Queen's Research 'Most Important Of 21st Century'

Research by Queen's University scientists which could produce non-polluting alternatives to conventional solvents has been named the 'most important British innovation of the 21st Century'.

The work of staff in the Queen's University Ionic Liquid Laboratories (QUILL) Research Centre won the vote, which was part of the Science Museum’s Initiative on Great British past and future Innovations.

The team of nearly 100 scientists at Queen's are exploring the potential of ionic liquids, known as 'super solvents'.

They are salts that remain liquid at room temperature and do not form vapours, meaning they could be used as environmentally friendly solvents.

Professor Ken Seddon, Co-Director of QUILL, said: "We are delighted to win as this shines a very public spotlight on how a team of chemists can dramatically improve the quality of the environment for everyone. Being named the most important British innovation of the 21st Century is recognition of the high calibre of research being undertaken at QUILL and throughout the University."

Professor Jim Swindall, Co-Director of QUILL at Queen’s, said: "This is fantastic news for QUILL and for the University. This vote confirms that Queen’s work on ionic liquid chemistry will eventually have a bearing on most of our lives."

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster said: "I congratulate Queen’s University on winning this most prestigious of accolades. It is a great achievement for Professors Ken Sedden and Jim Swindall and the entire team at QUILL and it is a great day for Northern Ireland science. This recognition underlines the strength of research being undertaken by Queen’s and the impact this research has on the chemical and environmental industry around the world."

Robin Swann, Chairman of the Northern Ireland Assembly’s Committee for Employment and Learning said: "The result of this public vote is terrific news for Northern Ireland as it demonstrates the importance of the research being undertaken at Queen’s. The fact that global energy giant Petronas is already using the technology in its plants demonstrates the value and global impact of the research at the University and I congratulate Queen’s on this significant achievement."


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