LSBU research teams win £1.5 million EU funding

Two teams of researchers lead by academics at London South Bank University (LSBU) have been awarded funding from the European Union to help develop innovative, environmentally friendly technology which will contribute towards the fight against climate change.

The first project will examine ways to reduce energy use in the cold storage of food, reducing the impact of refrigeration on global warming. The second project will see academic research experts work with industry to encourage wider use of nanotechnology in areas such as solar cell production and new battery technology.

The two LSBU led projects have attracted £1.5 million of EU funding, and will help industries across Europe by developing practical technologies that will both increase their efficiency and reduce environmental impact.

Faculty of Engineering Science and the Built Environment Pro Dean in Research and Enterprise, Dr Andy Tilbrook, said:
"This is a further sign that London South Bank University is continuing to develop and improve its research capability and expertise. The two projects are examples of how we can use the experience of our highly-qualified staff to lead major new projects that help develop practical yet innovative solutions to some of the problems faced by European businesses."

About the two projects

Improving Cold storage Equipment in Europe (ICE-E)
Professor Graeme Maidment and Judith Evans from the Department of Urban Engineering at LSBU will lead a consortium of nine partners in this two-year project. The main aim of ICE-E is to increase the use of energy efficient refrigeration technologies by offering information and education to businesses across Europe. This work will focus on the efficient usage of existing equipment but should lead to valuable insights into how to design new energy-efficient and cost-effective equipment.

Refrigeration is responsible for about 35 per cent of energy use in the food industry, while the loss of refrigerants contributes to climate change. The ICE-E project will help cold store operators reduce their impact on the environment by improving the ability to run refrigeration equipment in a more energy and cost efficient manner. It will give insights into how to improve the design and operation of future refrigeration facilities.

The research team is also made up of six higher education institutes and three small-to-medium enterprises from the UK, Italy, Germany, Denmark, the Czech Republic, Belgium, and Bulgaria.

Manufacturing and applications of nanostructured materials
Professor David Gawne, LSBU's research professor for Surface Engineering, is leading a team of experts from across Europe in researching the practical uses of nanotechnology and nanostructured materials in modern manufacturing and industry.

While nanotechnology has the potential to deliver substantial economic and social benefits, there has been a slow take-up of its practical application in Europe, and the project team will work with business to take the technology out of the research laboratory and into factories and industry.

Nanostructured materials are incredibly small, measuring between one to 100 nanometres. A nanometre compared to a metric metre is roughly equivalent to comparing the size of a marble to that of the earth.

The research team will focus on developing new nanomaterials for a range of different products, including organic electronics, solar cells on roof tiles, and lithium ion batteries. The three-year project will allow the better design of nanostructured materials across a number of industries but is likely to make a significant impact in the battery, solar cell and energy sectors.

The research team includes higher education institutes and business partners from eight countries: the UK, Netherlands, France, Portugal, Spain, Germany, Austria and Belgium. Work on the project is expected to start later this year.

Posted: 12th August 2010

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