The Demeto project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and has now been officially launched. Demeto aims to enable chemical de-polymerisation of Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) at industrial scale based on its microwave-based process intensification, focusing as a start on coloured bottles. During its opening event at the end of September, the consortium welcomed around 60 experts from the PET packaging and polyester industry and gave an insight into the Demeto project. The core technology of Demeto has been invented gr3n to enable an effective process strengthening of the depolymerisation reaction of plastic, from bottles as much as from any other source. Maurizio Crippa, CEO of gr3n, said: “Demeto proposes the industrialisation and demonstration at full scale of a new industrial process which allows [us] to chemically recycle PET bottles, food containers and even textiles in a highly profitable and environmentally substantial way.” Franco Cavadini, CTO of Synesis, added: “Demeto’s technology, once successfully implemented, would allow [us] to close the recycling loop for PET, with a potential impact on environment and society at large that would be enormous, introducing the concept of full circular economy in the plastic domain.” The complete Demeto Consortium includes Actor, DTU, European Outdoor Group, European Plastics Converters, Fricke and Mallah GmbH, gr3n, H&M, Neogroup, Processi Innovativi, Petcia, Supsi, Synesis, and 3V Tech. The post Demeto officially launches chemical recycling project appeared first on Horizon 2020 Projects.
The European Commission has announced how it will spend €30bn on the EU’s research and innovation funding programme Horizon 2020 during 2018-2020. Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation Carlos Moedas said: “Artificial Intelligence, genetics, blockchain: science is at the core of today’s most promising breakthrough innovations. “Europe is a world leader in science and technology and will play a major role in driving innovation. “The commission is making a concerted effort – including with the European Innovation Council, which takes its first steps today – to give Europe’s many innovators a springboard to become world-leading companies.” Over the next three years, the commission will seek greater impact of its research funding by focusing on fewer, but more critical topics such as migration, security, climate, clean energy and the digital economy. Horizon 2020 will also be more geared towards boosting breakthrough, market-creating innovation. The commission is launching the first phase of the European Innovation Council, mobilising €2.7bn from Horizon 2020 to support high-risk, high-gain innovation to create the markets of the future. The initiative complements wider efforts made by the Juncker Commission since the beginning of its mandate to give Europe’s many innovative entrepreneurs every opportunity to thrive. The post Commission to invest in societal challenges and breakthrough innovation appeared first on Horizon 2020 Projects.
Institutions from 22 countries demand clarification on whether and how the UK will be able to participate in future EU research projects. Leaders of universities from the 22 European countries have warned that uncertainty about the UK’s future involvement in European programmes after 2019 is causing problems, and demand speedier progress in Brexit talks. In a joint statement from representative organisations of universities and national rectors’ conferences, they have called for more urgency on Brexit negotiations, with less than a year and a half until the UK leaves. The group also seeks “clarification” on arrangements for UK-based researchers in Horizon 2020 and the Erasmus+ student exchange programme after March 2019. Janet Beer, president of Universities UK and vice-chancellor of the University of Liverpool, said: “We are now entering a period in which universities need to be finalising their research, collaboration and student exchange programmes for 2019. There is an urgent need for clarity on the UK’s participation in Horizon 2020 beyond Brexit.” Research is due to be discussed in the second phase of negotiations. The UK government has said it is willing to pay to access future EU research programmes. Students arriving on campus this autumn and planning a period abroad as part of their studies need clarity on whether they can participate in the EU’s Erasmus+ programme from 2019 onwards, the statement says. The UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy also issued a statement reiterating that the UK has pledged to pay British grantees directly after March 2019, so that Brexit does not interrupt their projects. The post Universities say Brexit is hindering collaboration appeared first on Horizon 2020 Projects.
