EU adopts Materials Roadmap enabling low carbon energy technologies

(Nanowerk News) Materials are at the core of industrial innovation and enable it. New advanced materials are needed in developing better performing and sustainable products and processes. Such materials are a part of the solution to our industrial and societal challenges, offering better performance in their use, at lower resource and energy requirements, and improved sustainability at the end-of-life of the products.
The discovery and development of new materials and the capacity to shape and utilise their properties enable scientists and engineers to develop energy technologies to power our economies and lifestyles. With the imperative to change our energy technology mix to respond to the challenge of decarbonisation and of the security of energy supply, the need for new materials and processing routes is overriding. We need new energy technologies – not just any low carbon technologies, but more efficient and cost-competitive low carbon technologies. Materials play a pivotal role in the solution, providing the means to generate and conserve energy in a more efficient and cost-competitive manner.
Materials research and control over materials resources is becoming increasingly important in the current global competition for industrial leadership in low carbon technologies. In response, the European Union has prioritised materials as a Key Enabling Technology (KET) to enable the transition to a knowledge-based, low carbon resource-efficient economy. As part of Europe 2020 strategy, the Union has set out a strategic agenda to ensure that materials will continue to support our industry and create economic opportunities.
In particular, under the flagship initiative 'Resource Efficient Europe' of the Europe 2020 Strategy, the EU's Raw Materials Initiative and the Roadmap to a resource efficient Europe addresses the critical issue of scarcity of natural resources, as well as their sustainable and efficient use. The recent proposal of the Commission for the next Framework Programme for research and innovation – Horizon 2020 clearly emphasises the importance of advanced materials and the related technologies as key enablers and key factors in strengthening Europe's productivity and innovation capacity and ensuring Europe has an advanced, sustainable and competitive economy, global leadership in hi-tech application sectors and the ability to develop effective solutions for societal challenges such as for energy.
Moreover, since 2007, the Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET-Plan) provides the strategic frame between the Member States, Industry and the European Union to jointly invest on the development and market roll-out of more efficient, safe and reliable low carbon technologies, in which, materials play a major role.
The new Materials Roadmap Enabling Low Carbon Energy Technologies (pdf) complements and expands the technology roadmaps developed in the context of the SET-Plan as the basis for its implementation. It puts forward key materials research and innovation activities to advance energy technologies for the next 10 years. It serves as a programmatic guide for research and development activities in the field of materials for energy applications for both the European Union's research and innovation programme and Member State programmes.
Source: European Commission