“At the limit of technical feasibility: extraordinarily captivating!”

Following a twenty year career at ASML, senior mechatronic system engineer Sven Hol is now working at Demcon. He is currently managing several projects at systems level. One of these projects is IRE’s SMART project focused on LightHouse technology. A project that offers considerable challenge..

Why did you decide to join Demcon?

Following a long time as domain architect I wanted to broaden my horizons. I found it was possible to do this at Demcon. In my role as systems engineer I am able to fully apply all of my creativity as early as in the concept phase. Furthermore, my work as working foreman is highly varied; ranging from making models to managing a project team. I stay technically involved and for me that is an important job satisfaction factor.

why does this project present such a major challenge?

Working on the LightHouse technology does not come with standard solutions. The extremely high heat input demands solutions at the limit of technical feasibility. We extract 2 megawatts of heat from a volume as big as a matchbox. You have to be very careful with this, because the machine becomes extremely hot. The question then becomes: how do you cool it? Normally speaking we use cooling water or oil, but here we use liquid metal. This is because liquid metal has a far greater cooling capacity. In this project, Demcon is designing the cell in which the molybdenum (Mo-99) is radiated and this therefore is where the 2 megawatts of heat must be cooled. In addition we are designing the Mo-99 harvesting machine for this purpose. This is at the limit of available technical knowledge and that makes the project extraordinarily captivating. Aside from the technical challenges, the project also serves a social goal. That makes it a fun and instructive project.

how do you approach a complex project of this nature?

We work together with colleagues from various disciplines. For example, colleagues specialized in thermodynamics and rheology, mechanics, electronics, physics and software development. We all have a practical and results-oriented attitude. We want to build something together and everyone clearly has a passion for technology and engineering. Technology and engineering is a priority at Demcon. People have a very open attitude and are always ready to help. As a result we are able to participate in extraordinary, cutting-edge projects, such as SMART and working on the LightHouse technology.

Would you like to learn more about system engineering at Demcon? Come visit us for a cup of coffee (or tea). Send an email to coffee@demcon.com and we will be happy to contact you!

IRE’s SMART project

more about the project.

The uses LightHouse technology to develop an alternative method for producing the medical isotope molybdenum 99. The current process at IRE extracts these isotopes from enriched uranium. These are radiated in research reactors, but threaten to exceed their shelf life. This is endangering delivery reliability. It is not possible to establish an inventory or buffer of this radioactive material. Demcon is focusing on the development of alternative radiation methods that do not make use of research reactors. We are doing this in cooperation with specialists in various domains, such as liquid metal and the development of particle accelerators. This way we are making it possible to produce radioactive isotopes using non-radioactive raw materials, without producing any highly radioactive waste.

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