Biofuels are an important alternative to fossil fuels that can minimise the impact of energy production on global climate change. DIBANET is an Irish-led research project aimed at developing an integrated approach to biomass development that further enhances international cooperation between the EU and Latin America in the field of biofuels. This project aims at developing technologies to sustainably exploit biomass for the profitable production of biofuels and other valuable chemicals.
Biofuels have the potential to significantly reduce the output of carbon caused by transport, and reduce the impact of transport on climate change. DEMA is a University of Limerick-led project focused on microalgae found in oceans, lakes and damp soil, and on rocks, where energy is extracted via photosynthesis to produce biofuels. DEMA is focused on the development, demonstration and licensing of a complete, economically competitive technology from the direct production of bioethanol from microalgae by 2016.
Dr Ken Byrne, Department of Life Sciences at the University of Limerick has been nominated as an International Expert, for the UN Intergovernmental Science‐Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). Dr Byrne will be a Lead Author for the thematic assessment on land degradation and restoration. This commenced at a meeting in Switzerland this August and is due for completion in 2017. He will work as part of a team of international experts to conduct regional/subregional assessments on biodiversity and ecosystem services for Europe and Central Asia.
Séamus Hickey, BEng in Biomedical Engineering Graduate, PhD Researcher in Green Technology and Limerick Senior Hurler. Séamus is part of the research team at UL's Stokes Institute who are working on the critical challenge of thermal control for high speed communications - increasing broadband speeds while improving energy efficiency.
UL researcher, Dr Kevin M Ryan is applying nanotechnology to the problem of solar power - the fastest growing energy sector. Kevin and his research team have developed a cost-effective and efficient method of maximising solar absorption by generating nanrod materials which can be applied across large areas to harness solar power. The solar industry is worth over €100 billion globally, despite this, the world’s energy requirements which are met by solar is less than 1%, this is primarily due to the high cost of production of efficient photovoltaic cells.
Researchers at the University of Limerick are taking on the challenge to improve the viability of biomass processing. The UL team are part of a consortium involved in the €4 million project ‘CellulosomePlus’ involving nine private and public-sector partners.
Intelligent LED lighting systems will soon be found everywhere from energy-efficient sky-scrapers to the average Irish home according to researchers at the University of Limerick who are taking on the challenge to make light bulbs ‘smarter’, greener and more efficient using digital control.