An investment of €200,000 by the Malta Council for Science and Technology (MCST) has been cited as crucial for the creation of a collaborative project between local company New Energy Limited and two young engineers from the University of Malta.
This collaboration brought about the development of a new product for the local and international markets in the sphere of accessories for electronic products. In the meantime, further studies are being carried out to explore the possibility of this product being used for the transportation of COVID-19 vaccines.
The new project, ICECAP (Thermoelectric Cooler for ELectronic Applications), seeking to manufacture its product with the aim of local and international commercialization, is a cooling system for electronic products such as cameras, which are small enough to be carried around easily.
Originally it was developed to cool image sensors and processors, and eventually, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the research team realised that the same technology can be used in the medical sphere to keep vaccine vials cool during transportation. Now, the researchers are working on developing their product further for this aim.
Minister Owen Bonnici visited the New Energy Limited factory as part of the Government’s ‘strengthening workers’ campaign, where the research team revealed an early model of the product aimed to aid in the transportation of COVID-19 vaccines. This model was designed for medical workers to use in remote places. Work on this product started in September and its development is still in the early stages. The first prototypes are being designed now and testing on this product is expected to commence this summer.
Dr Bonnici met the team of engineers who showed him the latest developments in their ICECAP project, explaining how they managed to find an innovative way to make their system smaller while increasing its efficiency to the point of reaching colder temperatures.
“During the pandemic, the Government intervened to protect workplaces in such a way that today Malta is one of only 3 countries in the EU that saw an increase in employment rather than a decline. At the same time, the government kept sustaining such projects, investing in the future and the creation of new solutions that can eventually be commercialized,” Minister Bonnici said during his visit.
Dr Bonnici also met with the management and employees of New Energy Limited, and, whilst thanking them for their work, he commended their efforts in research and innovation.
In recent years, New Energy Limited designed and developed the product BLUESHAPE which mainly consists of chargers and other accessories that can be mounted on cameras and innovative systems of software for the monitoring and testing of batteries, chargers and other accessories related to cinematic production. Today, BLUESHAPE is one of the best-known brands in the sector worldwide.
Minister Bonnici was accompanied by the company’s General Manager Melchior Busuttil and Engineers Andre Micallef and Alec Fenech, all of whom praised the collaboration between the public and private sectors and the valuable work of MCST.