The market for advanced materials for energy applications represents a great opportunity for the European Chemical Industry.
Sustainable chemistry has a leading role to play in developing the materials that are required to enable the sustainable production of renewable electricity, the efficient storage of energy, the increased energy efficiency of new construction and existing buildings stock (including enabling energy neutral buildings) and the setting up of sustainable transport systems.
Clearly the research and innovation space for materials applications for energy is vast and priorities must be set. SusChem’s working group has carried out a gap analysis of European research and innovation projects and calls over the past 10 years and has defined detailed priority topics.
Topics include the development of safe energy storage materials for higher energy density with longer life time, the development of reversible thermochemical reactions for thermal energy storage and use of chemical energy storage through hydrogen synthesis and power-to-methane or power-to-liquid technologies including use of waste CO2. Lightweight, high strength and easily recyclable materials are key for transport application as are improved catalyst technologies and alternative fuels for transportation. Energy efficient buildings need improved insulation materials and high efficiency lighting systems. We also need to develop Phase Change Materials that can provide thermal inertia, while a range of advanced materials are required for cost competitive renewable energies including photovoltaic systems, wind turbines, and new piezoelectric polymers to produce power from vibrations and heat.