Market potential and customer discovery for cutting-edge technologies applied in the manufacturing of particle colliders

03. Juli 2019

Sommersemester 2019 - CERN


This investigation aims to evaluate the industrial impact potential for two technologies needed in the manufacturing process of particle colliders. On the one hand, the goal is to provide a qualitative and quantitative evaluation of the market potential of a furnace technology used to make Rutherford cables superconductive and to assess its relevance in the scrap metal recycling industry. On the other hand, it aims to determine the willingness to pay and provides a comparison with current technologies on the market for fruit sorting and grading via NMR spectroscopy. Pursuing a qualitative approach, over 50 interviews with industry experts were conducted. Based on those insights, different strategic tools and frameworks were applied in order to reach the defined objectives.

Results for Scrap Metal Recycling

Present high-potential market: CERN’s furnace technology currently provides the most value within the aluminum recycling industry. Especially the use of electricity as its fuel instead of gas sets it apart from current solutions on the market.

Need for technology adaption: To enter new markets, the furnace's max. temperature needs to be enhanced since the its use benefits unfold their biggest potential within the precious metals recycling industry where temperatures above 961°C are required. 

Future high-potential market: Introducing the furnace technology to the precious metals recycling market is recommended since the furnace’s use benefits are the most effective and relevant within this particular industry.

Results for Fruit Sorting and Grading

Present high-potential market: Overall, the targeted buyer groups in the industry show a high interest in NMR spectroscopy. However, the estimated value is low since there is only limited need for such a high degree of technology preciseness. Secondly, the price of the NMR-based technology exceeds the average budget available for sorting or grading machines in the industry.

Need for technology adaption: If the technology is to enter the market, it is essential to lower costs, extend the range of measurable parameters and increase the sampling speed in order to create a competitive advantage over already existing technologies.

Future high-potential market: A market entrance is recommended in the future since the technology ensures a non-invasive method to sort and grade fruits in terms of different parameters in addition to the degree of ripeness. Another potential application field for NMR spectroscopy could be in-ovo sexing for chicken eggs, which could enable companies to prevent chick culling.

Cooperation Partner

  • CERN
    Esplanade des Particules 1
    1211 Geneva 23

Contact Person

  • Dr. Johannes Gutleber

Student team

  • Brzobohaty Leonie

  • Habernig Sebastian

  • Moravec Peter

  • Pably Michael

  • Schürz Theresa


  • Linn Kretzschmar, M.Sc. (EASITrain ESR at WU)

  • Tuong Vi Sophie Quach, MA

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement EASITrain No 764879. More information:
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