Plastic recycling company Luxus has secured a £1.29m (~€1.47m) investment under the Horizon 2020 programme, in a consortium with Polykemi and global plastics manufacturer One51. The funding supports NIRSort, a commercialisation project which aims to replace carbon black and other pigments with a range of near-infrared (NIR) detectable alternatives for use by packaging, automotive and consumer durables manufacturers. Each year 3.5 million tonnes of polymer are discarded in the UK alone, since black and some other coloured packaging cannot be picked up by recycling sorters. This is due to the products containing carbon black that reflects very little or no radiation rendering it ‘invisible’ to sorting machines in recycling depots. NIRSort is a two year project that will be led by Luxus in collaboration with global processor Polykemi. Polykemi will participate by formulating, processing and testing materials. The resulting materials will be then further evaluated for use in innovative packaging material via Polykemis subsidiary Scanfill. The third consortium partner is rigid plastics manufacturer, One51, selected for its injection moulding manufacturing expertise. Christel Croft, technical director at Luxus, said: “This pioneering project is based on the previous successful work to identify NIR detectable alternatives to carbon black from specialist additive and masterbatch supplier, Colour Tone, which Luxus acquired earlier this year. “It aims to develop a range of colourants for polymers that will enable NIR sorting operations to segregate black and coloured plastics from waste streams to a level of purity that they are useable in highly engineered polymers. “We have defined a programme of development, designed to identify formulations with optimal cost effectiveness in packaging recycling and to extend the technology across to Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (WEEE) and end-of-life vehicle applications, each of which has its own specialist requirements.” The most immediate market need is for food packaging, which typically has a three to 12 month cycle from ‘make-to-waste’. The post Project to create NIR packaging alternatives appeared first on Horizon 2020 Projects.
Polish blockchain start-up Billon has received a €2m grant under the Horizon 2020 programme to exploit the alternative payment market. The company said that it was awarded the grant on the basis that its distributed ledger technology (DLT) could exploit the alternative payment market. Robert Kaluza, co-founder of Billon, said: “Billon’s blockchain technology is the first cloud and mobile peer-to-peer solution for everyday currencies using DLT, where we provide PLN and GBP solutions in partnership with banks. Billon now moves beyond solutions to digitally pay people, to now enable participants to spend their funds online.” The granted funding will be used to expand the start-up’s blockchain technology beyond instant corporate payments, support the launch of e-commerce and content monetisation solutions, and provide additional investment in sales, marketing, compliance and operation. Tadeusz Kuropatwinski, managing director of digital payments at Billon, added: “We believe content monetisation and e-commerce payments will be one of the main drivers behind the global demand for micropayments, especially in emerging markets. “Today’s payment solutions include clumsy pre-paid vouchers and premium SMS, and Billon can transform this into a digital payment experience on a mobile phone, and with a full audit trail.” Based on the company’s successful trials, Kuropatwinski said he expects to launch merchant services for e-commerce and content monetisation this autumn in Poland, and in 2018 in the UK. The company will then start looking for possible entries into emerging markets. The post Blockchain start-up receives EU grant appeared first on Horizon 2020 Projects.
Vice-President of the European Commission Maroš Šefčovič has met with InnoEnergy and its innovators in Portugal while celebrating the country’s progress as a clean energy leader. InnoEnergy welcomed Šefčovič to the capital, Lisbon, this week, showcasing the clean-energy contribution of some of the Portuguese innovations it has supported. Šefčovič met with Andreia Fernandes, Portugal Country Manager, InnoEnergy at the Tivoli Hotel Avenida. The commissioner witnessed presentations about the organisation’s work in Portugal and from some of the innovative start-ups that InnoEnergy has supported. Šefčovič said: “What I appreciate with InnoEnergy is its tailor-made support to help entrepreneurs develop promising and efficient energy solutions while always mindful that they have to conquer markets.” Fernandes said: “It was an honour to join Commissioner Šefčovič and to showcase some of the fantastic innovations we’ve supported. “To our innovators in Portugal and the rest of Europe, we hope that this shows how seriously the commission takes clean energy innovation and demonstrates the value of InnoEnergy’s top-table network of policy makers and industry influencers.” The following day, Šefčovič met with one of InnoEnergy’s Portuguese success stories, ProDrone. The Lisbon-based company uses customised unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), specifically designed for inspecting wind turbines in a safer, more cost-effective way. Šefčovič added: “InnoEnergy had a decisive role to play by being an enabler of the Energy Union through innovation.” “Portugal has already led the way in so many areas of clean energy – just look at Principle Power’s world-leading floating offshore wind technology, WindFloat,” says Diego Pavía, CEO of InnoEnergy. “We helped commercialise that project and are working to help Portuguese innovators lead in so many more. Commissioner Šefčovič’s kind words are a great validation of our work.” The post Šefčovič endorses InnoEnergy on Energy Union tour appeared first on Horizon 2020 Projects.
