Next generation battery technology for electric vehicles to be led by UL research team

Researchers at UL’s Bernal Institute are leading an €8 million EU funded research project, called Si-DRIVE to develop battery technology for higher performance electric vehicles (EVs).  EVs currently make up less than 2% of the European fleet despite gradual gains in the market share. However, European policy demands that by 2030 40% of all new cars are to be EVs. Significant improvements to existing EV battery technology are required to improve driving range and charge times, if this ambitious target is to be achieved.

Professor Kevin M. Ryan, leader of Si-DRIVE project explains: “This project will tackle the major barriers to EV uptake, which relate to driving range, cost and recharge times by completely re-imagining the lithium ion battery using innovative anode, cathode and electrolyte materials.“

The project will focus heavily on the sustainability of the system, with rare and expensive materials (e.g. cobalt) targeted for removal. This green focus will be supplemented by performing life cycle analysis, assessing the suitability of the cells for 2nd life applications and through the development of recycling processes for cell materials. Alongside their role as project coordinator, UL will also focus on the development of the high performance silicon based anodes materials. This research will lead to the development of lightweight anodes, composed of abundant elements that can reduce the overall weight of the final batteries. Coordination of the project will ensure that UL are at the forefront of battery research, through the development of research links and demonstration of the game-changing performance of their advanced anode materials.

Dr Hugh Geaney, researcher on the project added: “The Si-DRIVE project will bring together leading experts from across Europe to deliver the sustainable and cost-effective battery technology required for environmentally friendly EVs of the future.”

The Si-DRIVE consortium is comprised of 16 academic and industrial partners from 7 European countries, across the entire battery development chain. Battery active material design will benefit from state of the art modelling capabilities, coupled with expertise in materials production and characterisation, to deliver higher capacity, safer materials required for future batteries. Cell safety enhancements will be achieved through the use of non-flammable solid electrolytes, which will be custom designed to allow fast charging capabilities desired by consumers. As part of the project, cell prototypes will be prepared using the optimised anode, cathode and electrolyte materials, to demonstrate performance enhancements compared to current state of the art electric vehicle batteries.

Dr Bob Flynn, National Contact Point for the Horizon 2020 at Enterprise Ireland welcomed the announcement, “’Si-Drive’ ranked first of all proposals submitted for this specific Horizon 2020 call and this success brings Irish researchers to the forefront of battery related research and technology development across Europe. Enterprise Ireland provided financial and technical support for the team to develop their proposal in line with our strategy for Horizon 2020 to support excellence in research with the objective of driving innovation and competitiveness across the Irish economy.  To date Irish researchers and companies have successfully won €630m in approvals under Horizon 2020 bringing us over the half way point to achieving our national Horizon 2020 target of €1.25bn”.

Prof Kevin M Ryan is Chair of Chemical Nanotechnology at Department of Chemical Sciences and Bernal Institute at the University of Limerick. He is a Co-PI on SFI Research Centres MaREI and Amber and holder of an IRC Laureate.

Dr Hugh Geaney is a Principal Investigator affiliated with the Department of Chemical Sciences and Bernal Institute and is a holder of a starting investigator research grant from SFI.


Follow SiDrive on Twitter @SiDRIVE_H2020

Listen to the podcast from the Si-DRIVE group here  –

CORDIS satisfaction survey addressed to the FP7 and Horizon 2020 beneficiaries

The EC organises a short satisfaction survey for which the opinion of beneficiaries of EU funding and other stakeholders is vital. The aim of this exercise is to improve the utility and the relevance of CORDIS as a data platform but also as a tool that supports the FP beneficiaries in their communication, dissemination and exploitation activities for their project(s) by offering improved and or new services.The survey takes approximately 10-15 minutes. This survey is anonymous and all responses will be treated confidentially. The feedback results will be used in an aggregated form, where no single project or response can be identified.


EIT InnoEnergy: call for electrical storage start-ups

Got a brilliant innovation idea in the electrical storage area, and want to take it to market or scale-up? You could win €100,000 as well as investment and business support to grow your business from the world’s biggest sustainable player backed by a trusted ecosystem offered by EIT InnoEnergy.

Application deadline is 15 November 2018. Click here for further information.

Irish team comes second in EU award for projects to tackle urban air pollution

Congratulations to Prof John Gallagher (TCD), finalist for the Materials for Clean Air Prize.

This week, the European Commission announced the winner of a €3 million award for the EU Horizon Prize on Materials for Clean Air for the most affordable, sustainable and innovative design-driven solution to urban air pollution.

Air quality in cities around the world has been getting increasingly worse. A recent report has found that most EU states are failing to meet air quality standards set by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The Horizon Prize set out a challenge to find a solution. The researchers were asked to focus on finding out how best to deal with particulate matter (PM) in the air, the pollutant with the most severe effect on human health.

Dr Theron and Dr Gallagher represent their research teams at the EU Horizon Prize on Materials for Clean Air Photo: Catherine O’Toole

What is Particulate Matter, and why is it dangerous?

