NUIG secures €4 million EU project to make chemicals with solar power

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NUI Galway has secured a €4 million EU project in sustainable manufacturing to produce chemicals using solar power.

The project, funded by the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme, is meant to address the limited use of solar chemicals production in industry and mobility in Europe.

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 conference to kick off this project for the researchers will take place in Galway at the end of March.

Another pilot project at NUIG to produce hydrogen from solar to power the public transport fleet in the Canaries will commence shortly.

The latest project, known as SOLAR2CHEM, includes nine academic organisations and three industry 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 the university has put climate change and sustainability at the heart of its agenda.

“We recently developed a five-year strategy to drive radical change in how our economy and society develops underpinned by values, including sustainability,” Prof Ó hÓgartaigh said.

“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.”

The SOLAR2CHEM project is being headed by Dr Pau Farràs Costa, who said that he is looking forward to welcoming his European colleagues here later this month to start work.

This project will help further NUIG’s reputation as “Ireland and Europe’s leading university for sustainability,” he added.

“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.” 

NUIG is currently part of 133 different Horizon 2020 projects and has received over €63 million in direct funding from the programme.