A Breakthrough in Solar Power with Chromium

Solar Power with Chromium

Harnessing Solar Power with Chromium

In the dynamic realm of sustainable energy, here at AOCA we are always on the lookout for game-changing innovations that continue to shape our trajectory towards a greener future. A breakthrough discovery in solar panel technology, centered around the utilisation of chromium, a commonplace metal, has the potential to revolutionise solar energy’s efficiency and accessibility. This transformative advancement comes as a significant leap toward achieving global sustainability goals.

The Potential Power of Chromium

Recent research, as reported by The Independent and Engineers Ireland, has unveiled a groundbreaking development in solar panel technology. Scientists and Engineers have unlocked a pioneering method to generate solar power using chromium, a widely abundant metal. This breakthrough offers a promising alternative to conventional solar panels, often reliant on rarer and costlier materials.

The Independent’s article, titled “Solar Panel Breakthrough: New Metal Discovered to Generate Electricity from Sunlight,” provides a deep dive into the research that led to this pivotal finding. The research taps into a unique characteristic of chromium, enabling more efficient sunlight capture and conversion into usable electricity. This innovation holds the potential to democratise solar energy accessibility and affordability, catalysing its integration across various sectors.

An Engineering Marvel

In the Engineers Journal article titled “Researchers Come Up with Way to Create Solar Power from Common Chromium,” the engineering principles underpinning this breakthrough take center stage. The research dissects how chromium’s inherent properties can be harnessed to create a new generation of solar panels that are not only economically viable but also ecologically sustainable. By reducing reliance on scarce materials and instead leveraging abundant chromium, the pathway toward scalable solar energy adoption becomes clearer. The implications of this discovery are far-reaching. The shift toward a readily available and sustainable material like chromium has the potential to transform solar energy from a niche solution to a mainstream one. This innovation aligns seamlessly with global initiatives to mitigate climate change and transition to renewable energy sources. With every new stride in the renewable energy sector, we inch closer to a planet powered by sustainable practices.

Innovation is the linchpin of progress, and the solar energy domain is emblematic of this truth. The pioneering revelation of harnessing solar power from commonplace chromium exemplifies humanity’s resourcefulness in pursuit of sustainable energy solutions. As we navigate a future with evolving energy needs, collaborative efforts among researchers, Engineers, and visionaries will illuminate a path toward a cleaner, brighter, and more sustainable world.

Zero Emission Concrete on the Horizon as Industry Standard

In the ever-evolving landscape of Construction and Engineering, sustainability has become an imperative driving force. Amidst this dynamic shift, a groundbreaking innovation known as zero emission concrete is emerging, poised to redefine the industry’s environmental footprint. This revolutionary advancement holds the potential to not only reduce emissions but also reshape the construction world’s entire foundation. […]

AOCA Team Spreads Joy Through Community Service at LauraLynn Hospice

At AOCA, we believe in making a difference not only in the world of engineering and construction but also in the lives of those in our community. Recently, a group of our dedicated team members, including Sarah, Eoin, Megan, Finn, and Nessa, had the privilege of contributing their time and skills to a heartwarming initiative at LauraLynn Hospice, Ireland’s Children’s Hospice.

A Day of Giving Back

The spirit of giving back was truly alive as our team rolled up their sleeves to support the LauraLynn Hospice’s preparations for an upcoming Family Fun Day. This event is not just a day of entertainment; it’s a moment of respite, laughter, and cherished memories for families facing immense challenges. With creativity and compassion, our team engaged in various activities to brighten up the hospice grounds. Some of our members, including Sarah and Finn, took on the artistic task of painting decorative windows, infusing vibrant colors into the surroundings. These windows will be a source of inspiration and delight for the children and their families during their stay.

In addition to window painting, our team also took to the hospice gardens, where members like Eoin and Megan dedicated themselves to weeding and nurturing the outdoor spaces. The act of tending to the gardens symbolizes our commitment to providing a nurturing environment for families, caregivers, and children.

Community Bonding and Impact

Participating in this community service was a humbling experience for our team. It allowed us, including Nessa, to connect with the heartwarming mission of LauraLynn Hospice and extend our support to those who need it most. Our team members not only shared their skills but also their care and empathy, leaving a positive impact on the hospice and the families it serves.

