€3m prize for EU clean air sollution

The latest research and innovation contest is open to any individual within the EU

€3m prize for EU clean air sollution

Contrary to popular belief...

With air pollution rapidly becoming a global problem, the EU is offering a €3m cash prize to the person or team who develops the best materials solution to clean up the air.

The challenge set for this €3 million prize is to develop an innovative and well-designed material solution that will reduce the air concentration of particulate matter (PM), an air pollutant that has a severe impact on health.

According to the European Commission, 482,000 premature deaths across Europe in 2012 were caused by exposure to outdoor air pollution.

Around 90% of people in European cities are exposed to levels exceeding World Health Organisation (WHO) air quality guidelines levels. Ireland recently experienced high levels of air pollution earlier this month.

In an attempt to battle this, the latest EU research and innovation prize is being provided for materials for clean air.

Aimed to improve air quality in cities and reduce health risks posed by particulate matter, the contest "will be open to any single person and legal entity or group of legal entities established in EU Member States", and you can apply from now until 23 January 2018.

Average life expectancy in the European Union is estimated to be 8.6 months lower due to exposure to particulate matter, and the inhalation of particulate matter can lead to asthma, lung cancer, cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, birth defects, and premature death.

In addition to its impact on human health, particulate matter can also have adverse effects on climate change and ecosystems.

The solution to reduce particulate matter in the air can be made from any chemical substance, such as plastic or asphalt, that is capable of reducing PM. The solution must be presented as a working prototype, and be sustainable, affordable, and innovative.

Ireland currently has several strategies, such as the smokey coal ban, to reduce air pollution in accordance with the EU Clean Air for Europe Directive, which will require Ireland to lower its average PM2.5 levels by 10 per cent by 2020, although EPA Director General Laura Burke said that:

“The EPA’s most recent greenhouse gas emission projections published in March this year, projected that Ireland would not meet its 2020 target".

For more information on contest guidelines and to find out how to enter see here.