Energy Institute academic with Impact in Water Conservation

January 2023

Congratulations to Dr. Sarah Cotterill who has been recognised by the University for her impactful research in the 2022 UCD Research Impact Case Study Competition

In recent years, Ireland has experienced water supply shortages, and they are forecast to become more frequent. To address this, Dr Sarah Cotterill’s research explored how Ireland can conserve water, and the benefits of doing so. Based on her findings, Dr Cotterill produced a policy brief for An Fóram Uisce (the Water Forum) including ten clear recommendations – around technology, regulation and education – on how domestic water conservation measures could be implemented in Ireland.

Through a programme of outreach, including policy workshops and media appearances, Dr Cotterill is working to ensure these recommendations are translated into policy, so that we can save water and protect the environment.

e scooters

Zipp Mobility and UCD Energy Institute Conclude Research Partnership

Dublin, Ireland, 16 December 2022

Zipp Mobility (Zipp), the Irish micro-mobility operator headquartered at NovaUCD, and the UCD Energy Institute, today announced the successful conclusion of a collaborative research partnership focused on e-scooter safety.

The partnership explored the development and prototyping of ‘Firefly’, a smart lighting system to enhance e-scooter safety in urban environments.

Working in the UCD Energy Institute’s IELab, researchers from the UCD School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering explored the development and prototyped ‘Firefly’, a smart lighting system to enhance e-scooter safety in urban environments.

The ‘Firefly’ smart lighting system includes the following safety features:

  • The projection of red laser ‘rails’ to either side of the e-scooter to visually reserve road space for this micro-mobility vehicle
  • Automatic sensing and warning of road traffic approaching the rider from behind
  • Real-time adaptation of the headlight brightness and angle based on the speed of the scooter and the prevailing ambient lighting conditions.

This system was designed and built by Derek Sequeira, a graduate of the UCD ME programme in Electronic and Computer Engineering, under the supervision of Dr Paul Cuffe, an Assistant Professor in the UCD School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering and a member of UCD Energy Institute.

Since its establishment in 2019, Zipp has become a significant player in the European e-scooter and e-bike sharing market with operations in the UK, Poland and Ireland.

Watch the Firefly video via

Dr Paul Cuffe, UCD School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering and UCD Energy Institute said, “I am delighted with what we have achieved in this collaboration. It’s been a very enjoyable exercise in practical engineering, working alongside one of our top-class graduates, Derek Sequeira, to design and build a smart lighting system that enhances both the safety and usability of a rental e-scooter. Smart accessory technologies can help e-scooter rental schemes to deliver a safe and sustainable public transport option for urban communities.

Charlie Gleeson, CEO and founder, of  Zipp Mobility, said, “We are delighted to have partnered with the UCD Energy Institute on this research collaboration.  Zipp’s mission is ‘mobility done right’ and having world-class technology that prioritises safety is a cornerstone of our approach. This partnership reaffirms our commitment to safety and our commitment to R&D activities in Ireland.”

Professor Andrew Keane, Director, of UCD Energy Institute said, “Choice around low carbon modes of transport will play a big role in reducing emissions from energy use. This collaboration with Zipp strongly aligns with the UCD Energy Institute’s strategy to deliver research supporting a net zero energy system in 2050, with transport being an area of increasing focus.”

This project was supported with funding from Enterprise Ireland through the innovation vouchers scheme, and Zipp Mobility.

ENDS 16 December 2022

For further information

Contact Micéal Whelan, Communications and Media Relations Manager, NovaUCD, UCD Research and Innovation, e:

More Information

Zipp Mobility is Ireland’s leading micro-mobility provider bringing a more sustainable micro-mobility sharing model to cities in the UK, Ireland and further afield.

At NovaUCD, the hub for new ventures and entrepreneurs at University College Dublin, we nurture and support new high-tech companies, such as Zipp Mobility, as part of UCD’s mission.

