Materials for Energy & Light
Energy generation, storage and use is one of the main challenges for the future of Europe.
This is reflected in a number of European initiatives and strategies:
- Horizon 2020 is the next generation frame program of the European Commission. One of the focus areas of Horizon 2020 is of course Energy.
- European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) that set up large Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs) throughout Europe, focusing on the interaction between higher education, research and business to stimulate innovation in key strategic areas. One of the KICs is the KIC InnoEnergy, which addresses the sustainable energy domain .
- The Strategic Energy Technology plan (SET) establishes and energy technology policy for Europe.
- The Energy Materials Industrial Research Initiative (EMIRI), set up in 2012, is driving forward research and innovation in the advanced materials needed for low-carbon energy applications. EMIRI combines a large group of industrial and research partners in materials for energy all over Europe, including a number of Flemish players, and is strongly related to this SIM research theme.
It is clear that this is also an important focus for Flanders, as each member state of the EU has to play its part in this societal challenge.
When SIM started, a work group was put together with experts from industry and academics. Its task: to identify those areas that should have the highest interest in Flanders from the point of view of pre-competitive demand driven research. It was concluded that focus should be on the following domains:
- Harvesting of energy with photovoltaics
- Energy conversion with fuel cells
- Energy storage with batteries.
Domains that are outside of the SIM scope currently:
- Solid state lighting: current advances in international research would make it difficult for Flanders research group to gain a competitive position with a critical mass.
- Photocatalysis: wide industrial opportunities are considered to be too far away
- Hydrogen storage: closely related to fuel cells, but it was not given a high priority by the work group experts.