Directing evacuations, reducing damage and saving lives in the aftermath of major disasters will all be improved thanks to a new drone that provides crucial air quality data to ground-based emergency services in real-time. Critical air quality information is needed for deploying emergency services and directing evacuations in the aftermath of a catastrophic event, such as a volcanic eruption, a wildfire or a chemical plant explosion. Natural disasters can severely impact air quality and safety in the short term and are often outside the reach of fixed monitoring station networks. Reaching speeds of up to 120km per hour, and covering an 80km radius, the drone is fitted with a novel photonic sensor that can simultaneously detect dozens of toxic gases in an instant. The FLAIR (Flying ultrA-broadband single-shot Infra-Red Sensor) drone aims to provide real-time air quality data used for quick decision making during evacuations and the deployment of rapid response emergency services. André Oliveira, project co-ordinator of TEKEVER Autonomous Systems in Portugal, said: “For the first time, a drone reaching altitudes of up to 4,000 metres will be able to detect fine traces of air molecules that are dangerous to our health with a state-of-the-art laser sensor. The drone can map out areas that are too dangerous for humans to go and can transmit data in real time to a ground processing unit.” Expecting to have a prototype ready in 2018, the FLAIR project received a grant of €3m from Horizon 2020. Participants from five other European countries include: Senseair AB (Sweden); NKT Photonics A/S, Danmarks Tekniske Universiteit (Denmark); New Infrared Technologies SL (Spain); Stichting Katholieke Universiteit (Netherlands); Eidgenossische Materialprufungs-Und Forschungsanstalt, CSEM Centre Suisse D’Electronique et de Microtechnique SA – Recherche et Developpement (Switzerland). The post Lifesaving drones use photonics to transform disaster rescue efforts appeared first on Horizon 2020 Projects.
Essential for manufacturing high-tech products, rare earth metals are in short supply, but EU-funded research is investigating how to extract and recycle rare earth magnets from EV motors. Rare earth metals account for almost a third of the weight of magnets in electric vehicle (EV) motors. Although this is thought to be their largest use, they are also needed for camera and telescope lenses, aircraft engines, welding and glass-making visors, X-ray and MRI scanners, televisions and computer screens. The Horizon 2020-funded DEMETER project is developing innovative ways of obtaining rare earths from industrial waste, as well as environmentally friendly methods of extracting them. Co-ordinator Koen Binnemans of the University of Leuven in Belgium, said: “Although rare earths are, surprisingly, not particularly scarce, they are difficult to refine and take many days to produce as pure elements. Suitable concentrations are only found in ores that have to be mined.” One DEMETER project recycles rare earth magnets by absorption of hydrogen into the material, which makes it crumble into a powder. In others, ionic liquids, which are salts in liquid form that emit no harmful components, are being developed to extract rare earths. Magnet production from recycled materials is being investigated using a process called spark plasma sintering, which allows fast compacting of magnetic powders into dense solids at low temperatures. DEMETER received funding from the EU’s Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions programme. The post H2020 project recycles vital metals appeared first on Horizon 2020 Projects.
Professor Nataša Pržulj of University College London (UCL) has won a European Research Council (ERC) Consolidator Grant to fund her Integrated Connectedness for a New Representation of Biology (ICON-BIO) project. As one of just seven recipients at UCL, she will receive €2m over five years for her research. Grants of this kind are prestigious, and in this awarding round just 13% of the 2,538 research proposals will be funded. Pržulj has previously received an ERC Starting Grant for her project Biological Network Topology Complements Genome as a Source of Biological Information for 2012-2017. Pržulj said: “It is a great honour to receive a prestigious ERC award again. I am delighted to have been given this opportunity that will enable me to undertake very exciting, new research directions. “Within the project, I will work towards designing holistic, integrative approaches to modelling and analysing the complexity of biological and medical phenomena. “The focus will be redefining currently accepted paradigms in data science, biology and medicine necessary for deeper insights and advancements in these disciplines. “The ultimate goal is to find new treatments for complex and currently incurable diseases.” 329 top researchers across Europe will receive the grants, which the ERC announced last week. Part of the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme, the funding is worth a total €630m and will facilitate a far-reaching impact on science. The post UCL-based researcher wins ERC Consolidator Grant appeared first on Horizon 2020 Projects.
