Mayo’s Eco-Mova nets €648,000 for sustainable transport research

4 Mar 2022

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Eco-Mova will lead a three-year research project with UCD and SFI’s I-Form centre to develop an environmentally friendly way for EVs to tow trailers.

Mayo-based transport equipment start-up Eco-Mova has been awarded €648,000 in Government funding to lead an industrial research project.

It is looking to develop environmentally friendly road trailers for electric cars and vans.

The funding is being awarded to the company through the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI). It is part of a wider €19.8m funding programme supporting 49 new Irish energy research projects.

The scheme will see academic institutes, industry partners and non-profits tackle key areas in the national effort to transition to a low-carbon society.

Eco-Mova will lead a three-year project, working with researchers from University College Dublin (UCD) and I-Form, the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) research centre for advanced manufacturing.

“We aim to speed up the practical adoption of electric vehicles for moving larger loads with zero emissions, without increasing costs,” said Rory Staunton, founder of Eco-Mova.

“Commercial and recreational buyers of trailers need to lower emissions when they move large goods on the road. Most electric vehicles today have range limitations and cannot tow trailers. Eco-Mova can fix that.”

The start-up will work with I-Form’s Prof Alojz Ivankovic, as well as Dr Neal Murphy and Dr Malachy O’Rourke from the UCD School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering.

Ivankovic said that the collaboration with Eco-Mova “will include undergraduate, postgraduate and post-doctoral researchers based in both Dublin and Mayo”.

The combined team will extend Eco-Mova’s existing research to look at new structural composites and energy systems that will lower carbon emissions from vehicles that tow trailers.

Eco-Mova plans to start initial production next year. It then expects to expand its portfolio over the following four years, during which time it may create up to 55 jobs in Co Mayo.

Mike Feeney, a business advisor based in Dublin supporting Eco-Mova, said the funding would enable the start-up and researchers to develop a range of environmentally friendly products, and “attract further investment to expand the business internationally and recruit high quality environmental engineering staff in Mayo”.

Eco-Mova’s COO, Joe Casey, said the priority is to combine the company’s market research, experience and engineering with “the extensive expertise” of researchers at UCD.

“We plan to recruit the best people, expand our premises, turn prototypes into production, and establish local supply chains around Mayo and across Ireland, rather than importing materials and components,” Casey added.

The 2021 SEAI National Energy Research, Development and Demonstration call involved co-funding partnerships with the Department of Transport and Geological Survey Ireland. There was a significant increase in national demand for energy research funding in 2021, with 56pc more applications compared to the previous call in 2019.

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Blathnaid O’Dea is Careers reporter at Silicon Republic