At NovaUCD we provide purpose-built, state-of-the-art incubation facilities alongside a comprehensive business support programme for client companies. NovaUCD has been funded through a unique public-private partnership that includes AIB Bank, Arthur Cox, Deloitte, Enterprise Ireland, Ericsson, Goodbody Stockbrokers, UCD and Xilinx.

Helping Ireland transition to a renewables-led economy

EmPOWer research

EmPOWer research featured for Helping Ireland transition to a renewables-led economy

Many of our most pressing global challenges – like climate change, pollution, fuel shortages and cost-of-living crises – are intrinsically linked with how we generate, distribute and use energy. To meet these challenges, Ireland must continue its progress toward becoming a renewables-led economy.

UCD Energy Institute’s EMPowER project is conducting economic and technical modelling to help accelerate this transition. Through their research, the team are advising Government on the different factors that affect consumer uptake of new technologies, like heat pumps, electric vehicles and rooftop solar panels; the impact that these technologies will have on the grid; and Ireland’s ability to generate energy with higher shares of renewables. This directly informs Government strategy and targets, meaning decisions around climate action will be more effective and cost-efficient.


2022 NovaUCD Group Business –

Energy Institute academics win two 2022 Nova UCD awards

31 March 2022

Dr Sarah Cotterill and Professor Andrew Keane win the 2022 NovaUCD Innovation awards

Congratulations to Dr. Sarah Cotterill and Professor Andrew Keane who won Nova UCD’s 2022 Consultancy of the Year Award and  Licence of the Year Award respectively

Dr. Sarah Cotterill’s Innovation Award recognized a key finding in her consultancy study ‘A Framework for Improving Domestic Water Conservation in Ireland’. Dr. Cotterill’s finding that a relatively small reduction in household water use in all homes in Ireland, could lead to a significant reduction of greenhouse gas emissions a year.  Dr. Cotterill is an Assistant Professor at the UCD School of Civil Engineering and UCD Dooge Centre for Water Resources Research and is a Funded Investigator in the NexSys Strategic Partnership Programme.

Professor Andrew Keane received the 2022 NovaUCD Innovation Award for his and his team’s achievements in developing the patented grid edge intelligence software technology, which automates and removes inefficiencies in renewable generators and electrical grid operations. Professor Keane is the Director of the NexSys Strategic Partnership Programme and UCD Energy Institute

Useful Resources:

NexSys (Next Generation Energy Systems): An all-island, multidisciplinary energy research programme defining pathways to a Net-Zero energy system. 

UCD Energy Institute: Facilitates collaboration between academia and industry for a Net Zero Carbon Future. 

Nova UCD: The hub of innovation-related activities at University College Dublin. 

2022 Nova UCD awards:


Can Ireland warm homes and cook dinners with hydrogen?

UCD Energy Institute has launched a new research project to investigate the potential use of hydrogen in Irish homes. Led by Gas Networks Ireland’s Head of Technical Development and Technical Training, Liam Nolan, Dr. Ali Ekhtiari, and Dr. Eoin Syron from UCDEI.

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UCD Sustainable Energy Community

UCD Sustainable Energy Community

SEAI Sustainable Energy Community (SEC)

The Energy Institute is in the early stages of forming a sustainable energy community (SEC) across the UCD campus.  UCD is the largest third level campus community in Ireland with approximately 3,000 staff and 33,724 students. With support from the Energy Unit in UCD Estates, we are in the process of forming a steering committee made up of representatives from 8 schools and institutes.

The main aims of the SEC are;

  • Developing skills and capacity, at a community level, in electing how to use less energy,
  • Adopting lower carbon options for transport and heating,
  • Shifting energy use to off-peak times
  • Investing in smart technologies and renewable energies
  • Reducing the carbon footprint of the community
  • Increase energy awareness via community engagement programs
  • Maximising the opportunities for successful collaborations in energy community initiatives

For more information please contact us at