The importance of setting real big steps towards a circular economy is increasing every day. That we need to leave the devastating linear economy behind is clear. But the ways in which we change to a circular, bio-based economy are not clear at all. In this special report, we will focus on our vision and strategy to accelerate the transition to a circular, bio-based economy, with the building sector as priority. Why is bio-based the starting point for a circular economy? The circular economy focuses on preventing the use of new non-renewable resources and the production of waste. Both are important to maintain a world that remains livable. Bio-based materials fit very well in this approach. They are renewable in a short time period and produce no hazardous waste or any waste at all. After their use phase, bio-based materials can be re-used or return to the atmosphere without dangerous effects upon the environment. To secure these positive impacts, the production systems must be designed in a sustainable way, with closed loops for nutrients, which has already proven to be possible. Why is the building sector important in the transition? The building sector is responsible for large amounts of waste, use of resources and transport emissions (up to 40 % for each). All topics are strongly related to climate change, mining, land reclamation, emissions from transport and industry. By changing the existing ways of building, we can take large steps in improving the environmental impacts of the building sector and lower the impact on the climate. Solutions for the building industry Agrodome is working on practical ways in which to help the building sector in the direction of the circular, bio-based economy. We have learned by trying different approaches which are the key factors for change: Ownership – Building owners do not want experiments that can make their investments risky. This blocks innovation in the use of materials, products and concepts. Solutions can be found in new business models regarding the ownership and responsibilities of the quality of the materials and products. The delivering of services instead of materials is another interesting concept that has great impact on the economic sector (banks, investors, insurance, etc.) Procurement – In the building sector, procurement is mainly driven by the price of a product; the performance of a product is mostly secondary and social or environmental aspects are far away in the decisions. Or -when the environmental and social aspects are part of the procurement procedure – the burden of proof is much higher than for the conventional products. This blocks the introduction of materials and products that are better for the society and environment. To solve this, decision makers should be provided with information about the products and materials. Most of the bio-based materials are already used in larger projects, and are not new at all. This knowledge gap must be part of the education programs to be the standard knowledge of every student at every level. The producers of the materials should also give attention to work on the burden of proof. Knowledge sharing and co-operation to reduce the costs are essential to this. Co-creation – Stakeholders in the building sector are used to working separately – each part of the chain doing its work in a closed environment, defending its own interests. In the circular economy, however, the key is to close the loop and that is only possible if all the parts of the chain work together. This means creating building teams based upon co-creation from the start. A new way of thinking to be worked out and tested. Project processes – It is important that the circular, bio-based economy is translated in business models. Visible and practical. Stakeholders must therefore be actively involved in the new approach. To give more space for new approaches, building projects should accept that they need more time in the beginning and need monitoring during the building process, to ensure that the basic ideas are not forgotten in the daily rush. To introduce these new business models, we recommend working in stages. Not change the complete way of working at once but to start with one project, and upscale it. Tenders –Tender projects are crucial in the building sector. For a tender project with the ambition to include circular and bio-based products it is important to invite teams with experts, who can work as co-creators and know the way in the world of reuse, recycling and bio-based building solutions. This will give a realistic, creative, sharp and more interesting offer, as well as save time in the project period by beginning with the right dedicated stakeholders. Conclusion Working together with all the stakeholders in an open way is the key for all the solutions. We must overcome the traditional borders and create a new way of thinking. Co-creating is a good way to cope with the challenges that climate change brings. Working in coalitions of companies, institutes and governments that are willing to change is essential. Communication on the added value of circular, bio-based materials, products and building concepts also needs to be based upon solid research to convince the traditional building actors to shift to other business models. Backed up by providing tools for procurement, assessments of the environmental impacts of materials, products and buildings and economic models. Tools that make it possible for the SMEs to change their business models fitting the new circular reality. Contact Readers of this special report that feel the same urgency to change the building industry and want to work this out in a practical way are welcome to contact Agrodome. Agrodome is driven to be involved in projects to create a solid scientific, practical base for the transition in a circular, bio-based economy for the building sector. Agrodome is member of the European CAPEM group The post Making a circular, bio-based economy possible appeared first on Horizon 2020 Projects.
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Today (11 December), the European Commission releases new scientific standards to help early detection of Alzheimer’s disease. These newly developed standards will serve to calibrate diagnostic tools for more accurate diagnosis and may enable the development of new drugs to fight the disease that, together with other forms of dementia, is estimated to cost €167.5bn per year in the EU. Welcoming the new standards, Vytenis Andriukaitis, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, said: “Early diagnosis is of key importance for people with Alzheimer’s, as early treatment can delay the development of the disease and help keep them autonomous for longer.” Tibor Navracsics, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, responsible for the Joint Research Centre (JRC) said: “By putting this new instrument at the disposal of researchers and industry, we are making an important step to contain Alzheimer’s disease one day, which destroys irreversibly the memory of affected people, and greatly diminishes their quality of life.” The JRC developed the certified reference material in close collaboration with the International Federation of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine and with support of the Alzheimer’s Association, Dementia is affecting large numbers of people. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia affecting 50 – 70% of all patients. The EU has been supporting brain research for many years through Framework Programmes for Research and Innovation, including the current one, Horizon 2020, reaching some €500m a year for basic as well as translational research. The post New scientific standards to help early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease appeared first on Horizon 2020 Projects.