Particulate matter is the particles which hang in the air, including pollen, smoke, dust and liquid droplets. These particles also includes harmful matter that comes from human pollution. Particles range in size, but the smaller they are the longer they hang in the air. They can be inhaled, and prolonged exposure to high concentrations can cause and aggravate lung and heart conditions.

Exposure to PM can lead to premature death, birth defects, asthma, lung cancer and cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. Around 90 per cent of city dwellers in Europe are exposed to particulate matter levels that are above the World Health Organisation’s (WHO’s) air quality guidelines.

While Ireland has not yet surpassed WHO’s air quality guidelines value, it has recently been reported that a long weekend in Dublin City has the equivalent negative health impacts as smoking one cigarette.

A study released by the EAA last year links air pollution to nearly 400,000 premature deaths in EU countries in 2014. In Ireland, the Environmental Protection Agency found that many areas are above the WHO air quality guidelines for PM 2.5, with the European Environment Agency have estimated that there were 1,510 premature deaths in Ireland in 2014 due to poor air quality.

So what are our solutions?

A ceramic honeycomb air filter developed by a research team from Corning SAS, France, has won the EU Horizon Prize on Materials for Clean Air. The European Commission announced the winner of the €3 million award funded under the EU’s research and innovation programme.

Led by Dr Jean-Jacques Theron, the team developed a filter that can remove up to 95 per cent of fine particulate matter from the air and maintain it below the World Health Organisation air quality guidelines. Their invention can reduce the concentration of particulate matter in cities, both indoors and outdoors.

For indoor treatment, the solution can be combined with existing air ventilation systems. Outdoors, a modular kiosk-sized system can be placed in highly polluted areas, or close to schools or hospitals. Dr Theron told The Green News that the air filter is currently in rthe prototype stage with encouraging data.

He explained that the brief for the competition required their unit to remove PM 2.5 from the air. However, as the smaller PMs have the worst impact on human health, the team aimed to remove even smaller particulates, claiming that their air filter also targets PM 1 and even PM 0.1. These nano particulates go deeper into the lungs than their larger counterparts.

He continues, ‘The filters are ceramic and have a lifetime of 1-2 years. However, we are still testing how best to maintain them. The filters could be regenerated using water to flush out the particulates that gather in the system, extending their lifetime to more than 20 years,” he said.

“The next step,” he concluded, “is to use the prize money to build a full-size unit and get real data in a real environment, especially in outdoor situations.”

The team intends to build the full-size demonstration unit in Europe and hope to launch and commercialise the filter in time for the 2024 Olympics in Paris.

Dr Gallagher summarises his team’s project. With Dr Theron and Jean-Eric Paquet European Commission’s Director-General for Research and Innovation Photo: Catherine O’Toole

 Trinity Team Take Silver

The runner-up project was represented at the conference by Dr John Gallagher, Assistant Professor at Trinity College Dublin.

Their team concentrated on developing a filter for ventilation systems in buildings, essentially stopping outside pollution coming indoors. This gives inhabitants cleaner air in their homes and workplaces, where the average person spends most of their time.

Dr Gallagher explained how the system works to Green News: “Our objective is not to trap particulates, but to passively control the pathways to block the particulates reaching you. It doesn’t remove pollution from the world, but diverts it from areas of interest, ie the indoor environment.”

“The idea began to evolve in 2011 with a device that gave a 50 per cent reduction in PM 2.5 entering the ventilation system,” he said.  “Air pollution and energy use are the biggest problems for the urban environment. I’d like to think that our solution offers the best of both worlds, and a balance between the two.”

Over the last few years, this small team of nine creative people has made huge progress on finding a solution to air pollution. The next step for the team is to decide on the best pathway to take from here.

Article by Catherine O’Toole

Catherine is a contributor to the Green News. She has a BA in Photography from DIT and has a keen interest in conservation photography.

Sergio Fernandez Ceballos is the National Delegate and Contact Point for NMPB. Contact details for Sergio are: Tel: +353 (0)1 7272704.


EIC Pilot to invest €124 million in new high-risk innovative projects

The European Innovation Council (EIC) pilot will support 38 innovative projects to develop new ideas towards radically new future technologies.

In total, the projects will receive €124 million under the future and emerging technologies (FET Open) strand of the EIC pilot, run under the EU’s research and innovation programme Horizon 2020. If successful, these projects will create new markets in Europe.

Neuromorphic and quantum computing, de-orbiting of spacecraft, fighting brain viruses, early and non-invasive diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease are just a few examples of the challenges that these projects are targeting. FET Open offers grants of typically €3 million to promote collaborative, inter-disciplinary research and innovation on future and emerging technologies. These grants are for consortia of at least three entities.

Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Science, Research and Innovation, said: “Through the European Innovation Council (EIC), we support future and emerging breakthrough technologies, which are key to unlocking many of the secrets to a better future and society. We are investing in innovative ideas and the individuals behind them to create new markets of the future.”

In its first round of funding under the EIC pilot, FET Open received 375 proposals and granted funding to 236 beneficiaries in 23 countries across Europe. As part of the EIC pilot, FET Open projects receive additional support for innovators and entrepreneurs. SMEs participating in FET Open projects can also benefit from networking, coaching and mentoring.