A scale-up of tidal energy projects aims to expand capacity, improve reliability and prove their worth to investors as a renewable energy source.  Nova Innovation, a tidal power company based in Edinburgh, UK, deployed the world’s first array of tidal turbines last year, which were connected to the electricity grid in Shetland. In the autumn 2016, Nova Innovation received a Horizon 2020’s SME Instrument grant of €2.25m to develop a commercial demonstrator of Nova’s innovative direct drive tidal turbine technology. The turbines work by using the ebb of the tides from high to low twice a day, which moves huge quantities of water in the world’s seas. This rush of water back and forth can be harnessed to drive turbines beneath the surface, producing electricity. Simon Forrest, chief executive of Nova Innovation, said: “The sea is one of the world’s most challenging environments. However, technical innovation and learnings from the wind sector are being used to make the dream of harnessing energy from the tide a reality.” The array of three 100-kilowatt turbines were installed in Bluemull Sound between the islands of Unst and Yell. Remote islands like these benefit from additional power sources, and are home to some of the world’s most powerful tidal forces. As water is denser than air, such turbines have the potential to generate much more energy than can be produced by wind turbines of a similar size. A major element of the project will be moving the position of individual turbines to assess which arrangements in the water capture the most power from the tidal currents. Together with an existing array of moveable turbines, the new turbines will bring a generating capacity of 12 megawatts to the area by 2020 — enough to power 7,000 homes. The post Tidal energy projects aim to improve renewables’ reliability appeared first on Horizon 2020 Projects.
A €25m EU project, PEFerence, was officially launched on Wednesday (20 September) to establish an innovative value chain for 2,5-furandicarboxylic acid (FDCA) and polyethylene furanoate (PEF). The PEFerence project is based in in Geleen, the Netherlands, and began in September. The consortium consists of 11 companies from eight countries including Synvina, Avantium, BASF, Tereos Participants, Alpla Werke Alwin Lehner, OMV Machinery, Croda Nederland, Nestec, Lego System, nova-Institut für politische und ökologische Innovation, and Spinverse Innovation Management. The partners will be collaborating on the intended construction of a 50,000 tonne reference plant in Antwerp, amongst other things. As background, FDCA is the essential chemical building block to produce PEF. Compared to conventional plastics, PEF is characterised by improved barrier properties for gases like carbon dioxide and oxygen. This can lead to longer shelf life of packaged products. Due to its higher mechanical strength, thinner PEF packaging can be produced, thus a lower amount of packaging material is necessary. Therefore, PEF is particularly suitable for the production of certain food and drink packaging. After use, PEF can be recycled. PEFerence has received funding from the Bio-Based Industries Joint Undertaking under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. The post EU project to establish supply chain for FDCA and PEF appeared first on Horizon 2020 Projects.
A consortium of companies led by HPS Group has won a European Commission contract to develop a proto-flight model deployable antenna. The 6m-diameter deployable antenna is to fill a gap in Europe’s space technology portfolio. Under the contract, valued at €5m, the HPS-led consortium will design, test and prepare an antenna that will fly on whichever satellite prime contractor agrees to take it. In addition to HPS, Oxford Space Systems of Britain and Sener of Spain have been working on antenna designs. Satellite prime contractors Airbus Defence and Space and Thales Alenia Space have also been designing large antennas. Large Space Structures (LSS) in Germany is also part of the HPS consortium. HPS Chief Executive Ernst K Pfeiffer, in an interview at Space Tech Expo, said that under the European Commission rules the consortium will be able to donate the antenna to enable it to receive the all-important “space-qualified” designation. The proto-flight model is scheduled to be completed in 2019 or early 2020, meaning it could be ready in time for a late-2020 flight. Many contracts under the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 programme are cost-sharing arrangements. The consortium members will contribute some €2m of their own resources in the programme in return for the commission contract of €5m. The post Commission selects consortium for antenna development appeared first on Horizon 2020 Projects.
