Beblue Cryotech, strategic supplier of cryogenic tests in Europe. Behind the scenes of the creation of this spin-off of the University of Liege
Hydrogen | Production
BEBLUE Cryotech was created in January 2022 in order to allow the perpetuation of the activities of the cryotechnical test center of the Cryotribology laboratory of the University of Liege.
Included in the list of experimental sites of reference of the European Space Agency (ESA), the expertise of the Cryotribology laboratory of the ULiège, previously directed by Pr. J.-L. Bozet, has been developed for 30 years around the resolution of specific problems arising on components or equipment of cryotechnical engines for the European launcher "Ariane". For this purpose, specific test benches have been created or adapted by the CRYO team, their essential characteristic being their extremely complete instrumentation managed by a very powerful and flexible data acquisition system. Thus, different types of tests can be performed: dynamic leakage tests, material compatibility tests, tribology tests and other specific tests.
At the origin of BEBLUE, a shared will
At the beginning of 2021, the perpetuation of the laboratory by the valorization of its know-how and its equipment became a priority. The maintenance of the activities was essential to honor the contracts to come and for ULiège to remain a trusted partner of ESA, and thus a major actor recognized at the international level in the field of space cryotechnical experimentation.
After various exchanges with the service RISE (Research, Innovation, Support and Enterprises) which was created following the merger of the Research Administration and the Interface Entreprises) and the CRYO team, the companies CILYX, V2i (ULiège spin-off) and AERO-X have expressed, in May 2021, their interest in a partnership with the laboratory in order to maintain its activity.
The solution envisaged for the valorization of this know-how is the constitution of a spin-off company in which ULiège and the companies would be partners and whose object would be to exploit in an exclusive way the cryotechnics site of ULiège and to develop it in the space field and within the hydrogen sector in partnership with the research of the University.
The process of the creation of the spin-off BEBLUE
The University authorities quickly mandated RISE to investigate the file in collaboration with the various administrations concerned. From June to December 2021, it is a race against the clock for all the parties involved in order to concretize the project and constitute the creation of this new spin-off company.
- June to December 2021: Implementation of the project by RISE in collaboration with the Legal Affairs Department (SAJ), the Real Estate Administration (ARI), and the Financial Resources Administration (ARF).
- January 2022: Creation of the spin-off BEBLUE CRYOTECH with participation in the capital of
- CILYX, V2i, AERO-X in cash,
- nOSHAQ and SRIW investments in cash,
- ULiège, supported by GESVAL, in kind.
And now for BEBLUE?
BEBLUE continues to work in close collaboration with the laboratories of the University of Liege from which it originates, either through :
- New collaborative project, such as HYPSTER, a project of the Skywin cluster, in collaboration with ULiège A&M, funded by the Walloon Region.
- Reinforcement of its positioning within the ESA projects,
- Development of the Hydrogen activity, which is one of the axes of the Walloon regional recovery plan.
Based on the historical assets of the CRYO group, BEBLUE CRYOTECH is now a strategic supplier of cryogenic tests in Europe. The target markets are currently space and green mobility (hydrogen sector).
As far as space propulsion is concerned, BEBLUE continues to test components under dynamic conditions for its historical customers and is positioning itself as a key partner to validate propulsion technologies studied by new players in the sector.
The modernization of the site, the opening to new partnerships associated with the competences already in place will bring training opportunities and an increased visibility for the university actors and the Liège ecosystem in the field of space.
For more information: http://www.beblue-cryotech.eu/
And soon, on 21/03/2023, a LIEGE CREATIVE meeting will be dedicated to the theme: Cryogenic testing, a key issue for industry
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