NUI Galway has continued to build on its credentials as one of the world’s leading centres on sustainable manufacturing research, having won a €4 million project, funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme, to produce chemicals using solar energy.
Part of the project is to train 15 early stage researchers as specialists in using water, carbon dioxide, and nitrogen to produce solar chemicals such as hydrogen, ammonia, and methanol. The kick-off conference for the researchers will take place at the end of March in Galway.
At present, there is a gap in Europe in the area of solar chemicals production and their usage in industry and mobility. NUI Galway has been working in this sphere for some time and is already involved in an exciting project to power public transport using green hydrogen. An NUI Galway pilot project to produce hydrogen from solar to power the public transport fleet in the Canaries will commence shortly.
The latest project, known as SOLAR2CHEM, is led by Dr Pau Farràs Costa of the School of Chemistry at NUI Galway who is also driving the Canaries’ hydrogen pilot. SOLAR2CHEM includes nine academic organisations and three non-academic partners to provide training programmes on scientific, technical, and personal development skills. The programme includes secondments to leaders in solar chemical development including Japan and the United States.
President of NUI Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, said: “NUI Galway has committed itself to put climate change at the centre of the agenda for the university. We recently developed a five-year strategy to drive radical change in how our economy and society develops underpinned by values, including sustainability, and SOLAR2CHEM shows our capacity to deliver sustainable technologies that deliver for Ireland’s research and development sector, further enhancing our ability to attract foreign direct investment.”
Head of SOLAR2CHEM at NUI Galway, Dr Pau Farràs Costa, said: “I will be delighted to welcome European colleagues here to Galway on March 27 to begin work on this solar chemicals project. It will help to further establish NUI Galway as Ireland and Europe’s leading university for sustainability. We plan to work hard to deliver an intensive training programme that explores new methods of solar energy conversion to deliver a future supply of sustainable chemicals for the European Union. The EU needs to become leaders in this field and our university will be proud to work with the highest tiers of academics and industry to achieve this.”
NUI Galway is involved in 133 Horizon 2020 projects and has received more than €63 million in direct funding from the programme. NUI Galway places a strong focus on providing a supportive and exciting environment for its researchers and has been awarded the HR Excellence in Research logo by the European Commission.