Five projects will benefit from a total of €558,000 for research and innovation in the fields of energy and water, thanks to funds allocated by the Energy and Water Agency. These funds will be helping researchers focus on various sectors, including improvements in water and energy efficiency and production, as well as the integration of renewable resources into the grid.

These projects, which see the involvement of a number of Departments from the University of Malta together with the public sector, will be focusing their work on aspects of research and innovation that will eventually lead to the strengthening of the energy and water sectors. This is being done within the framework of the National Strategy for Research in the Energy and Water Sectors.

The projects that qualified for this aid were announced at a news conference by the Minister of Energy, Enterprise and Sustainable Development Miriam Dalli, the Minister for Research and Innovation Owen Bonnici and the Agency’s Chief Executive Officer Manuel Sapiano.

The selected projects will be focusing on technical and innovative aspects in various sectors, including the storage of electrical energy in batteries and other forms of storage, higher efficiency in the operation of solar panels, improvement in the taste of tap water as well as monitoring of groundwater and soil content.

The Chief Executive of the Energy and Water Agency, Manuel Sapiano explained the importance of joint work between the Academy, Industry and the Public Sector in order to develop policies that are based on research and innovation.

Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Sustainable Development, Miriam Dalli remarked that more research and innovation, especially in the fields of energy and water, needs to be incentivized especially in terms of innovative and technologically advanced solutions. To move further towards renewable energy, towards storing that energy for when we need it and towards increasing efficiency, we need innovative solutions.

Dr Dalli emphasised the importance of incentivizing solutions that reflect the realities of a small island like Malta. This is so that the nation can move towards the goal of carbon neutrality while ensuring that consumers continue to enjoy a secure supply and affordable prices.

“Through research, innovative solutions need to be developed for current and future challenges, particularly those specific to Malta. The Government is convinced that investing in research is the key to a strong and competitive industry,” said Minister Dalli. The Minister concluded by saying that together we can contribute to strengthening a sustainable economy, especially after the impact of COVID-19.

Research and Innovation Minister Owen Bonnici argued that the energy challenge in the twenty-first century requires Governments, researchers, the community and private investors to collaborate on energy planning, rather than just providing energy services.

He stated his commitment, as Minister responsible for Research and Innovation, to provide all assistance for the public to reap the benefits of research. “To meet the EU’s targets, energy efficiency must be increased. These projects are all an effective way of achieving these goals,” said Dr Bonnici.

The winning projects are:

ESTELLE which will focus on technical and economic aspects in the use of batteries for the storage of electrical energy, as well as in other forms of storage. This is important in a context of an increasing share of electricity coming from renewable sources.

IPCoSy which will develop an innovative system to enable solar panels to operate at lower temperatures and thus improve the efficiency and level of renewable energy generation.

PURILMA which involves research to identify innovative water purification technologies to improve both the taste and smell of tap water provided by Water Services Corporation.

WetSoil will operate a system for measuring and monitoring water content in soil.

SIGMA which is expected to develop an innovative groundwater monitoring system based on data collected by the Malta Seismic Network.

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