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July 27, 2018
ICMAB and ICN2 work on the batteries of the future
The challenge to increase the share of green electricity in the energy mix depends on materials science: more efficient photovoltaic cells and more powerful wind turbines to produce more or higher density batteries to store better are some of the challenges that need physics and chemistry to invent and develop the required materials.

In that way, two prospective and promising research results in the field of batteries have been recently published by two top level materials science labs both located in the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) campus, our neighbor and partner: the Institute of Materials Science of Barcelona (ICMAB) and the Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (ICN2).

In ICMAB, for the first time, calcium has been electrochemically extracted from a metal oxide in a partially reversible way. According to the researchers, this is a huge step towards the development of rechargeable calcium batteries, a more economical (and with more energy density) alternative than the current most common Li-ion batteries. The study, published in Dalton Transactions, was carried out in collaboration with Toyota Motor Europe, which shares the patent.

In ICN2, researchers that explore conceptual frontiers in the field of electricity storage have developed what they consider a first step and proof of concept of the possible application of electroactive nanofluid electrodes in alternative flow batteries. This work will be released in Electrochimica Acta next August.

ICMAB: http://icmab.es/new-boost-to-future-calcium-batteries
ICN2: https://icn2.cat/en/novel-energy-oriented-materials-group?publications
July 20, 2018
Molecular mimicry does not mislead ALBA!
Many intracellular pathogens use molecular mimicry to ensure their survival. A part of a protein of the pathogen resembles another protein totally different from the host and many intracellular microorganisms use this capability to interfere in cellular processes that enable their survival and replication.

Researchers from the CIC bioGUNE in the Basque Country in collaboration with other groups from the United States have carried out experiments at the XALOC beamline of the ALBA Synchrotron and I04 beamline of Diamond Light Source (UK). The results enabled scientists to solve the structure of RavN, a protein of the Legionella pneumophila bacteria that uses this molecular mimicry to trick the infected cell.

Researchers have showed that the structure of RavN has a certain structural similarity with E3 eukaryotes (a set of enzymes) despite its different composition. This result allows making progress in the understanding of the molecular mechanisms active in Legionnaires' disease that can transform into pneumonia and kill infected people.
 
Article: Yi-Han Lin et al. in PLOS Pathogen
July 13, 2018
How about olive pits to filter the air?!
The Ideas Generation Program carried out by PRUAB, the UAB university research park, is sponsored by the Barcelona Synchrotron Park (BSP). It is based on the collection of technological challenges that are submitted to the scientific community in order to try to find solutions through an ideas competition.
 
The 8th program is an initiative from the Catalan Ministry for Territory and Sustainability in order to get proposals in the field of circular economy. Best ideas were awarded last week.
 
First prize (2,500 € and 6 months of incubation at PRUAB) was for the Greene3D project. Laura López Mir, PhD from the Barcelona Institute of Materials Science (ICMAB) and Beatriz Espinosa Aquino, PhD researcher at the Institute of Environmental and Science Technology (ICTA) (both institutes are located on the UAB campus), propose the development of new sustainable materials for 3D printing based on a mixture of bioplastics and olives pits, an abundant organic waste in Spain. Among other potential applications of this 3D-printable material, both entrepreneurs point out air filters or light elements with acoustic and thermal insulation properties.
 
Second prize (1,500 € and 6 months of incubation at PRUAB) was for the Cerclab project leaded by Marta Santamaría, researcher at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC), and Gerardo Ezequiel and Erica Volpini, founders and partners of Semilla. This is a 4.0 laboratory that aims to take advantage of recycled plastic to create new valuable products. From a perspective of social and collaborative innovation, Cerclab includes a physical space for the recovery and transformation of recycled plastic from packaging waste. 
The project also includes an open innovation web platform to offer social and technological innovation courses, and foster collaborations and synergies among users by promoting the socio-occupational integration of people in risk of exclusion. 
 
Congratulations!
 
July 05, 2018
Biogas injected into the natural gas grid
Parc de l’Alba, which business area is known as Barcelona Synchrotron Park – also includes a future residential neighborhood and different green areas (half of the total surface of the park) with an iconic 1km-wide biologic corridor.

Between 2007 and 2011, an excavation made in one of these green plots as the result of an antic clay extraction activity was used to store waste bales from the Barcelona Metropolitan Area. Since the landfill has been closed, the biogas produced by the decomposition of bales organic material is extracted and burned in order to prevent the emission into the atmosphere.

To take advantage of the methane present in this biogas at a significant 60% concentration, Gas Natural Fenosa Spanish energy company (recently renamed Naturgy), is carrying out a project pioneer in Spain: setting up both an upgrading plant to filter methane and an injection plant to introduce this biomethane into the natural gas grid.

In order to make this project a reality, Cerdanyola del Vallès municipal authorities, on which Parc de l’Alba depends, has recently conceded a plot to Naturgy to build and operate the two plants scheduled to start operating early next year.

 
June 29, 2018
SENER celebrates 25 years in Catalonia
SENER has been fully operational in Catalonia since it first opened its headquarters 25 years ago in 1993. Since then, SENER's presence in Catalonia has grown in terms of personnel (currently, more than 300 people), expertise and projects.

In 2014, due to this growth, SENER moved to a new building the company decided to build in the Barcelona Synchrotron Park.

These new headquarters (see image) were designed by SENER’s own architects. The building is an eco-technological construction featuring high-spec rooms (laboratories, cleanrooms and Integration rooms). The building itself has been designed to save energy and has been granted a Category A Certificate by the Regional Government of Catalonia's Catalan Energy Institute (based on the Energy Certification Scale for Buildings). It also has a Green Certificate issued by Spain's Green Building Council. 

Some of SENER's projects in Catalonia are: components and manufacturing systems for Airbus A350XWB, Airbus A400M and Boeing 787 aircrafts; regasification plants at Gate terminal (The Netherlands) and in Dunkirk (France); the Figueras-Perpignan (Spain-France) high-speed cross-border railway line; the Toluca – Mexico City passenger train;  metro systems in Guadalajara (Mexico), Bogotá (Colombia), Panama City (Panama), Algiers and Oran (Algeria), and light metro rail systems in Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates), Lusail (Qatar) and Kaohsiung (Taiwan); and San Antonio Port in Santiago, Chile; the system used to research how ingravity affects muscles, MARES (Muscle Atrophy Research and Exercise System), which is located on the International Space Station, and components for VLT GRAAL and ELT telescopes; participation in the Solar Orbiter satellite project; and ship design using the FORAN System. 

Congratulations, SENER!
 
June 21, 2018
Barcelona Synchrotron Park’s Commitment to Natural Capital
According to a French-German study, the economic contribution of pollinating insects to main global crops was estimated to € 153 billion in 2005, an amount corresponding to 9.5% of the global food production value.

This example illustrates the concept of natural capital: the economic value of the services offered for free by nature has to be taken into consideration in order to properly evaluate any economic activity. Natural capital would have to be considered in the same way as human capital and production capital.

Last week, Barcelona Synchrotron Park attended the II Natural Capital Summit that pretends to be the most important Spanish-speaking event organized on Natural Capital and its preservation that includes protecting biodiversity.

In this field, Barcelona Synchrotron Park, awarded by the EU Business & Biodiversity label, has already carried out different actions: permeability of road infrastructures, creation of shelters to promote birds and other fauna to control pests, naturalised drainage systems (green ditches) or agreements with farmers to promote biodiversity-suited dry croplands in the green corridor and on undeveloped plots.

The BSP’s global action program designed to enhance its green infrastructure and support biodiversity can be downloaded here.
 
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