Original source: 

A total of 246 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) from 24 countries have been selected for the EU’s Horizon 2020 funding

Between them, the companies will receive a total amount of €12.2 million from the EU’s research and innovation programme, Horizon 2020, to get their innovations faster on the market.

The projects selected include a water-injection system to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions from commercial vehicles, a decision-making tool for fully exploiting big bio-data, a digital platform for hands-on cybersecurity training, a novel cancer therapy targeting cancer networks and a technology that dissolves wood waste to extract raw materials.

The companies will be supported in the so-called Phase 1 of the SME Instrument, which means that each project (244 in total) will receive €50.000 to draft a business plan. Several companies can team up to propose one project. The companies will also receive free coaching and business acceleration services.

The majority of the companies selected for funding are in the field of information and communication technology (ICT), health and engineering. Most are based in Spain (33), Italy (28) and Switzerland (23).

The European Commission received 2111 proposals for the 5 September cut-off. The next application deadline for SME Instrument Phase 1 is on 13 February 2019.

The SME Instrument is part of the European Innovation Council (EIC) pilot that provides top-class innovators, entrepreneurs, small companies and scientists with funding opportunities and acceleration services. Companies can apply for two distinct phases under the SME Instrument, depending on the maturity of their innovation. Under Phase 1 of SME Instrument, each project will receive a lump-sum of €50 000 to carry out a feasibility study. Under Phase 2, each project will receive from €0.5 to €2.5 million to finance innovation activities such as demonstration, testing, piloting and scaling up. In addition, companies under both phases can benefit from free coaching and business acceleration services.

Click here for further information and source of this article.



Ireland still a net contribution to EU funds

Ireland received €1.8 billion in EU funds in 2017, and contributed just over €2 billion, as the country continues to be a net contributor, according to the latest annual report of the EU’s budgetary watchdog.

Ireland first became a net contributor in 2014. Click here for further details about this article by Tony Connelly, Europe Editor, RTE.

Additive Ireland – research in additive/3D printing


The first Additive Ireland showcase, organized by Enterprise Ireland took place on 2nd October 2018 in Brussels. The Additive Ireland group comprises members of Irish Manufacturing Research (IMR) – the EI/IDA funded Technology Centre – and SFI research centres; Amber, I-Form and Confirm. Additive Ireland is a new initiative that will be hosted in IMR and will bring together all key actors in Additive/3D printing in Ireland. Irish companies participating in the event – Henkel, Depuy Synthes Johnson & Johnson and Trend Technologies – highlighted the need for further R&D collaborations with Higher Education Institutes in Ireland to better understand manufacturing processing and standards and materials properties/behaviours used in these new technologies. The showcase also included presentations from the European Commission (DG Research and CONNECT), relevant European Industry Associations (AM-Platform, European Factories of the Future Research Association) and other EU centres (TNO and Fraunhofer). The clustering into Additive Ireland creates the needed critical mass around 3D printing technologies and makes Ireland very well positioned to attract further funding from the H2020 Advanced Manufacturing programme.

For more information please contact Sergio Fernandez-Ceballos

Six Irish researchers to be awarded European Research Council’s Starting grants in 2018

This year, Irish research institutions have won 6 European Research Council grants representing a total of €8.7 m in funding.

Six Irish researchers from Trinity College Dublin, NUI Galway and University of Limerick will be awarded Starting grants for their projects. This represents a big improvement on last year when Ireland won 2 grants.

In addition, a further 3 scientists with Irish nationality hosted at universities outside Ireland won grants.

Read more here:


EIC Fast Track to Innovation to invest €34 million in 14 innovative projects to help them enter the market faster

The European Commission will support 14 top-class projects to bring their innovations faster onto the market under the European Innovation Council (EIC) pilot. Each project will receive around €2 million from the Fast Track to Innovation strand of the EIC pilot. The 14 projects involve 59 partners, including small and medium-sized companies, industrial partners, universities and non-profit organisations, from 18 countries. With this funding and extra business acceleration support, the projects will be able to finance their close-to-market innovation activities.

Projects selected for funding include a recycling technology to introduce rubber from ‘end-of-life’ tyres into production lines as virgin rubbers substitute, a system to treat persistent atrial fibrillation, an artificial intelligence tool that improves video quality and limits internet traffic tied to video streaming, and a stirling heat pump for industrial use in high temperatures.

Read more here

The Fast Track to Innovation scheme is a central part of the EIC pilot, targeting radically new, breakthrough products, services, processes or business models that open up new markets. It offers up to €3 million to consortia composed of 3 to 5 partners including small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), industrial participants research centers, universities, cluster organisations, industry associations, incubators, investors, and the public sector. The scheme is for relatively mature groundbreaking technologies, concepts and business models that are close to market. The participating SMEs also have access to free business coaching and acceleration services.

By the cut-off date of 31 May 2018, the European Commission received 2016 proposals. The next cut-off date for Fast Track to Innovation is on 23 October 2018.

Have a look at the selected companies in our datahub



Head Office

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Horizon 2020 national support network led by Enterprise Ireland