The RADICAL team are thrilled to be featured on the University College Cork (UCC)’s Green Campus podcast, featuring an insightful conversation with our coordinator Justin Holmes, Professor of Nanochemistry at the School of Chemistry in UCC.
This episode delves into Professor Holmes’ remarkable career in chemistry and explores the two groundbreaking EU-funded projects that he currently leads: RADICAL and TRANSLATE.
Professor Holmes begins by shedding light on his significant contributions and early career in chemistry, setting the stage for an engaging discussion. The focus then shifts to the RADICAL project, a cutting-edge research endeavour to develop a novel electronic sensor for detecting atmospheric radicals and other gas pollutants. With collaboration at its core, Professor Holmes highlights both the challenges encountered, and the progress achieved in creating a prototype sensor.
“Air pollution is a major concern for us all,” says Professor Holmes on the podcast, “and there’s these reactive species called radicals with a loose electron that can oxidise and clean the atmosphere (which is a good thing), but at high concentrations they can also create secondary organic particles and other pollutants. But it’s very difficult to detect radicals – only a few labs in the world can do this.”
“We’re creating really small devices that can be deployed world-wide to detect atmospheric radicals. But the concentration of radicals in the air is parts per billion or parts per trillion, and they have very short lifetimes. So actually, detecting them is a challenge. We’ve been working on this project for 2.5 years now and we’re getting good results. But along the way, we’re also learning a lot and we’re able to develop the platform in such a way that it can detect other key pollutants and greenhouse gases such as nitrogen dioxide and ammonia.”
In the final segment of the podcast, Professor Holmes introduces his other EU-project TRANSLATE, which is developing a nanomaterials device to convert waste heat into electricity, and he emphasises the vital role that these innovative projects can play in reaching our energy targets for 2030 and 2050. By harnessing the power of new technologies, projects like RADICAL and TRANSLATE can help pave the way for a more sustainable and energy-efficient future.