At AOCA, we are dedicated to making a meaningful impact in both our professional field and the community around us. We believe that together, through acts of kindness and compassion, we can make a difference that truly matters. As we reflect on our involvement with LauraLynn Hospice, we are reminded of the profound impact that small gestures can have on the lives of others. Our team, including Sarah, Eoin, Megan, Finn, and Nessa, looks forward to continuing our commitment to community service, spreading positivity, and leaving a lasting impression of care and compassion wherever we go.

Defective Block Works Crisis tackled by AOCA

Defective Block Works Scheme

At AOCA, we are delighted to announce that two of our valued team members, Aidan O’Connell and Colin Scott, are on the committee overseeing the implementation of the defective block works scheme. Their participation speaks volumes about their dedication to the highest engineering standards, crucial in managing the defective concrete block crisis in Ireland.


The Defective Block Works Scheme has been put in place to tackle the significant issue of structural damage to properties in Ireland, primarily caused by the use of defective concrete blocks containing pyrite and mica. This problem has had widespread impacts, particularly in certain counties, causing substantial stress and financial hardship for homeowners. The Scheme fully covers the counties of Donegal and Mayo, with certain electoral areas in the counties of Clare, Limerick, and Sligo also being eligible for support. This Scheme aims to provide financial assistance to affected homeowners, covering 100% of eligible remediation costs, which includes the complete removal and replacement of impacted walls in the property.


If you are affected, we strongly advise getting your property professionally assessed by an engineer registered in IS 465. Such an engineer will supervise testing and provide guidance on suitable remedial works. The resulting engineering report is a vital part of the grant application, determining the required level of intervention. At AOCA, we are well-versed in the requirements of the IS 465 standard and are equipped to assist homeowners throughout the testing, remediation, and grant application process. We aim to transform this difficult situation into a positive outcome, helping homeowners ensure their properties are safe and structurally sound.


Our involvement in the committee and our capacity to provide practical, professional support to those affected reflects our unwavering commitment to enhancing the safety and quality of Ireland’s built environment. We are here to offer clear, concise advice and top-notch engineering expertise to homeowners navigating this complex issue.

An Overview of the Enhanced Defective Concrete Blocks Grant Scheme

Defective Concrete Blocks Grant Scheme

The recent amendments to the Defective Concrete Blocks Grant Scheme mark a significant development for homeowners grappling with the aftermath of pyrite and mica infestations. This government initiative, now known as the Enhanced Defective Concrete Blocks Grant Scheme, provides crucial financial support to affected homeowners, allowing them to repair or rebuild their homes.

The key aspects of the scheme, as outlined on the government’s official website, cover the majority of repair costs. Homeowners can now avail of 100% funding for replacement or repair of affected homes, up to a maximum of €420,000. This is a substantial increase from the previous limit of 90% funding, offering a lifeline to those burdened with significant repair costs.

Under the scheme, homeowners can apply for grants to cover the cost of carrying out necessary works, including temporary accommodation costs while work is being undertaken. However, it’s important to note that the scheme does not cover the cost of improving the property beyond its original condition.

The Enhanced Defective Concrete Blocks Grant Scheme is a critical step towards offering substantial relief to homeowners affected by mica and pyrite. At AOCA Engineering Consultants, we believe it’s crucial to be aware of these developments and the support available. We provide certified building condition assessments, a required step in availing of the grant, and are here to guide homeowners through this process.

If you or anyone you know has been affected by defective concrete blocks and require assistance, don’t hesitate to contact us at AOCA Engineering Consultants. We’re committed to helping homeowners navigate this challenging situation and ensure they take full advantage of the aid available to them.

When Should I Worry About Cracks in My Home?

Crack In Home

In every home, it’s normal to see minor cracks appear over time, especially in older buildings. But when should these cracks start raising alarm bells? Let’s delve into the subject to help you distinguish between normal house settling and more serious structural issues.

Not All Cracks are Created Equal

Minor cracks, especially those that are less than 5mm wide, are usually nothing to worry about. They commonly appear due to slight house settlement or changes in humidity and temperature. However, if you notice larger cracks, recurrent cracks, or cracks accompanied by other warning signs like doors that won’t close properly, it’s time to take them more seriously.

