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€150,000 awarded to AMBER researcher to develop new thermal management technologies

27 July 2016

Prof. Valeria Nicolosi from AMBER, the Science Foundation Ireland funded materials science centre, hosted in Trinity College Dublin, has been announced as a recipient of the European Research Council’s (ERC) Proof of Concept Grants, worth €150,000. This is a top-up for her ERC Starting Grant of €1.5m awarded in 2011 and brings her total research funding awarded in the past 5 years, to over €12million. Prof. Valeria Nicolosi is Ireland’s only five-time ERC awardee.

The award will be used to explore the commercial use of advanced nanomaterials to act as solutions for heat dissipation for the high-end automotive industry.

Proof of Concept grants are awarded to ERC grant holders only as top-up funding to explore the commercial or innovation potential of the results of their ERC-funded research. Prof Nicolosi, Investigator with AMBER and Trinity’s School of Chemistry was awarded an ERC Starting Grant of €1.5M in 2011 for her work in processing and characterising nanomaterials for the development of novel energy storage devices. As a result of this Starting Grant, she began collaborating with a company in the automotive industry to explore the use of novel 2-dimensional nanomaterials to solve heat dissipation issues. Her technology was successful and the aim of this proposal is to determine the economic and technical feasibility of using readily scalable technologies for the development of inexpensive and high performance solutions to solve heat dissipation for a wide range of technologies.

Prof. Valeria Nicolosi, Professor at the School of Chemistry, Trinity College Dublin and Principal Investigator at AMBER, said, “I am delighted to be awarded this 3rd ERC Proof of Concept Grant which will allow me to build on the success of my technology developed from my Starting Grant. What is exciting about this work is that in addition to the automotive industry, there are a huge range of industrial applications that can benefit from more efficient and lightweight thermal management systems such as advanced aircraft, injection moulding, pharmaceutical manufacturing and household appliances. This technology has the potential to become a feasible, easy and efficient solution for a range of manufacturing companies. This grant is allowing me to take the next step with the technology to really see it applied in industry”.

Considerable industrial effort is currently focussing on finding alternative materials to act as thermal conductive elements and heat spreaders in an efficient and cost effective way. Manufacturers need these technologies to regulate the large amounts of unwanted heat caused by the normal functioning of electronic systems. It is estimated that the global market for thermal management products will grow from about $10.7 billion in 2015 to $14.7 billion by 20211. Prof Nicolosi’s technology will offer a cheap, scalable solution of using advanced 2D nanomaterials for enhanced heat transport. 2D nanomaterials improve heat transport due to their thermal conductivity properties and at the same time provide a lightweight solution. Moreover, the technology offers the advantage of being extremely versatile; 2D nanomaterial dispersions can be sprayed on their own directly onto surfaces or they can be mixed with different materials to obtain additional enhanced resistance to wear, abrasion and oxidation. This will allow manufacturers to improve the performance of existing systems, as well as improve the performance of new designs.

Prof. Michael Morris, Director of AMBER, commented on the announcement, saying, “The awarding of this Proof of Concept Grant to Prof. Nicolosi is an excellent acknowledgement of the research work she and her team are currently undergoing. She is at the forefront in 2D nanomaterials research and her work will bring economic and societal benefits to Ireland in developing more efficient ways to deal with energy consumption. During her time at Trinity, Prof. Nicolosi has received over €12 million in funding, including €6.8 million to date from the ERC, and now an additional €150,000 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 budget of the overall ERC 2016 Proof of Concept competition is €20 million. In the first round of the competition 141 ERC grant holders applied and 44 received funding.

1. http://www.bccresearch.com/market-research/semiconductor-manufacturing/the-market-for-thermal-management-technologies-report-smc024k.html

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