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SDG7 - Affordable and Clean Energy

Professor Michael Zaworotko, Bernal Chair of Crystal Engineering and Science Foundation of Ireland Research Professor at the Bernal Institute University of Limerick, was awarded just under 1 Million Euro through the Irish Research Council 2019 Advanced Laureate Awards Programme. Professor Zaworotko’s research is aimed at solving global challenges related to commodity purification by significantly reducing the energy footprint, currently 20-30% of global energy production, needed to produce the most important industrial commodities. “Water, natural gas and ethylene are the primary targets for study. The Laureate Award will study a new class of materials that we call SALMAs - Switching Adsorbent Layered Materials,” he explained. He has published over 400 peer-reviewed papers, review articles and patents that have been cited over 42,000 times. In 2011, Thomson-Reuters listed him as the 20th highest impact chemist since 2000 and in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2018 he was listed as a highly cited researcher in the field of Chemistry by Clarivate Analytics. In 2018 he was listed as a highly cited researcher in a second field, Pharmacology and Toxicology.

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In June 2019, The Bernal Institute at University of Limerick signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with SkyNRG to explore the development of sustainable aviation fuel manufacturing in Ireland. The agreement between Bernal and the Netherlands-based firm SkyNRG was signed in the presence of Dutch Minister of Trade, Sigrid Kaag, during the Dutch Royal Visit and Trade Mission at the National Botanic Gardens in Dublin. The Bernal Institute at UL and SkyNRG will explore the potential of a regional Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) supply chain in Ireland, with a strong focus on academic collaboration at University of Limerick. “SkyNRG and Bernal agreed to explore how to stimulate an opportunity for the production of sustainable aviation fuels in Ireland,” explained Luuk van der Wielen, Director of the Bernal Institute at UL.

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Green Campus encourages a partnership approach to environmental education, management, and action in third level institutions and is internationally accredited by the Foundation for Environmental Education. To secure Green Campus status long-term commitment to continuous improvement from the campus community needs to be demonstrated. Since first achieving Green Campus accreditation for Energy, Biodiversity and Travel and Transport in 2015, the UL Buildings and Estates department has been working resolutely to retain it. Every three years Green Campus accredited institutions are required to undergo a full reaccreditation assessment in order to maintain their Green Campus accreditation. In 2018 UL successfully underwent a full reaccreditation assessment as well as adding Waste and Green ICT to their list of accredited themes. Achieving the Green ICT accreditation saw Buildings and Estates partnering primarily with academia and ITD to refine the processes and procedures to safely dispose of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) in addition to making energy savings in server rooms. Achieving Green Campus accreditation for waste saw amongst other things the establishment of a Waste Management group within Buildings and Estates, the roll-out of initiatives aimed at preventing waste (e.g. installation of fit-for-purpose water bottle refill stations), improvements to waste collection and segregation processes and improved data collection on waste.


The UL Community Roof Garden contributes towards the Green Campus efforts under the Biodiversity theme.

Green Metric

 UL takes part in the Green Metric World University Ranking each year. This ranking measures a third level institution’s sustainability. In 2019, UL was ranked 20th out of 780              participants.

Optimising Power at Work

The Buildings and Estates Department has teamed up with the Office of Public Works (OPW) to roll out their Optimising Power @ Work energy behaviour change campaign. Using Optimising Power @ Work initiative the OPW has achieved energy savings of 18% across 275 of its buildings.

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Limerick city and county is leading Europe in delivering new energy generation technologies in the real world. Last year, together with Limerick City and County Council, University of Limerick led a Horizon 2020 Innovation Action we called Positive City Exchange (+CityxChange). This €20 million project puts Limerick and Trondheim in Norway at the forefront of clean technology delivery in Europe. Limerick is a lighthouse city for five other European cities in producing positive energy blocks.

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