More than 30pc of the world’s energy is used on commodity purification alone, but crystal engineering could change that.

At Bernal Institute in University of Limerick, Prof Michael Zaworotko and his team are working on making new materials for pharmaceuticals.

“The purpose of the research is not to make a new molecule,” he said. “It’s to make a new material from existing molecules.”

Zaworotko, who was recently appointed co-director of the Synthesis and Solid State Pharmaceutical Centre, said his team’s work is aimed at the crystal engineering of new materials that can provide a much lower energy cost.

“More than 30pc of the world’s energy is not used just for transportation, but there’s another 30pc used for commodity purification.”

Words by Jenny Darmody