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Background

My interest in materials started early and has become a great passion. Why could some materials whether wood, metal, plastic or ceramics have such unique properties each rendering them more suitable than others for specific applications? How can we produce, tailor, machine, shape and join different materials to make a unique product? What is the fundamental nature behind different materials and their properties?

I graduated from the Danish Technical University in 1978 with a Master of Science specialized in Material Science and Chemistry. The following three years I worked on development of packaging material solutions and packaging design for a pharmaceutical and cosmetic company. I was very inspired by the challenging task of combining fundamental understanding of material properties with processing conditions, product requirements and costumer needs, and I learned much about integrated development and innovation.

Subsequently I had a position for six year as project manager, project coordinator and consultant at the Danish Technological Institute. Through many interesting activities and challenges, I got a unique opportunity to pursue my passion and to build up my knowledge and experience concerning advanced materials, composites, advanced ceramics and product development. I learned a lot by consulting and interacting with a large number of different leading Danish companies. My consulting jobs included new materials and new integrated material-process-product solutions for companies such as: Danfoss A/S, Grundfos A/S, Haldor Topsøe A/S, Topsil A/S, Hardi A/S, Niro Atomizer A/S, and Dansensor A/S, among several others.

In 1984, I founded the Danish Ceramic Society as a collaboration consortium between the Danish Technological Institute, the Danish Technical University and Risø National Laboratory. The growing worldwide interest in advanced technical ceramics in the early eighties gave inspiration to this initiative. I had much enjoyment by visiting many companies and institutions lecturing on advanced technical ceramics and composites in product development. Later on, I worked on a post doctorate at Rutgers University, New Jersey, USA on development and synthesis of bio-ceramics for human implants.

In 1989, I became project manager and group leader at Haldor Topsøe A/S responsible for advanced ceramics and fuel cells, which was the company’s first move into this field. Simultaneously I founded together with researchers at Risø National Laboratory the collaboration consortium between Risø (DTU) and Haldor Topsoe A/S on Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC) science to technology.
Niels Christian Christiansen, owner

This led to many years of close collaboration and several technical world records. It was a fantastic and very inspiring experience to work for several years at the interface between institutional academic science and industrial technology. Later this work led to the establishment of the industrial subsidiary Topsoe Fuel Cell A/S.

Before then I became department manager for radical innovation projects including fuel cells, advanced ceramic materials and processing, ceramic superconductors, gas and liquid separation membranes and synthesis of advanced ceramic powders. Furthermore, I supervised R&D projects on catalyst raw materials including synthesis, processing and characterisation from fundamentals to pilot scale.

Simultaneously I had the pleasure to function as coordinator of various industrial collaboration projects on advanced ceramics with six Danish industrial partners, the Danish Technological Institute, Risø National Laboratory and the Technical University of Denmark. My job as project entrepreneur and coordinator of several Danish and EU collaboration projects on development of Solid Oxide Fuel Cells (SOFC) has provided a deep insight concerning international collaboration and management of complex projects.

Dr. Haldor Topsøe founder of Haldor Topsøe A/S was keenly interested in fuel cell technology and followed the field closely. I had the privilege to work for and together with Dr. Topsoe for more than 20 years. In the light of this, I learned much about entrepreneurship, visionary thinking and active networking from him. Dr. Topsøe received the Grove medal in 2007 with the motivation: “A unique contribution to the development of fuel cells throughout an extraordinary career”.
Niels Christian Christiansen receive the Schønbein Medal

Haldor Topsoe A/S founded in 2004 Topsoe Fuel Cells A/S as a separate subsidiary aiming at development and commercialisation of SOFC. My big passion for innovation, technology collaboration and integrated development led me to the initiation and coordination of next generation SOFC under a European SOFC collaboration consortium.

In 2012, an international committee of SOFC experts awarded this consortium the Schønbein Medal with the motivation: “An outstanding contribution to advances in metal supported cells”.

I have had the pleasure to be member of the board of the Danish Society for Hydrogen and Fuel Cells, and during my many active years within SOFC R&D, I enjoyed the privilege to be member and chairman of scientific boards at international conferences on Fuel Cells. I am deeply grateful for networking with many excellent people, and the many friendships I have obtained worldwide.
Niels Christian Christiansen, owner

I am inventor of 16 patents on solid oxide fuel cells, ceramic separation membranes and other material specific issues. I have published and presented advances in SOFC development over more than 20 years worldwide (please see publication list). Until October 2014, I had the position of chief innovation officer (CIO) at Topsoe Fuel Cell A/S.

By October 2014, I became independent consultant aiming at sharing knowledge, ideas, and sustainable visions with others.

Niels Christian Christiansen, owner

"Sustainable innovation depends on passionated people and effective collaboration creating ideas and concepts leading to viable solutions".

Niels Christiansen

Collaboration

An innovation culture has the capability to recognize and incorporate external ideas and knowledge, it contains people who are willing to build on solutions proposed by others and it masters the mechanisms to put unfamiliar ideas into practice.

”The big challenge in a world of accelerating complexity and rapid change is about making a good strategy, but even more it is about filling the gap between your strategy and reality”.

Niels Christiansen
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