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  • Writer's pictureIMAI

CHF 40,000 to convert waste heat to electric power and for next-gen cancer diagnosis

Updated: Apr 5

etavalve and IMAI were selected for Venture Kick's second stage of financial and entrepreneurial support. Their projects create a novel category of piston-based thermal engines, and redefine cancer diagnosis.

IMAI: Transforming Cancer Diagnosis

IMAI is on a dedicated mission to redefine cancer diagnosis, addressing the persistent problem of information loss, false negatives, and high healthcare costs resulting from the limitations of 2D histology methods. IMAI aims to bring pathology to the 3D digital world.

Its team, led by founders Francesca Catto (biomedicine), Sascha Brun (mechanical engineering), and Robert Axelrod (health science and technology), has developed a fully automated platform. It rapidly processes tissue samples, labels them for cancer detection, and uses innovative software for counting cancer cells, measuring cancer mass, and 3D visualization. Their platform is invaluable for both clinical and research purposes.

To further advance their mission, they intend to use the Venture Kick Stage 2 funds for prototyping for clients, market research and analysis, and travel for client and partner meetings.

etavalve: Efficiently Converting Waste Heat to Electric Power

Industries generate waste heat as a byproduct. However, efficiently harnessing it within the temperature range of 550 to 900°C for electricity generation poses economic challenges. In this relatively low-temperature spectrum, traditional turbine-based thermal engines exhibit significant inefficiencies.

etavalve's co-founders Wolfgang Schneider and Dr. Andyn Omanovic joined forces to create a novel category of piston-based thermal engines. Within the desired power output range, from a few kilowatts to a few megawatts, a conversion efficiency of 35% to 45% is anticipated. Their variable valve actuation system is the key technology that enables dynamic adaptation to fluctuating heat input or power demand while maintaining efficiency by adjusting the pressure ratio near the thermodynamic optimum—an unmatched control feature not achievable in gas turbines. The global waste heat potential is estimated at approximately 3,400 TWh/year, holding a potential electricity market value exceeding CHF 500 billion.

The funds from the second Venture Kick stage will be utilized to advance both business and technical development of the pilot engine. The quickest entry into the waste heat market has been identified in the CO2-negative pyrolysis of biomass technology segment. Alongside engine development for their pilot customer, they are preparing for collaboration with energy systems integrators to ensure a significant scaling effect.

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