Who are you?
Mikus Milgrāvis is a researcher working on electromagnetic technologies for metal production applications. He applied to the Pioneers programme to become involved in a climate change programme to help make links between research, metal production and improved environmental practices, as typical methods can pollute the environment and are not generally considered environmentally friendly.
What did you do?
Mikus undertook a placement at ISIM which is the national research and development institute for welding and material testing facility at Timisoara in Romania, and whose objectives are to perform applicative research and technological development. Mikus worked on a project to undertake experiments on a new coating technique called thermal spraying that could be more environmentally friendly and more resistant to aggressive environments. The Institute provided training to support Mikus undertake his investigations. Despite this being a new work area for Mikus, he developed an experimental process by introducing a method for sample tests according to official standards for such coatings, as well as studying air pollution during the thermal spraying process for this material. This enabled a comparison of the materials to be made across processes and different laboratories.
The results of the work undertaken by Mikus have been published in a conference paper presented to the International Conference for Structural Integrity of Welded Structures. The Institute is undertaking further experiments with other materials using the experimental process instigated by Mikus, to further its study of the thermal spraying system and in-use application.
I want to be part of environmental changes for heavy industry where even a slight impact gives a huge benefit to the whole environment. The Pioneers programme was a helpful first step in this direction.
What did you learn?
Through the Pioneer workshops and learning modules, Mikus has learnt about the application of system innovation tools to consider business models, products and stakeholders. This included new techniques relating to the development and application of processes and products.
Mikus felt that the Pioneers programme gave him the passion to be involved in new processes and the confidence to work in the commercialisation of technologies.
What happens next?
Mikus has applied his learning in his current role and also to the development of a start-up focusing on aluminium production. Following his involvement in the Climate-KIC’s Accelerator programme, Mikus received coaching support to help transform applied research into a successful climate-positive business. Mikus with his team have received funding for further technology development and to build an industrial scale prototype.