Acknowledging the need to develop synergies between the ICT and energy sectors, the European Commission has placed the digital transformation of the energy sector high on its agenda. Digital technologies already play an important role in the energy sector, particularly for smart grids and smart metering systems, smart home appliances, smart charging solutions for electric vehicles and smart cities. The direction foreseen in the Clean Energy for All Europeans Package adopted by the commission last year is being negotiated by the European Parliament and the European Council. The proposed EU regulatory framework augurs a consumer-centric energy system so that they can benefit from innovative energy services such as smart grids, smart meters and smart homes. The package will also encourage the use of smart technologies and ICT to ensure buildings operate more efficiently while supporting the development of smart charging solutions for electric vehicles. Research and innovation into energy-related digital technologies is financially supported via the Horizon 2020 programme: for 2018 and 2019, some €80m of EU funding will be invested in projects that focus on combining ICT and energy technology development. The post Commission develops smart energy system appeared first on Horizon 2020 Projects.
The PSA Group has developed an electrified light vehicle (L5e) as part of the EU-LIVE project and a new L5e-category electrified mobility solution. The ‘Efficient Urban Light Vehicle’ (EU-LIVE) European consortium brings together 12 partners from six countries, with Groupe PSA being the sole carmaker. The electric light vehicle is adapted for urban and peri-urban trips with a zero-emission mode for city driving. The urban mobility project is funded by the European Commission, under the Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, receiving €6.7m. The hybrid vehicle, which is permitted on all roads with a maximum speed of 130kph, and in zero-emission mode it runs with a maximum speed of 70kph. One of the EU-LIVE consortium’s main aims is to develop common powertrains that can be used for a variety of L-category vehicles in order to achieve economies of scale. The consortium members include Groupe PSA, Peugeot Scooters, Continental, Fraunhofer Institute for Structural Durability and System Reliability, Samsung SDI, Mondragon Goi Eskola Politeknikoa, fka Forschungsgesellschaft Kraftfahrwesen, Spirit Design, Brembo, IFP Energies nouvelles and Elaphe Propulsion Technologies. The post PSA develops electrified light vehicle appeared first on Horizon 2020 Projects.
Horizon 2020 project RESIN develops standardised approaches to increase the resilience of Europe’s cities and urban areas to extreme weather and climate change. The RESIN project is investigating climate change adaptation practices in European cities and assessing impact and vulnerability in order to develop standardised methodologies and decision support tools that cities can use to develop local adaptation strategies. At the occasion of the RESIN November 2017 consortium meeting held in Brussels, a panel discussed the outcomes of the project in the light of EU policies and European urban challenges. Cities in Europe are approaching a crucial time in terms of finding solutions for climate change adaptation. RESIN is optimally placed to advise and guide policy developments on a local and international level on the topic of urban adaptation. The RESIN partner cities have been central players in the project, providing knowledge to improve the project tools’ quality. Alberto Terenzi, of ICLEI Europe, explained: “We wanted to adjust the timing of the tool development to match cities’ needs.” The RESIN cities have already begun using the tools, and have made progress on adaptation with them despite the tools not being developed to completion.” The tools of the RESIN project are useful as a complementary combined suite of tools, hosted in an online guidance platform called the ‘eGuide’. The post Project: to support resilient cities and their infrastructures appeared first on Horizon 2020 Projects.
AfriCultuRes (African Agricultural Systems with the Support of Remote Sensing) is the Horizon 2020 project that won a call on using Earth observation (EO) technology for improving food security in Africa. Better prediction and management of production and supply of food in Africa is the aim of the project AfriCultuReS, which has been launched in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The project has 17 partners, seven of which are located in African countries (Tunisia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Ghana, Rwanda, Mozambique, South Africa), and receives about €8.5m of EU funding. It is one of the cornerstones of the strategy of the European Commission to intensify the co-operation with African partners, contributing to the European Union-African Union partnership while promoting and supporting the activities of the Group on Earth Observation and its flagships, EuroGEOSS and AfriGEOSS. The Ethiopian Minister for Water Irrigation and Electricity, Dr Seleshi Bekele, emphasised the importance of co-operating with the EU for achieving sustainable development goals, highlighting that with projects such as AfriCultuReS, this co-operation is entering a new phase. The project brings together a large variety of data from different sources such as the EU’s Copernicus programme, ground-based observations and models. It develops crop yield predictions and other services, as well as decision support tools for policymakers. The project’s strength is the strong African participation and the significant involvement of users in the development of services and tools that the project is delivering. The post AfriCultuRes project uses EO to support farmers appeared first on Horizon 2020 Projects.