The Laboratory of Applied Thermodynamics, within AUTh, has successfully launched two transport related spin-offs under the titles of Emisia and Exothermia.
The Laboratory’s extensive knowledge and expertise in combustion engines and emissions measurement was the starting point. Combining advanced engineering mindsets with modeling techniques, technology and software in the specialized facilities of the university campus, created the ability to develop two spin-offs whose main products meet the market’s needs and provide effective solutions. Emisia and Exothermia, offer innovative tools and solutions to the automotive and energy industry while employing more than 50 highly qualified engineers.
Emisia was established in February 2008 and is consisted of mechanical, electrical, chemical and software engineers with a strong background in environmental studies. The company offers a wide range of services but specialises in the areas of emission inventorying, emission modelling, data processing as well as impact assessment studies of environmental policies and relevant recommendations.
Exothermia is creating software to be used by engineers to develop ultra-clean combustion engine and power train technologies since 2007. The development and production of industrial level software products has resulted in various holistic simulation tools and services related to exhaust after-treatment, engine and power train towards an emissions-free mobility.
The strong academic bonds make these companies active participants in ongoing expert research networks that continue to improve their modelling, technological and analytical abilities.
Both companies are funded through numerous public and private projects and clients throughout the years of their operation. Millions are spent on high technology infrastructure investment as well as employee fees. Approximately 20 people are employed at Emisia and 30 at Exothermia.
Evidence of success
Both companies are active in Europe and Asia while establishing additional offices in countries like Belgium and Germany. They have developed collaborations and partnerships with significant organizations and companies who became their customers (European Commission, Mercedes, Toyota, Honda, Peugeot, etc.) In addition, they are members of International and European major networks. Finally, indicative software packages produced and heavily used worldwide are: Copert, Sibyl, Axisuite and Gasdyn.
Both companies face similar challenges such as the ‘’brain drain’’ problem, not being able to find appropriate research associates and especially programmers. Moreover, the tax system along with the financial crisis that the country faced during the last decade, are major drawbacks in this effort.
Potential for learning or transfer
The aforementioned companies have presented numerous success stories in Europe and Asia. They are a great example of the exploitation of a university’s facilities and expertise linked with the industry’s needs. The academic and industrial sectors should cooperate towards innovation and production of innovative solutions to address the impacts of energy use on air emissions from local (e.g. street or city) to national or even global level. This was the case in Emisia and Exothermia spin-offs. The Aristotle University of Thessaloniki achieved to embrace these initiatives, support them and help them grow “under its wings”. This good practice shows the result of this cooperation and underlines the potential and the achievements it may bring. It can be considered as a successful case study which is easily transferable to other countries where there is political will, well-trained personnel and research possibilities/facilities.