© Team CORE
Why we write about this topic:

The innovations of student team CORE are bringing a new perspective to battery recycling, a process that is still very complicated. In addition to technological development, team CORE is also contributing to a new form of education. That is why we have been following them for a long time.

TMI Investment invests in student team CORE, with the aim of giving more students the opportunity to develop themselves along their studies and enable the sustainability of the Netherlands.

CORE of Eindhoven University of Technology has secured an investment to enable the further growth of the organization. With this additional funding, the team wants to continue to grow as an engineering club for the circular market and put more focus on developing and training new talent for the sustainable industry.

In recent years, CORE has been working on solving various social issues, such as a solution to the large number of battery fires and new applications for fly ash (waste streams from waste incinerators). With these innovations they have now won several awards, such as the Rabobank Sustainable Innovation Award and the Brabant Circular Top 20. And in the coming year they will be working hard on new innovative techniques, such as an AI system to recognize batteries among the waste and a solution for solar panel recycling.

The history of CORE

CORE was founded in 2018 by three friends, with the goal of providing a learning space for students interested in sustainable engineering. Soon, the team grew from 12 to 25 members and the concept began to fly. Meanwhile, there are more than 35 students running around from different educational institutions. “Our roots are at TU Eindhoven, but the strength of this region (Brabant) lies in the cooperation between all parties, so we are happy to offer students from Fontys, Avans and Tilburg University a place in CORE as well,” said Dirk van Meer, founder of CORE. 

“CORE started with the idea of developing techniques to convert the last scraps from the waste market into useful product streams. This started early on with investigating the possible restart of a plant in Delfzijl to convert fly ash and pyrolysis residue to basalt. It was soon joined by issues from the market, such as possible solutions to the PFAS problem, creosoted sleepers and a solution to battery fires.”

Addition to the curriculum

CORE originated within innovation Space, the innovation institute of TU/e, focused on challenge based learning. For a non-TU/e student this may sound unfamiliar, but the concept is quite simple, Van Meer explains: “In real life, as an engineer you are responsible for solving problems where you don’t have an answer sheet with solutions, while in education you often do. Within innovation space we are investigating how we can change education to be even more future-proof, even better adapted to the region. This is done by offering open-ended challenges to students and guiding them on the process, even more than on the content.” 

CORE has adopted this philosophy and offers students the opportunity to apply lessons learned from the college benches to the real world. “Project management is something you can only learn by doing it, when you have a group project in a subject you don’t have to deal with funding, changing deadlines or something crazy like a nitrogen crisis. Being able to sample these types of tasks in a team like CORE, while having the safety net that a student team provides, creates a new way of teaching,” said Antonia Tiplea, the current captain.

Dirk van Meer and Thijs Manders

An investment in the future

“We are extremely excited to move Dirk van Meer and Team Core forward in their entrepreneurship. TMI invests in young, promising technology companies. Above all, we invest in young entrepreneurs who visibly have a bright future ahead of them. Rarely have I seen a 23 year old entrepreneur with so much entrepreneurial drive and healthy aspirations. We are going to support Dirk and his smart team of young people through thick and thin”, says Thijs Manders, investor TMI.

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