A new three-year research project has been launched to address the safety and efficiency of Arctic ship operations. Safe Maritime Operations Under Extreme Conditions (SEDNA) aims to mitigate navigation issues, as well as design vessel coatings based on the water-repellent feathers of penguins. With global warming taking its toll on the ice in Arctic waters, more and more routes are opening to shipping companies looking for a shortcut. Last year researchers at the University of Reading, UK,  predicted that there will be double the opportunities for vessels to cross the Arctic by 2050. SEDNA aims to make Arctic waters safer, as increasing numbers of vessels travelling through freezing waters has already resulted in more casualties, highlighting how many vessels aren’t built for the task. Philipp Lohrmann, SEDNA’s project co-ordinator, said: “If you take a shortcut through the Arctic rather than go all the way around it, that is a massive saving in fuel and time, so that’s motivation; the idea is to have a bit of an international co-operation because obviously a lot of countries are interested in Arctic shipping.” The isolated nature of Arctic voyages means that ships need to be capable of handling tough weather and freezing conditions. A key aspect of SEDNA will be developing new ways to protect ships from Arctic conditions as ice is one of the biggest threats. SEDNA aims to develop anti-icing solutions that can be applied to ships to prevent build-up, with scientists currently looking for inspiration from an unexpected source – penguins. “Their feathers have a mixture of nanostructure and hydrophobic oil covers that repel water and prevent it from freezing on the surface,” Lohrmann said It is also claimed that SEDNA will use numerical simulation tools to study various types of icebreaking procedures. Researchers will also attempt to produce a risk-based framework with which shipbuilders could design vessels specifically for Arctic operations. Lohrmann added: “We’re working closely with the stakeholders and we’re in contact with actual mariners to make sure what we do is useful and close to reality.” With Arctic waters in a state of constant flux, there’s a concern that solutions developed could be outdated by the time they are tested. The post Project launched to make Arctic voyages safer appeared first on Horizon 2020 Projects.
Zap&Go have developed a rapid-charge carbon-ion cell at its Oxford laboratory. The British start-up has produced the battery which is capable of charging within a matter of seconds. The carbon-ion pack uses a power pack alongside a cordless device for direct power transfer. The developers were recently awarded €1.43m in funding from the EU Horizon 2020 programme. Stephen Voller, Zap&Go’s CEO, said: “We have successfully demonstrated how to reduce recharge times from hours, to five minutes with our carbon-ion cells … and ‘instant charging’ represents the next stage of the development of our technology. “Since we have the technology to charge a cordless drill in 15 seconds, we expect to be able [to] similarly improve EV charging rates, thereby solving one of the main obstacles to making EVs the new standard.” In a feasibility study, Zap&Go established consumer interest in cordless tools. Interest was also indicated in commitments from OEMs for joint development agreements. Though the current models only carry small amounts of chargeable power, Zap&Go hopes to use the grant to develop existing prototype cordless tools, including vacuum cleaners and power drills, as well as building units to conduct customer trials. The post Carbon-ion battery facilitates quick charging appeared first on Horizon 2020 Projects.
CATEC, located in Seville, Spain, has developed a pioneering technology which allows the use of airborne robots and small unmanned aircraft for industrial contact inspections. AEROX is a further development in the use of drones and airborne robots for different industrial tasks, such as inspections in factories or aqueducts. Antidio Viguria, head of avionics and systems division in CATEC, said that the new drone “represents a great step further for the use of this type of aerial robots in different tasks, as they not only could see from the air but also touch and feel”. It is not only possible to see and collect data from the air, but also to minimise time, resources, and the health implications of working at height. The development has been selected as one of ten candidates for the Innovation Radar Prize 2017, launched by the European Commission, to identify Europe’s top future innovators and their innovations to be applied in the market. Competing in the ‘Industrial Enabling Tech’ category, the award aims to recognise new technologies and components, developed with EU-funding, which have industrial relevance as well as the potential to enable the emergence of new applications. Viguria added: “The Innovation Radar Prize can be a great opportunity for us to increase our knowledge of this technology and to arouse the industry’s interest in exploiting it.” The post CATEC develops aerial technology for drones appeared first on Horizon 2020 Projects.
