Research that takes a smarter approach to sustainability
We know we need to live more sustainably, in order to protect our environment and the life it supports. But how? Whether it’s making more from what we have, taking the heat out of energy-intensive processes or supporting better ways to reduce climate-damaging emissions, Science Foundation Ireland is supporting research for a better way of doing things.
One of the most obvious places to tackle sustainability in our day-to-day lives is food. Producing, packaging, transporting and storing food requires energy, and it is in everyone’s best interest that food is not wasted. The Leaf No Waste project led by Technological University Dublin researchers is seeking to improve packaging for leafy greens, to reduce the industry’s reliance on plastic packaging while also keeping those delicate and nutritious leaves fresh, consumable and away from the waste bin.
The Grain4Labs project led by Dublin City University also has plastic and waste in its sights, this time for laboratories. The innovative researchers are using waste products generated in the brewing industry to build plastic equipment for lab use, creating a more sustainable resource for research.
Another project that is making more of what we have around us is Beyond Biofuel. The research, led by Trinity College Dublin, is exploring the best ways to grow and harvest seaweed to yield high value products such as ingredients for food, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals.
We also need to get smart about the energy that drives our online lives and work. A project led by Trinity College Dublin is looking at ways to capture heat generated by data centres as they process information in the cloud, and putting that energy to use sustainably.
And from online data to terra firma, the Terrain AI project led by Maynooth University, is taking a big-picture approach to understanding the geography of where greenhouse gas emissions are generated by human activity, and how we can best measure them to manage them.