Better managing energy and water resources along with development of water treatment technologies with low environmental impact and energy consumption has become more essential than ever due to water-energy nexus and growing environmental issues. This is mainly performed by using Reverse Osmosis (RO) technologies. However, RO presents number of environmental drawbacks such as effluents produced associated to the chemical regeneration of membranes. There is a strong necessity of secure and sustainable water supply, thus green technologies for water treatment are needed to safeguard the interests of a sensible use of water resources, to remain in strengthening environmental equilibrium as well as in the economic prosperity. Moreover, "Climate action, environment, resource efficiency and raw materials Challenge" in Horizon 2020 presents as one of its aims: positioning Europe as a global market leader in water-related innovative solutions. This project will revamp the Desalination Battery (DB) technology, the original and innovative aspects of the proposal lies in taking up the challenge to shift the knowledge frontier and develop a Cl- capturing electrode. Thus, the aim of this project is to develop a full concept for the next-generation DB, addressing the issue of new materials for anion capturing and cell design, which gives lower energy losses and more flexible operation. In order to do so, development of flexible and anionic electrode materials will be investigated, as well as the impact of operation variables on desalination degree and on energy consumption in dependence of the cell design. The multidisciplinary nature of the project is strong, involving a combination of electrode materials development, electrochemistry and engineering (scaling-up, cell and module design). This project is in line with the EU strategy for the sustainable development of water resources and desalination.
The innovative concept of the ERC Starting Grant project “Keratinocytes and Matrix metalloproteinases: driving force of skin wound contraction?” was to use inhalants for skin wounds and it proved to be excellent and functional. Surface Modulation of Wounds (SUMOWO) with these anti-inflammatory, pro-migratory and anti-fibrotic compounds will be beneficial for chronic wound healing and reduce excessive scarring. This novel drug-based treatment strategy marks a novel era of wound care. A clinical phase 1 study on healthy volunteers is planned to show the product’s safety and tolerability for skin use – the first step towards clinical application. The goal of SUMOWO is to deliver clinical proof of concept, to provide a thorough market analysis with contact to key-players, to secure our intellectual property rights on an international platform, to accelerate commercial exploitation and ultimately, to restore patients’ life quality.
There is an urgent need for an agricultural revolution to generate climate-smart cultivars, which combine proven qualities with novel traits that adapt crop plants to extremes, including severe heat and drought periods. Novel breeding technologies can make the difference to enable farmers to achieve high yields with resilient crops and thus secure the nutrition for the world population. In the framework of the ERC Consolidator Grant "Building and bypassing polyspermy barriers" we have discovered that plant egg cells can fuse with two sperm to give rise to offspring with three instead of two parents, one mother and two fathers. Our unprecedented result is a game changer in the field of plant reproduction. It can lead to a new plant breeding strategy with economic benefits expected to positively affect the social welfare of farmers as well as upstream and downstream industries related to the agricultural value chain. Three-parent crosses can transform plant breeding at different levels: First, the inheritance of genetic material from three rather than two parents allows to instantly combine beneficial traits of three cultivars thereby tremendously speeding up breeding processes. Second, three-parent crosses bypass a hybridization barrier (2), which constitutes a major limitation for regular plant breeding approaches. Third, three-parent crosses can be used to increase the number of chromosomes, a process referred to as polyploidization. Natural or technically-induced polyploidizations constitute a major factor for yield increase. The translation of three-parent crosses from the model plant Arabidopsis to crop plants using sugar beet as an experimental prototype at the premises of a breeder, and the transfer of this new breeding technology into commercial exploitation are two goals of the project TriVolve.
Optical metrology is driving our society forward and has strong impacts on manufacturing, mobility, medicine and fundamental science. This is highlighted by the SI revision in 2019 and the Nobel Prize winning microscopy with visible light in the nanometre range in 2014. Optical techniques allow fast and precise geometry measurements, but only if sufficient light energy is reflected from the object’s surface to the photo detection unit. For this reason, specific measurement approaches for each surface type had to be developed such as deflectometry for highly reflective surfaces. To provide one single measurement approach applicable to any surface and with the potential of sub-micrometre resolution, InOGeM will initiate a paradigm shift: instead of measuring the object’s surface, the geometry of the surrounding gas is measured. The surrounding gas is detected optically by using tiny, well-controlled, fluorescent particles or molecules, a confocal microscope and a model-based signal processing, which enables sub-micrometre resolution. This will break new grounds for assessing additively manufactured parts and lightweight components made of fibre-reinforced composites, because the indirect measurement is less sensitive regarding the varying optical properties of the measurement object’s surface and material. Furthermore, indirect optical geometry measurements are possible at strongly curved or translucent objects even through a limited access, which is currently considered impossible. Such challenging conditions occur e.g. for gears and additively manufactured parts, so that InOGeM has a large potential for low-noise gears (e-mobility) and fuel cells (hydrogen). As a result, fast geometry measurements with a today unachievable precision below classical limits are achieved in the nanometre range for a wide range of applications. By developing the framework of a new class of measuring instruments, InOGeM takes the field of optical geometry measurements to the next level.