The EU has granted the Mixed-Integer Non-Linear Optimisation Applications (MINOA) project funds as part of the Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Framework Programme. The project is a collaborative European Training Network with 12 research partners in four countries, Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica (CWI) being one. Monique Laurent, MT member at CWI and local co-ordinator of the MINOA project, said: “We are very happy that we can start with our new Training Network MINOA and that we can now build on the solid collaborations we had established within our previous, successful MINO consortium.” Starting in January 2018 and running for four years, each partner will receive a PhD position (in total €3m). MINOA outlined in a research proposal that the project would be: ‘Building upon the achievements of the Marie-Curie ITN MINO (2012-2016), the goal of the MINOA proposal is to train the next generation of highly qualified researchers and managers in applied mathematics, operations research and computer science that are able to face the modern necessary challenges in areas such as energy, logistics, engineering, natural sciences, and data analytics. ‘12 early-stage researchers (ESRs) will be trained through an innovative training programme based on individual research projects that … will stimulate new developments in the field. ‘MINOA aims at building bridges between different mathematical methodologies and at creating novel and effective algorithmic enhancements. ‘ESRs will work on dynamic aspects and optimisation in real time, optimisation under uncertainty, multilevel optimisation and non-commutativity in quantum computing. ‘The projects will be jointly supervised between experienced practitioners from leading European industries and leading optimisation experts, covering a wide range of scientific fields, from mathematics to quantum computing and real-world applications’. The post MINOA project receives H2020 optimisation grant appeared first on Horizon 2020 Projects.
Today (5 October) Italy celebrates the 20th anniversary of its scientific membership of the world’s flagship centre for neutron science, the Institut Laue-Langevin (ILL). The two decades of collaboration have tackled scientific challenges across areas as diverse as health and computing as well as upskilling the future generation of neutron scientists. Around 6% of all scientific visitors at the ILL and 24% of those welcomed from scientific member countries are Italian. Some of the most exciting science to be conducted at the ILL recently has come from Italian users. The revelation that ‘quantum tunnelling’ (where a particle ‘tunnels’ through a barrier) enables the birth of stars was discovered by the University of Parma, for example. Work within the same department has brought molecular magnets closer to application in quantum computing – a relatively unexplored field. In the global context, an ageing population means treating chronic diseases is a scientific challenge. In this area, ILL has supported the University of Milan in contributing to the fight against chronic conditions such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s – mapping the mechanisms underpinning the diseases to contribute to the design of new treatments. Italy was in fact one of the first nations using neutrons for spectroscopy. With no nuclear source of their own since the 1960s, use of the ILL’s world-class facilities and expertise has enabled Italians to maintain influence on the global research stage, impacting  areas such as Alzheimer’s, cryopreservation and investigation of life under extreme conditions. Professor Helmut Schober, director of the ILL, said: “The unique research conducted by Italian users at the ILL over the last 20 years has been essential to solving some of the major challenges facing modern society. Carried out across a broad range of disciplines and feeding into innovation in many different fields of application, including health, materials and the future of computing, I have no doubt that science in Italy will continue to benefit from the unrivalled services provided by the ILL.” Given the European Commission’s planned €1bn quantum technologies flagship initiative in 2018, ILL is enabling Italian scientists to be at the forefront of European science priorities. The post Italy and ILL celebrate 20 years of scientific excellence appeared first on Horizon 2020 Projects.
The 2017 Nobel Prize in Chemistry has been awarded to Jacques Dubochet, Joachim Frank, and Richard Henderson ‘for developing cryo-electron microscopy for the high-resolution structure determination of biomolecules in solution’ Their work has allowed scientists to freeze biomolecules to look at their structures and the processes they are involved in. According to the press release by the Nobel Prize Committee, electron microscopes were long believed to only be suitable for imaging dead matter because the powerful electron beam destroys biological material. In 1990, Henderson succeeded in using an electron microscope to generate a three-dimensional image of a protein at atomic resolution. This breakthrough proved the technology’s potential. Frank made the technology generally applicable. Between 1975 and 1986 he developed an image processing method in which the electron microscope’s fuzzy two-dimensional images are analysed and merged to reveal a sharp three-dimensional structure. Dubochet added water to electron microscopy. The water evaporates in the electron microscope’s vacuum, which makes the biomolecules collapse. In the early 1980s, he succeeded in vitrifying water – cooling it so rapidly that it solidified in its liquid form around a biological sample, allowing the biomolecules to retain their natural shape even in a vacuum. Following these discoveries, the electron microscope was optimised and the desired atomic resolution was reached in 2013. Researchers can now produce three-dimensional structures of biomolecules. In the past few years, scientific literature has been filled with images of everything from proteins that cause antibiotic resistance, to the surface of the Zika virus. ‘Biochemistry is now facing an explosive development and is all set for an exciting future’, the Nobel Prize Committee said. The post Chemistry Nobel awarded to imaging trio appeared first on Horizon 2020 Projects.