Small capsules embedded in clothing could soon be used to counteract the rise of sensitive skin conditions. Dr Carla Silva, chief technology officer at the Centre for Nanotechnology and Smart Materials (CENTI) in Portugal, said: “As people are getting older, they have more sensitive skin, so there is a need to develop new products for skin treatment.” This increased sensitivity can lead to painful bacterial infections such as dermatitis, otherwise known as eczema. Current treatments use silver-based or synthetic antibacterial elements, but these can create environmentally harmful waste and may have negative side effects. To fight these bacterial infections in an eco-friendly way the EU-funded SKHINCAPS project is combining concentrated plant oil with nanotechnology. The solution puts these so-called ‘essential oils’ into tiny capsules that are hundreds of times smaller than the width of a human hair. Each one is programmed to release its solution only in the presence of the bacteria that cause the skin infections. This means that each capsule is in direct contact with the affected skin as soon as an infection occurs, increasing the effectiveness of the treatment. According to Silva, who is also project co-ordinator of SKHINCAPS, the nano-capsules are attached to the clothing material using covalent bonding, the strongest chemical bond found in Nature. This ensures the capsules survive the washing machine and that they are invisible to the wearer. This nanotechnology has a lifespan equal to that of the garment, though the active ingredients contained in the nano-capsules will run out earlier depending on the extent of the skin infection, and thus on how much of the treatment is released when the clothing is worn. The nano-capsules could prove invaluable for chronic eczema sufferers and those with high levels of stress, as well as the elderly and diabetics, who are particularly vulnerable to developing such infections. The post Nanotech clothing to treat eczema appeared first on Horizon 2020 Projects.
A grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is to help researchers at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, US, study how to replace neurons lost through traumatic brain disorders. The five-year grant was recently awarded to Dr Daniel Peterson, director of the university’s Center for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine, and Dr Robert Marr, Chicago Medical School associate professor of neuroscience, for the study ‘Reprogramming Cell Fate for Repair,’ a collaboration with co-principal investigators Dr Oliver Brüstle and Dr Martin Schwarz, at the University of Bonn in Germany. Peterson said: “Our new reprogramming technology allows us to try to make neurons wherever they’re needed in the brain for repair and we’re having some success. “What we’re still trying to figure out is how to make enough of them and how to make them connect with the existing circuit.” Neurons in the brain and spinal cord are long-lived cells that are not replaced when damaged or lost. Recent advances in stem cell biology make it possible to introduce developmental genes into mature cells and direct them to becoming a different type of cell. The study will use gene therapy approaches to directly reprogram rodent and human progenitor cells, which descend from stem cells to become neurons, and then evaluate the extent to which these newly engineered neurons connect with the rest of the brain. The findings could lead to new therapies for neurological injury and disease such as stroke, spinal cord injury, and traumatic brain injury (TBI). Peterson’s team, which has also included researchers at DePaul University in Chicago, is investigating neuronal loss in an animal model of mild TBI with the goal of applying the reprogramming approach to replace lost neurons and restore function. The post Project awarded grant for neurological repair research appeared first on Horizon 2020 Projects.
Horizon 2020 has made approximately €80bn available in funds for collaborative research projects by researchers in Europe and other countries, including Bangladesh. Speaker of the Bangladeshi Parliament, Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury; the minister for science and technology, architect Yeafesh Osman; ambassador and head of the EU Delegation to Bangladesh, Pierre Mayaudon; and president of the Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI), Nihad Kabir, were present at a seminar event held on 18 July. Chaudhury said that there is ample opportunity for collaboration between Bangladeshi researchers and their EU counterparts on issues such as food security, the blue economy and ICT. She added: “Blue economy would mean the promotion of smart, sustainable and inclusive growth and employment opportunities in Bangladesh’s maritime activities in short-, medium- and long-term time frames.” The seminar event, EU Horizon 2020: Opportunities for Bangladesh, brought participants from business, academia, research institutes, think tanks and the government to discuss the key issues on Horizon 2020, its rules of participation and partnership. Moreover, it discussed the funding body’s research and innovation (R&I) opportunities in order to address global societal challenges such as agriculture, food, health, aquaculture, water, climate change and energy. Osman said: “A partnership with European firms can benefit Bangladesh to improve understanding on the economics of climate change and pool resources in a structured manner to develop tools and methods for gauging impacts.” The post Horizon 2020 funding for Bangladeshi research appeared first on Horizon 2020 Projects.
The Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) has launched a €130m Call for proposals, focusing on Alzheimer’s disease amongst other areas. The IMI is launching two new Calls for proposals with topics including Alzheimer’s disease, big data, vaccines, autoimmune disease, the blood-brain barrier, drug development, and the exploitation of IMI project results. The total budget for the Calls exceeds €130m, half of which comes from the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 programme and the remainder invested by the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) and IMI associates. IMI executive director Pierre Meulien said: “As these new Call topics show, there are still many challenges and unanswered questions in medical research and drug development. I am optimistic that by bringing together the best people from the public and private sectors, the Innovative Medicines Initiative will help to make progress in these important areas and contribute to accelerating medicines development.” The Calls aim to develop a digital platform which draws upon smartphone, wearable and home sensor technologies to detect changes in cognitive and functional abilities. FAIR data is defined as ‘findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable’, and its goal is to ensure that data from IMI projects is in alignment with these principles whilst securing the sustainability of the data. Ultimately, such efforts would hope to enable the ease in which the scientific community is able to take advantage of data generated by IMI projects. In order to address burdens upon healthcare systems, each funded topic will aim to design a vaccination programme for the elderly, in similarity to the one in operation for children. Further proposal topics include funding into the European Health Data Network, ensuring drugs can cross the blood-brain barrier, a European screening centre, and efforts to resolve the exploitation of IMI project results. The post IMI calls for medicine proposals appeared first on Horizon 2020 Projects.
The Energy efficient Mortgages Action Plan (EeMAP) initiative has launched a website aimed at encouraging people to buy energy efficient properties. EeMAP is a market-led and first-of-its-kind initiative which aims to design an ‘energy efficient mortgage’. The initiative aims to demonstrate that energy efficiency has risk mitigation effects for lenders due to its impact in enhancing a borrower’s ability to service their loan and on the value of the property. EeMAP is an initiative by the European Mortgage Federation – European Covered Bond Council (EMF-ECBC); UK Green Buildings Council; Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors; Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, Italy; E.ON and SAFE Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany. The project has received funding under the Horizon 2020 programme. It was launched in June 2017 at a ‘Kick-Off Stakeholder Meeting’ in Rome, where over 100 European market stakeholders met with the European Parliament, the European Commission and local authorities. They discussed how EU property owners could finance energy efficiency investments in the European building stock. The website hosts a series of videos summarising the debates held at the meeting and the comments of key supporters, including MEP Bendt Bendtsen, rapporteur on the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive. Luca Bertalot, EeMAP co-ordinator and secretary general of the European Mortgage Federation and European Covered Bond Council, said: “We are delighted to announce that the EeMAP website is now online. “With a clear market-developed roadmap for the private financing of energy efficiency, the EeMAP initiative proposes concrete solutions to enhance energy efficiency in the EU, with market stakeholders supporting the leadership role that the EU has taken in tackling climate change.” The post EeMAP launches energy efficient mortgage website appeared first on Horizon 2020 Projects.
Bus operators from Germany and South Tyrol, Italy, are partnering to acquire 63 fuel cell buses for their public transport systems as part of the EU-funded JIVE project. The joint procurement activity is part of the JIVE (Joint Initiative for hydrogen Vehicles across Europe) project, an EU-funded project aiming to deploy 139 new zero-emission fuel cell buses across nine cities. Ben Madden, director of Element Energy, the project co-ordinator in the UK, has said that taking a co-ordinated approach to purchasing large numbers of these buses facilitates the delivery of increased standardisation and significant cost reductions, allowing the cities to realise their ambitious zero-emission bus adoption plans. The project was set up to deploy some 140 of these new buses across nine locations, in five European countries. It will also test new hydrogen refuelling stations capable of serving fleets of more than 20 buses. This will both reduce the cost of hydrogen, as well as test the system’s capacity to offer reliability at the required commercialisation level. Through its large-scale deployment, JIVE’s overall objective is to make it commercially viable for bus operators to include hydrogen fuel cell buses in their fleets, without the need for subsidies. By doing so JIVE aims to offer local and national governments a viable option to meet targets for emissions reductions. The post Project set to deploy fuel cell buses appeared first on Horizon 2020 Projects.
Researchers at the Mediterranea University of Reggio Calabria, Italy, set out to demonstrate the impact environmental heat exposure has on labour loss in the vineyard. The researchers in Calabria claim the global wine industry represents 0.2% of the world’s gross domestic product (GDP). They also claim, even with the mechanisation of vineyard work throughout the world, much of the work to produce wine is still manual labour. Researchers selected Cyprus for the study, where mean temperatures during harvest are above 36°C. According to the researchers, ‘laboratory studies have shown that the above-mentioned amount of thermal strain during grape picking can impair the human physiologic function and capacity to perform prolonged exercise and work.’ The aim of the study was to assess the impact of workplace heat on the work shift time spent performing labour. Time-motion analysis was done by way of a video camera to follow the vineyard workers’ movement and time spent. The study’s secondary aim was to determine whether environmental seasonal conditions influenced the grape pickers. The workers monitored for each season comprised of four males and two females, each experienced grape pickers. Analysis highlighted that 12.4% of their total work shift time was spent on irregular work time breaks. There was from 0.6% to 2.1% increase in hourly work time breaks for every degree Celsius increase in air temperature as well as increase in the worker’s skin temperature. The study concluded that neither monitoring productivity nor the vineyard manager’s estimates reflected the true work time labour in these workers. However, the time-motion analysis accurately evaluated every second spent by each worker and it showed that increased workplace heat led to significant labour loss. The post Study indicates link between heat exposure and labour loss appeared first on Horizon 2020 Projects.