Solvay and EPFL, acting through the National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) MARVEL, recently signed a partnership agreement to use atomic-scale modeling to increase researchers’ understanding of key chemical reactions and optimize the properties of the composites involved. “By working together and pooling our expertise in chemistry, quantum modeling and machine learning, we will be able to study complex chemical reactions from a whole new angle,”explain EPFL professors Michele Ceriotti, from the Laboratory of Computational Science and Modelling, and Clémence Corminboeuf, from the Computational Molecular Design Laboratory. According to Patrick Maestro, Solvay's scientific director, “a modeling-based approach is of twofold interest for industry, as it filters out the best potential composites in silico prior to the experimental phase, and costs can be managed more effectively.”For such an approach, new computational methods requiring supercomputers will have to be developed.
Both partners share an interest in tech transfer and innovation. That’s why they have teamed up for this first project, which will provide funding to two researchers for two years. And other projects are likely to follow suit.
Solvay is a leader in markets as varied as aerospace, cars, electronics and cosmetics, for which it develops tailor-made chemical materials and composites. It is therefore an attractive potential employer for future EPFL graduates. “Teaming up with an industry leader like Solvay will be very beneficial to EPFL. After all, innovation is about more than transferring technology from laboratory to industry and can be enhanced by bringing the challenges of industry into the equation,”says Marc Gruber, Vice President for Innovation at EPFL.
sketch map representation of molecules
Solvay is an advanced materials and chemical company, committed to developing chemistry that addresses key societal challenges. Solvay innovates and partners with customers in diverse global end markets. Its products are used in planes, cars, batteries, smart and medical devices, as well as in mineral and oil and gas extraction, enhancing efficiency and sustainability. Its lightweighting materials promote cleaner mobility, its formulations optimize the use of resources and its performance chemicals improve air and water quality. Solvay is headquartered in Brussels with around 24,500 employees in 61 countries. Net sales were € 10.1 billion in 2017, with 90% from activities where Solvay ranks among the world’s top 3 leaders, resulting in an EBITDA margin of 22%. Solvay SA (SOLB.BE) is listed on Euronext Brussels and Paris (Bloomberg: SOLB.BB - Reuters: SOLB.BR) and in the United States its shares (SOLVY) are traded through a level-1 ADR program. (Figures take into account the announced divestment of Polyamides.)