Industry & Business

AMBER researcher awarded €2.5m grant

AMBER researcher awarded €2.5m grant

February 17
11:11 2016
Professor Nicolosi has been awarded €2.5million ERC Consolidator Grant to create an innovative new type of energy storage device

Professor Nicolosi has been awarded €2.5million ERC Consolidator Grant to create an innovative new type of energy storage device

An AMBER, the Science Foundation Ireland funded materials science centre, researcher, Prof. Valeria Nicolosi, has been announced as a recipient of the European Research Council’s (ERC) Consolidator Grants. The ‘ERC Consolidator Grant’ is one of the most sought-after competitive research grants in Europe and will provide Prof. Nicolosi with €2.5 million in funding over 5 years for her project “3D2DPrint”. The project focuses on creating a new type of extremely long lasting battery – one that can come in any shape or size and can be camouflaged within any type of material – whether that’s clothing, your mobile phone, your car dashboard or even implanted inside your body (e.g. for an Implanted Cardiac Device). This funding will enable her to establish a multidisciplinary research group to develop this unique class of energy storage devices. Prof. Valeria Nicolosi is Ireland’s only four-time ERC awardee, and has been awarded over €11million in funding for her research in the past 5 years at Trinity.

Imagine a family of batteries that recharge in a few minutes, that can come in any shape or size and can be disguised within any type of material – whether a piece of clothing or the hard plastic shell of a mobile device. These are revolutionary batteries that could be customised just for you and could even be implanted within your body to power a device that monitors your health – they could be hidden and integrated to the extent that you might not really know they were even there. From there, consider that these batteries won’t die after a years’ worth of repeated recharging – they could last 50 times longer than the normal battery life as they are “smart” batteries – they harvest energy from their surroundings and are actually charging themselves. These are a new type of battery that Prof. Nicolosi and her team are working to create.

The project Prof. Nicolosi and her team are working on will develop fully customisable batteries – they will be custom made and formulated for whatever specific application needed. They will be able to be used for general fitness (e.g. within a 3D Printed smart fitness watch), as well as being manufactured and fully integrated within a 3D printed Implanted Cardiac Device. These batteries will also, compared to the current Li-battery technology, be fully non-harmful and non-flammable.

The aim of this project is to develop a new energy storage technology using a unique combination of Prof. Nicolosi’s novel 2-Dimensional nanomaterials and 3D printing processes. It is hoped that this innovative approach will produce a range of energy storage devices by exploiting 3D printing to develop complex material shapes, which may offer further performance enhancement at low cost.

This grant will enable Prof. Nicolosi to employ 6 researchers (3 Senior Post Doctorates and 3 PhD candidates). This is her 4th ERC Award, she has previously received an ERC Starting and two Proof of Concepts grants worth €4.3 million in total.

Prof. Valeria Nicolosi, Professor at the School of Physics and the School of Chemistry, Trinity College Dublin and Principal Investigator at AMBER, said, “I am delighted to be awarded the European Research Council’s (ERC) Consolidator Grant. Since 2011, the first year of my ERC Starting Grant, my group has grown from 3 to 25 people. The ERC Grants I have been awarded were not only important in helping fund our research and grow our team, but to also help leverage more funding and realise partnerships with large multinationals. What is key is that these Grants allow us to take the next step with our research – whether it is the licencing of technology or starting-up a new company.”

Prof. Michael Morris, Director of AMBER, commented on the announcement, saying, “The awarding of this Consolidator Grant to Prof. Nicolosi is an excellent acknowledgement of the research work she and her team are currently undergoing. The work Prof. Nicolosi and her team are doing is at the fore front of their fields, and this grant will help them take the next step in combining the team’s expertise of advanced materials methods to integrate nanomaterials into 3D printed energy storage devices. During her time at Trinity, Prof. Nicolosi has received over €11 million in funding, including €4.3 million to date from the ERC, and now an additional €2.5 million to further her research. She is an exceptional asset to the AMBER team and this funding also reaffirms how competitive Ireland is as a place for research.”

The European Research Council awards these competitive ERC research grants to top researchers who engage in pioneering research, at the frontier of knowledge in their field.

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