TechBlick 16 - Margit [EN]

So my name is Jos and I’m working on research in circular economy and automotive sector. And I would like to know your point of view. If you accept, I’m going to record our conversation, transcribe it and put the transcription with a pseudonym, not your real name, in a repository of text documents that will be used for the research. If you do this and you and you change your mind and no longer want to participate, get in touch with us and we will immediately remove your interview from the repository. I’m leaving you in the information sheet with contact information for that after the interview. And please tell me now your name and that you agree.

So the first thing is I would like to say when you have written something, do I get it?

You get it.

That is the important thing. So that’s fine. My name is Margaret. I’m from PSG sensors and you agree I agree.

Thank you. So the first question, can you tell me a bit about your educational and professional background and interests?

That is a very hard question because I’m old and I have done a lot of things. I’m actually an electrical engineer, power electronic. And then I studied physics, then I made my PhD in engineering, then I went back to physics, and then I was employed. As a professor at the University of Cape Town in physics again. And I do applied stuff, not looking to the stars, doing really the applied stuff. And in this time with my research group and together with my colleague, we developed the printed silicone technology, what we have spun out for using it for temperature sensors.

And what is your area of expertise?

I have none. About that. Okay. My expertise. Is logically. The technology behind the printed silicon and the application of the technology in products.

The theme of this conference is The Future of Electronics Reshaped. What does the idea of reshaping electronics for the future mean to you?

I think that when we go into electronics and electronics is everywhere, but there is the traditional approach to electronics and there is the so-called new approach of printed electronics, which is actually not new because everybody has done printed circuit boards, but it developed that you give more functionality to the printed stuff, and I think it has it will not replace the traditional electronic, but it has certain niche areas where the normal electronic can’t go because of form factor, because of performance.

What do you think is the relationship between electronics and sustainability?

Sorry. When I’m taking a little bit of time to answer this question. I think personally when it goes to electronics that we have for sustainability, we have to check how we produce the electronics and secondly, how we can recycle it. That’s the important feature because when you put everything in the landfill, it’s a bad thing. And I think the printed electronics is there, maybe for the future on a better track than the traditional maybe, maybe not. But it depends very much what you use for it. But it needs to be sustainable in a way that you can. Get the. The expensive material back and you use it with respect to degradable parts. So this is my my idea about it. Maybe I’m wrong but my idea.

can you define a circular economy in your own words? Kreislaufwirtschaft.

Yeah yeah, yeah, yeah. I’ve understood it. Now. Yes, I can do. So obviously it’s a small company. You go for this way. You make money. Logically, it’s. That’s the starting point. But from the first point, you can also look. Can your devices be reused? Not only a once off and throw it away, but reusing. And we have several examples for our rubber tomato. There. We monitor the ripening process in transport, especially in countries where no cold chain exists. It is supposed that the device itself is recovered from the produce from the tomatoes and used again. So the people have not to buy it. They can buy a service and it is reused and reused and reused and reused and the same approach. For our amplute monitoring, where we have the electronic, our printed electronic together with the traditional electronic. And it’s then put out cleaned properly. A new battery and reused again as long as it goes. And when it doesn’t go anymore, then the different parts will be recovered. I’m thinking on this and the company is thinking on this since a long time. Because also what we have learned from the battery side, there is a big drive to. Uh, recover parts of the batteries. And this can also be done in electronic. How? I think this is a big advance, a big opportunity for the future, for people to develop something and use it. And I think also you can recover chips when you do it properly.

Do you participate in a circular economy yourself in any aspects of your life?

Of my private life. You think? Yeah, I try definitely to look for packaging and avoid packaging. Sorry why. I should buy a kilo of potatoes. What is in a sack? Why? I should not buy the open one. Put it on the till they buy it and put it in my in my handbag. This is the first thing what I’m doing. I’m also trying, and I think I left long time, or I live from time to time. And I lived a long time in South Africa. And the people there are much more prone to reuse and also not. To overuse energy. And I think we in Germany, for example, or in Europe, everybody wants to have a in winter 24 degrees in, in the whole. You don’t need it. You can live with 18 and 19 and you put the jersey on. I lived in South Africa and there are areas where it goes under zero degrees in winter and you have no heating and it works. You can do a lot of things. You have to be open and you have not to have this. So I should say when you’re laughing. I am not green. I am not a green person. I would like to to use this stuff for this. Available for us in a meaningful manner.

Let us talk about the automotive sector. Do you think electronics can play a role in making the car industry more sustainable?

Okay. The car industry is at the moment on the brink to change dramatically. And from this point of view, there is the drive. From the batteryside. And there is the drive from the traditional side. The electronic in it. I have to say, I don’t know. But when it comes to the use of batteries in an in a vehicle, then you have to implement total different approaches with respect to the electronic logically. And there is a chance for electronic when it is done properly. And also in car industry. Can I be open? Yeah, of course a car is not a car anymore. Its a computer today? Yeah, yeah. And maybe it’s important in the future when we go to autonomous driving then you can’t do it that somebody is sitting there. You have to use other approaches and then electronics comes in.

And what do you think? Can electronics play a role in making the car industry more circular?

Okay, I can only talk about the battery part because it is active in the battery. But what? But we have learned for batteries, there is a drive to recycle it to increase the lifetime, and a proper thermal management in the battery can help. Very. Work. We do thermal management of of batteries with our particular printed sensors.