Montan-Stiftung & Ingpuls sign strategic cooperation agreement

The Montan-Stiftung has announced a strategic elastocaloric cooperation between Ingpuls GmbH and Montan-Innovation-Lab-Saar.

Völklingen and Bochum, August 22, 2023: Montan-Stiftung Saar announced the signing of a strategic cooperation between Ingpuls GmbH and Montan-Innovation-Lab-Saar on June 27, 2023, during the opening of the Elastocalorics 2023 conference. One of the objectives of this technology alliance is to join the forces of the established steel group with one of the most innovative technology companies in the shape memory technology sector to prepare elastocalorics for industrial use.

Improvement of NiTi shape memory alloys for use in tomorrow’s elastocaloric applications.

Elastocalorics is still a relatively young technology based on the use of functional materials. Phase transformations in these metals, which also include nickel-titanium shape memory alloys, are accompanied by exothermic or endothermic reactions, thereby enabling these materials to either add or remove heat from technical systems. The theoretically achievable efficiencies exceed those of today’s heating or cooling systems by an order of magnitude. This makes elastocalorics one of the most promising technologies of our time for eliminating environmentally harmful, carbon-based coolants from our environment in the long term. In order to achieve this goal, both companies agree, it will require systematic improvement of current materials and the structured establishment of a supply chain that is as self-contained as possible. In addition to functional materials, the cooperation will therefore also focus on machines and plant concepts as well as their system integration in vehicles, buildings or industrial production and processing machines.

Through their cooperation, the Montan-Stiftung and Ingpuls would like to contribute to the development of precisely such a supply chain. Ingpuls GmbH, based in Bochum, Germany, will initially be responsible for developing the next generation of even more resilient shape memory alloys. The Montan-Stiftung, on the other hand, will use its

possibilities to support Ingpuls technologically on this path with its decades of expertise in materials development and production, as well as to make preparations in the Saarland to build up and sustainably anchor an elastocaloric industry.

Cooperation between Ingpuls and Montan-Stiftung

Reinhard Störmer, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Montan-Stiftung-Saar, commented on this as follows during a press conference on July 27, 2023: „The aim of the Montan-Stiftung and our latest activities is to strengthen the competitiveness of our steel companies. This goes hand in hand with the responsibility for preserving long-term competitive jobs in the Saar region,“, Störmer said. „”Worth mentioning in this context is the recently concluded research, development and cooperation agreement between our subsidiary, Montan-Innovation-Lab-Saar GmbH, and the young Bochum-based company “Ingpuls”. The focus of the cooperation is the improvement and production of lifetime-optimized semi-finished products and functional units made of Nickel-Titanium shape memory alloys. This will enable disruptive applications, e.g. in the field of so-called elastocalorics, combined with the opportunity to establish new production sites with sustainable jobs in our region.“

Commenting on the collaboration, Dr. Burkhard Maaß, Founder and Managing Director of Ingpuls GmbH, said: „”Even though we have become a specialist in the field of shape memory alloys over the years, as a small medium-sized company with fewer than 100 employees we can still learn a lot from the steel industry, because it uses similar processes and technologies to those used in the production and processing of Nickel-Titanium. With its expertise from the steel industry, the Montan-Stiftung can support us on our way to internationalization and in our further growth. Through its global network, it can certainly open many doors for us and accelerate the achievement of our goals.”
Dr. Maaß explains the possible fields of application and reasons for developing them: “In addition to applications in building air conditioning and machine cooling, our main application targets for elastocalorics include automotive cooling units in particular. In order to be sufficiently competitive for the automotive industry, the requirements to be met in terms of the performance of the materials are particularly high. On the other hand, there are massive savings potentials in terms of CO2 and other environmentally harmful emissions. It is therefore worth making a special effort despite these seemingly high market entry hurdles. If we succeed in establishing elastocalorics in the automotive industry, all other industries will quickly follow. We have seen something similar with other SMA applications.”