The Shape and Direction of Cracks

Straight and vertical cracks often result from house settlement and might not necessarily signal a major problem. Conversely, horizontal or diagonal cracks could indicate serious structural issues. Also, keep an eye out for stepped cracks in your brickwork, as these can be a red flag for subsidence.

When to Call in the Professionals

Any crack larger than 5mm in width, appearing suddenly, widening over time, or accompanied by other warning signs, warrants professional attention. Here’s where the expertise of a structural engineer becomes essential. At AOCA Engineering Consultants, we specialise in assessing and addressing structural issues in homes, including serious cracks. A structural condition survey conducted by our experienced team can help diagnose the problem accurately and guide you on the necessary remedial actions.

Remember, it’s better to be safe than sorry. If you’re ever in doubt about the cracks in your home, it’s worth getting a professional opinion.

To book a structural condition survey or for any queries, please don’t hesitate to contact us. The team at AOCA Engineering Consultants is always ready to provide comprehensive assessments and advice. We offer professional, reliable guidance, to help you make an informed decision about the best course of action. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us for any concerns related to structural cracks.

Why do I need a structural condition survey?

structural condition survey

Investing in a property is a major financial commitment, hence the importance of ensuring your investment is sound. A structural condition survey, performed by qualified and experienced engineers, provides a comprehensive understanding of the property’s structural integrity. But why is such a survey necessary, and what does the process involve? Let’s explore with the guidance of AOCA Engineering Consultants.

Why You Need a Structural Condition Survey

  1. Risk Assessment: A structural condition survey reveals potential problems, from foundation, floor and roof issues, to structural distress, enabling early intervention and potentially saving you substantial repair costs down the line.
  2. Informed Decision-Making: For potential buyers, a structural condition survey provides an unbiased evaluation of the property’s condition, essential for making a well-informed purchase decision and negotiating a fair price for everybody.
  3. Future Planning: The findings of a survey can help you devise a detailed maintenance plan, ensuring the long-term integrity of your property.
  4. Compliance: Certain insurance and mortgage providers may require a survey to comply with their policies.

The Process of a Structural Condition Survey

The process commences with an initial site visit by our experienced engineers. They thoroughly assess every aspect of the property, from the roof to the foundations, focusing on structural integrity.

Following the on-site evaluation, our team compiles a detailed report outlining any potential issues, complete with photographs and recommendations for rectification. This report provides a comprehensive picture of the property’s current structural health and a roadmap for future maintenance.

At AOCA Engineering Consultants, we are committed to delivering high-quality surveys, providing our clients with the knowledge they need to protect their investment and ensure the safety of their property.

Trust in our expertise for comprehensive and understandable reports, aiding you in making informed decisions about your property. For more information or to schedule a survey, contact AOCA Engineering Consultants today.

Early Engagement with Uisce Éireann is a Necessity

Irish Water

In the surge of construction and development projects across Ireland, utilities, specifically water services, play a pivotal role. One key player in this realm that often garners attention is Uisce Éireann. For any development project’s success, engagement with Uisce Éireann has become a critical step. At AOCA Engineering Consultants, we recognise this importance and offer comprehensive support to facilitate this essential engagement.

Uisce Éireann’s Challenges

Uisce Éireann, the national water utility responsible for water and wastewater services in Ireland, is a complex entity with a vast responsibility. Given the scale of their task, it’s understandable that challenges can arise. Connection issues, infrastructure capacity, and processing times can be complex elements for developers, potentially leading to unexpected scenarios and extended timelines.

The Necessity for Early Engagement

Approaching Uisce Éireann at the earliest stages of project planning can help circumnavigate these complexities. Early engagement allows developers to gain insights into any potential constraints linked to water services and infrastructure. This forward-thinking approach helps streamline progress, mitigate unforeseen issues, and potentially expedite the project timeline.

AOCA’s Role

At AOCA Engineering Consultants, we offer expert assistance for developers and construction professionals to engage with Uisce Éireann effectively.

  • We provide guidance on the connection application process.
  • We help identify and address potential infrastructure issues.
  • We facilitate communication between all parties involved.
  • Our goal is to streamline the process and minimize delays, enabling our clients to focus on their core project activities.