In an effort to prevent terror attacks the European Commission has presented its 11th Security Union Report, a set of operational and practical measures to better defend EU citizens. Recent attacks in Barcelona, London, Manchester and Stockholm have shown that terrorist are increasingly targeting public spaces. Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker announced in his 2017 State of the Union Address that the measures aim to address vulnerabilities exposed by recent attacks and will support member states in protecting public spaces and help deprive terrorists of the means to act. The proposals to better protect public spaces include increased financial support of €118.5m over the next year, new guidance material, forums for the exchange of best practices to help member states and improving co-operation between local actors and the private sector. New measures to deprive terrorists of the means to act include restricting access to substances used to make home-made explosives, support for law enforcement and judicial authorities when they encounter encryption in criminal investigations. The 11th Security Union Report is also looking at the next steps on countering radicalisation. The EU has so far awarded €195m to 48 security research projects related to the protection of public spaces under the Seventh Framework Programme and Horizon 2020. The Internal Security Fund (ISF) was set up for the period 2014 to 2020 to promote the achievement of an efficient and genuine Security Union, law enforcement co-operation, and management of the EU’s external borders. The commission said it will also continue enhancing maritime transport security, as well as improve the protection of ports, container ships and passenger transport ships. The post Commission publishes defence measures appeared first on Horizon 2020 Projects.
The UK government is considering extending the post-Brexit financial support promised for research projects funded by the European Union. Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation Jo Johnson said that the government recognised the “high value” of the Horizon 2020 funding scheme and implied that the provisions were being made to ensure the UK’s continuing participation in such programmes, when giving evidence to the Commons Science and Technology Committee. Johnson told the committee: “Participations in Horizon 2020 by EU and UK researchers and institutions are still running at strong levels. “I think that shows that the underwrite that the Treasury put in place pretty promptly is working, and its doing the job that we needed to do. That’s not to say we’re not watching this extremely carefully and always assessing whether there aren’t further things that we need to be doing to ensure our institutions continue to bid successfully.” Despite a warning posted on the EU’s website that UK bids accepted after the Brexit date may be withdrawn without financial backing, researchers and institutions need not be confused, Johnson added, because the Treasury would protect their applications. After Tuesday (17 October), the Science and Technology Committee launched an inquiry into the science budget and industrial strategy. An industrial strategy White Paper is due to be published in the coming weeks. The post UK considers extending support for H2020 bids appeared first on Horizon 2020 Projects.
The European Commission has allocated €50,000 to finance Ukrainian start-up SolarGaps. The European Commission had funded the SolarGaps project within the framework of the first stage of the Horizon 2020 SME programme. According to the company’s founder, the received funds will be spent on certification of products in Europe, laboratory research and marketing campaigns. In addition, the SolarGaps team intends to apply for the second stage of the programme, which provides funding of €1.5m. SolarGaps smart blinds automatically track the Sun throughout the day, adjusting their position to optimise solar electricity generation. SolarGaps blinds have been engineered to reduce energy usage, create renewable energy and assist the transition to energy independence. The post European Commission to finance Ukrainian start-up SolarGaps appeared first on Horizon 2020 Projects.
A new evaluation of the EU-funded European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) concludes that the body is making progress in nudging forward research in climate change, energy and digital fields. The third review of the body in under two years offers a largely positive assessment on the state of the institute established to help transfer research and innovation from academia into commercial applications. The EIT has attracted much criticism recently, starting with a review by the European Court of Auditors, which criticised the body that has spent close to €3bn since 2008, for showing very little for its investment. A follow-up report by a special panel of experts convened by the European Commission confirmed many of the body’s serial shortcomings. The latest report by ICF and Technopolis looks at the EIT over the period 2011-2015 and recounts many of the problems faced by the institute and efforts to address them. It reiterates questions raised elsewhere about the long-term viability of the EIT’s many distributed innovation incubators. The report comes as the EU enters a debate over the future of its budget; while some argue for a rise in overall spending for research and innovation activities, others are expecting a cut. EIT operates through what it calls Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs), these are groups of universities, research institutes and businesses working in specific fields. The future solvency of these KICs is the main problem identified by the review. The dependency on EIT funding is supposed to fall from close to 90% in 2016 to 27% in 2022, and then to 10% by 2025 – 15 years after the first-wave KICs were established. The evaluators said potential future sources of cash include equity positions in EIT-backed start-ups and royalties from EIT-supported projects, but also raised the fundamental question of whether financial sustainability for KICs will ever become feasible. The report also questioned whether such a goal is even desirable, given that the core purpose of the EIT is to invest in areas that would not have otherwise been pursued by the private sector. The post Report praises EIT reform appeared first on Horizon 2020 Projects.