EIT Digital, along with 20 partners, has begun the Manufacturing Industry Digital Innovation Hub (MIDIH) initiative. Funded by Horizon 2020 within the Factories of Future cPPP and I4MS programmes, MIDIH aims to support and link national and local initiatives for the digitisation of manufacturing industry, to boost investment and collaborations through strategic partnership and networking. The initiative aims to encourage innovation partnerships between solution providers and industrie, as well as bring Europe to the forefront of the Industry 4.0 market by 2023. By supporting companies in their digitalisation travel, Digital Innovation Hubs are crucial ingredient of the Digitising European Industry (DEI) initiative. Digital Innovation Hubs have already proven their effectiveness, the concept finding its limits only in the available technical skills and the difficulty to scale business beyond regional/national borders. MIDIH will connect operating Digital Innovation Hubs focusing on CPS and IoT into a pan-European network capable of more effectively addressing the needs of European industry, notably SMEs and midcaps. Fabio Pianesi, head of external collaboration at EIT Digital said: “In order to play a major role in the digitisation of European manufacturing industry, European SMEs and midcaps need to be able to access a pallet of services in a unified manner … By pooling together existing Digital Innovation Hubs, Competence Centres and Teaching Factories across Europe and joining forces with major industrial players and platform providers, MIDIH will incubate a pan-European network acting as a ‘one stop shop’ of services allowing SMEs and midcap to successfully meet the challenges of digital transformation.” Recent studies estimate that digitisation of products and of the manufacturing process can add more than €110bn of annual revenue in Europe in the next five years. The post EIT Digital begins MIDIH initiative appeared first on Horizon 2020 Projects.
CardLab has announced that it will be using Fingerprint Cards latest T-Shape™ module in its biometric card reference. In a statement, Fingerprint Cards said that the T-Shape sensor module is designed to optimise integration into smart cards. Frank Sandelöv, CEO of Cardlab Aps, said: “We are pleased to work with Fingerprints as they have been very perceptive to CardLab input in their work towards developing a sensor that can be easily embedded in volume production. “Fingerprints’ new unique T-Shape sensor and CardLab’s experience and knowhow in designing Powered Cards is a perfect combination. It will benefit not just CardLab but the card sector in general, which is now able to integrate another layer of security in volume production.” It is designed to pass ISO standards for smart cards, and pre-qualification evidences its compliance with Card Quality Management (CQM) requirements. In February, CardLab was granted support from the European Commission under the Horizon 2020 programme with the scope to embed a fingerprint sensor solution to enhance security. The solutions which CardLab has developed are compliant with new data protection regulations whilst protecting personal identity; biometric data is stored in the card, and not in a centralised database. Thomas Rex from the SVP Business Line Smart Cards at Fingerprint said: “That CardLab has chosen to use our T-Shape module in their reference design is an evidence that the T-Shape sensor fits the market requirements and we are pleased to work together. “This is a proof of our efforts meeting not only the demands of production processes but also demands in terms of security and ease of use.” The post FPC sensor implemented into CardLab cards appeared first on Horizon 2020 Projects.
GKinetic Energy is in the process of developing an ‘off-grid’ floating device which could generate the electricity to sufficiently power up to 15 homes in Ireland’s remote communities. The Irish Times reports that the company based in Limerick is working on a 25kw commercial tidal device, following an 8kw prototype which generated outputs above international industry standards in testing phases. Vincent McCormack, GKinetic’s chief executive, said: “When we first started looking at this we identified what the problems were within the industry and a key one was deployment cost. “We came up with a floating device that accelerates the flow into the turbines so we are actually getting double the speed of the water and, therefore, greater power”. The developing device would be easily deployed in rivers with depths as shallow as two metres, and will provide electricity for communities which to date have relied on unsustainable and pollutant fuels such as diesel. In its testing phase, the device will be trialled at Limerick Docks and has turbines on both sides of the vertical cylinder to provide acceleration which is double that of natural water flow. Manufacturing partner DesignPro, based in Rathkeale, recently received grant funding of €2.7m from Horizon 2020 in order to commercialise 25kw and 60kw devices using the technology. McCormack added: “We are now going to develop our first commercial unit but that will require rigorous testing over two years. Once we’re beyond that, we expect to be into full production of 25kw machines in 2020. “We are fully funded out for that period to bring the design to commercialisation.” The post Off-grid tidal energy to power Ireland’s homes appeared first on Horizon 2020 Projects.
A draft funding plan published on Monday (2 October) proposes to dedicate €111m between 2018 and 2020 for researchers who want to study the causes and effects of migration. A further €139m is proposed to be dedicated to investing in research on issues of “governance”, as in the rise of extremism in the Middle East and the Balkans, the strength of democracy, and the future of post-war order of international organisations. The plan’s authors say that the intent “is to address the concerns of the European citizens regarding migration, the fourth industrial revolution and the challenges of governance”. To date, the European Commission has published five of 12 draft work programmes, detailing how it intends to spend around €30bn from 2018 to 2020 on research topics. The research plan on social sciences focuses heavily on the pressures of migration. It calls for researchers to propose studies into the factors which encourage people to migrate, patterns of migration, and how global organisations manage migration. Furthermore, the programme identifies that more research is needed into the causes of violent extremism, and how it can be contained. It points to the Middle East and the Balkans as regions for specialist study, as well as the causes of extremist ideologies more generally. Other topics under the proposed project include studying the illegal trafficking of cultural goods, the impact of technology on children, and innovative approaches to cultural tourism. The post Migration and extremism under H2020 agenda appeared first on Horizon 2020 Projects.