, the best materials will be chosen for a scaled up experiment.  Our production facility and process can handle this range of batch size very well. The continuous process of spraying gives a good base for reproducibility of materials between batch sizes and hence the challenges with scale up is lower. 

3-How did Cerpotech join the KEROGREEN partners team?

When the project coordinator of KEROGREEN, Adelbert Goede, was searching for the material supplier to complete the project consortium, several partners who already joined the team pointed in our direction. There were links to us from KIT, VITO and DIFFER, so it was a word of mouth, that brought us to the KEROGREEN consortium. In turn, we were happy to participate since R&D activities always bring new competence and strengthen our background.

4-Does Cerpotech participate in other projects than KEROGREEN partners team?

As many of the applications for Cerpotech´s materials are emerging markets there are in many cases a need for development to verify the functionality and value of our materials. In  total, Cerpotech has been involved in six projects funded under EUs FP-7, three projects funded under H2020, as well as several national projects, mainly focused towards energy- and environmental technologies such as battery materials, solid oxide fuel cells, gas separation membranes and gas reforming.

5-What are your (individual) roles / tasks in the project?

We both are involved in project activities. As a ceramic material scientist, Evgeniya is a main contact person regarding the technical details, i.e. everything related to powder fabrication, characterization, and quality control. She is also responsible for reporting the activities performed in the frame of KEROGREEN. My main role is financing, budget control and reporting of financial activities, which are relevant to the project. We are both involved in discussions and planning of Cerpotech´s work and supervising the manufacturing of the materials performed by our colleagues.  

6-Why does Cerpotech fit for the KEROGREEN goals?

The background for the project is to improve the environmental impact from aviation industry by developing CO2 neutral kerosene.  To achieve this goal there are several parts to be developed and Cerpotech has the ability to supply some of the materials needed to reach the project goals. With our technology we can tune the material composition and powder properties towards the application. In addition, Cerpotech´s technology is environmentally friendly with water based solutions and clean energy source. Thus, the unique production of Cerpotech complies with the KEROGREEN’s objectives, such as reduction of CO2 emissions, developing renewable energy technology and altogether making an input into the sustainable future for the society.

7-What does participation in KEROGREEN mean for Cerpotech? Which benefits do you expect for the company?

In general, participation in research projects and R&D activities are in our best interests. Cerpotech has gained strong competence in manufacturing ceramic materials through participation in various research projects. Many new compositions and protocols have been developed and new products released in the market. Participation in research projects also facilitates formation and consolidation of connections with new national and international partners, including industry which is of utmost importance for successful commercialization of the products based on our materials. Developing new materials and also for emerging markets are a marathon when it comes to commercialization, but we hope that the focus on environment and climate change can enforce the implementation of new technologies faster and hence contribute to our effort to  grow the company.

We also would like to add that we are happy to be part of such professional and warm consortium. We are doing our best to provide our partners with the highest quality materials and looking forward to continuing our collaboration also after KEROGREEN is finalized.


Many thanks for the interview, and let's hope for other interesting collaborative projects together!