Case Studies

Several projects across Ireland have shown how early engagement with Uisce Éireann can be beneficial. Those developers who chose to engage early have often reported smoother progress and fewer surprises. AOCA’s role in facilitating this early engagement highlights our value in the planning and execution of development projects.

Early engagement with Uisce Éireann can be a key factor in the successful completion of construction and development projects in Ireland. AOCA is ready to assist in this critical step, ensuring that your project runs smoothly and efficiently.

Contact us today to learn more about how we can assist with your next project.


Why You Need a Project Manager

Engineering projects are complex undertakings, brimming with technicalities, diverse resources, and challenging dynamics. To effectively navigate this intricate landscape, the presence of a Project Manager is vital. Here’s a deep dive into why you need a Project Manager to steer the ship of your engineering projects:

Providing Leadership and Direction:

  • A Project Manager is the torchbearer of the project. They define the project’s vision, shape its scope, and formulate a strategic path towards the goals. They aren’t just leaders; they are visionaries that inspire the team and provide a sense of direction.
  • At AOCA, our experienced Project Managers understand the essence of leadership. They keep the team focused and motivated, ensuring alignment with project objectives, budget, and timelines.

Optimizing Resource Management:

  • Resources – be it time, material, or human effort, are the backbone of any project. Project Managers specialize in managing these resources efficiently, ensuring optimal utilization and avoiding waste.
  • The Project Managers at AOCA precisely anticipate the resource needs and effectively distribute tasks. Their astute management reduces overheads, improves efficiency, and streamlines the project flow.

Maintaining Quality Control:

  • Project Managers uphold strict quality standards, ensuring every phase of the project meets the set benchmarks. They ensure the end product reflects high standards and satisfies client expectations.
  • Regular inspections and quality reviews are the norm at AOCA. Our Project Managers put a significant emphasis on quality control to deliver top-notch engineering solutions.

Efficient Risk Management:

  • Every project comes with its share of risks. Project Managers are equipped to identify these potential risks and devise strategies to mitigate them.
  • The Project Managers at AOCA possess a proactive mindset. They anticipate risks, prepare contingency plans, and ensure the project stays on track despite any unforeseen hurdles.

Fostering Communication and Collaboration:

  • Project Managers are the communication hub, facilitating seamless information flow among stakeholders, clients, and team members.
  • Our Project Managers at AOCA promote a culture of transparency and trust. Their effective communication strategies ensure everyone is on the same page, enhancing team collaboration and project success.

In the intricate world of engineering projects, a Project Manager becomes your guiding star, illuminating the path towards project success. Their leadership, keen oversight on resources, unwavering commitment to quality, adept risk management skills, and effective communication make them an invaluable asset to your team. At AOCA, we stand testament to the power of robust project management, consistently delivering successful outcomes.

Mica Crisis Continues

Mica Blockwork

In the wake of the mica crisis in Donegal, AOCA stands ready to assist and provide professional support. Mica remediation is a critical service that we offer to those affected.

The mica issue has been a significant problem for homeowners in Donegal and beyond. With as many as 2,500 homeowners potentially set to take part in what is likened to a class-action type case, the need for expert advice and assistance is more important than ever. AOCA, with our breadth of expertise in civil and structural engineering, offers mica remediation assistance.

Our experienced team is well-versed in dealing with construction material issues, including those caused by mica. The process of mica remediation involves a thorough investigation of the property, determining the extent of the damage, and designing the necessary repairs or replacements.

In Donegal and other affected areas, homeowners are understandably distressed. We at AOCA can provide peace of mind by offering professional, reliable guidance throughout the process. Our team can assist in the preparation of necessary documentation, undertaking of safety assessments, and overseeing of remedial works to ensure they are carried out to the highest standard.

Navigating through this crisis can be a daunting task. However, AOCA’s extensive experience in dealing with structural issues and mica remediation can ensure a smoother, more manageable journey towards a solution.

For those in need of support, please reach out to us at AOCA. We’re here to provide the help that homeowners need in this challenging time, and to ensure that mica remediation is done right, offering stability and safety for the future

Link to original source: The Irish Times