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EU-Funded Research contribution to the Energy Union

 

Brussels, 25 February 2015

Research, Innovation and Competitiveness has been identified as one of the five mutually-reinforcing and closely interrelated dimensions of the Energy Union presented today in Brussels. Embedded across all of the strategy's priorities, R&I will play a key role in helping Europe achieve all its ambitious climate and energy targets.

It will be through R&I that the EU will be able to deliver a low-energy economy, whilst making the energy we consume to maintain our standard of living and modern conveniences more secure, competitive, affordable and sustainable. A budget of nearly €6 billion has been allocated in Horizon 2020 –the EU's Framework Programme for Research and Innovation– to ensure that energy keeps flowing in the future: an efficient use of energy –20% savings by 2020–; the free movement of energy, by creating a more integrated, interconnected and competitive market that will benefit citizens; secure, safe and affordable energy for citizens and businesses, with an internal market that provides consumers with wider choice and lower prices; a technological shift by bringing new high-performance, low-carbon technologies to the European markets.

A summary of EU-funded projects and initiatives contributing to the Energy Union is presented here.

SOLAR-JET (Solar chemical reactor demonstration and Optimization for Long-term Availability of Renewable JET fuel) The development of the next-generation technologies for biofuels and sustainable alternative fuels is a core element to find new and sustainable sources of energy in Europe. SOLAR-JET has produced the world's first "solar" jet fuel from water and carbon dioxide (CO2). Researchers have for the first time successfully demonstrated the entire production chain for renewable kerosene, using concentrated light as a high-temperature energy source.

Year: 2011-2015
EU budget contribution: €2.2 million.
Participants: Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, France
Energy Union Dimensions: Energy security, solidarity and trust, Decarbonising the economy, R&I and competitiveness.

CHIC (Clean Hydrogen in European cities) CHIC began in November 2010 to promote the development of hydrogen fuel cell buses for public transport, and to prepare the way for the widespread use of this technology and its associated infrastructure from 2015. Europe needs to both substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions, cut the consumption of fossil fuels and increase the share of renewable energy. A significant contribution could be made in the area of public transport by switching the energy source away from fossil fuels towards a green source: hydrogen gas. A number of European cities are currently pioneering the development and introduction of city buses powered by environmentally-friendly hydrogen fuel cells.

Year: 2010-2016
EU budget contribution: €25.9 million
Participants: Germany, Belgium, United Kingdom, Canada, France, Italy, Norway, Switzerland, Netherlands
Energy Union Dimensions:: Energy security, solidarity and trust, Energy efficiency contributing to moderation of demand, Decarbonising the economy, R&I and competitiveness

 

EuroBioRef (EUROpean multilevel integrated BIOREFinery design for sustainable biomass processing). EuroBioRef was set up to identify improvements in bio-refinery design and operation. It is now widely accepted that an economy based on renewable resources, rather than on fossil fuels, is no longer just an option, but is a necessity. Biorefineries –the plant where raw materials are treated processed and turned into their final product– are limited in the types of biomass feedstock they process, the technologies they apply and the final products they focus on. This has the effect of substantially limiting the added value that can potentially be achieved.

Year: 2010-2014
EU budget contribution: €23 million
Participants: Sweden, Denmark, Germany, United Kingdom, Poland, Italy, Greece, Switzerland, Norway, Portugal, Bulgaria, Belgium, Madagascar
Energy Union Dimensions: Energy security, solidarity and trust, Energy efficiency contributing to moderation of demand, Decarbonising the economy, R&I and competitiveness

LABOHR (Lithium-Air Batteries with split Oxygen Harvesting and Redox processes). LABOHR has designed a next-generation battery for electric cars, employing state-of-the-art lithium-air technology. It can potentially power a car for up to 500 km, instead of the current 150 km, before needing to be recharged. A major challenge facing full electric vehicles is the limited range between charges. This is an obstacle to encouraging more people to buy electric vehicles, good for the environment and for Europe's competitiveness.

Year: 2011-2014
EU budget contribution: €2.9 million
Participants: United Kingdom, Israel, Italy, Austria, Germany, Ukraine, Spain
Energy Union Dimensions: Decarbonising the economy, Internal Energy Market, R&I and competitiveness

ADDRESS (Active Distribution networks with full integration of Demand and distributed energy RESourceS). Through ADDRESS a comprehensive commercial and technical framework has been developed for active energy demand and a pilot study has been completed in Italy, while other studies are currently being carried out in France and Spain. This pilot phase involved equipment being installed in homes allowing owners to receive aggregator's signals with demand adjusted accordingly by the energy management box. Europe aims to develop an electricity network which will allow customers to play an active role, taking into account supply and demand and which is expected to significantly reduce environmental impact.

Year: 2008-2013
EU budget contribution: €9 million
Participants: United Kingdom, Romania, Spain, Finland, Italy, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland
Energy Union Dimensions: Energy efficiency contributing to moderation of demand, Internal Energy Market, R&I and competitiveness

 

NACIR (New Applications for Photovoltaic Concentrators). In the harsh, isolated, semi-desert region north of Cairo in Egypt, 150 acres have been planted with beans, peas and oranges trees. But there is a problem: an endless need for water. Researchers from the EU funded project NACIR are using a brand new generation of photovoltaic cells and testing the use of renewable energies to pump water and to provide irrigation. The trackers follow the sun all day and are thought to be far more efficient than ordinary photovoltaic panels.

Year: 2009-2012
EU budget contribution: €4.4 million
Participants: Spain, Germany, Egypt, Morocco
Energy Union Dimensions: Energy security, solidarity and trust, Decarbonising the economy, R&I and competitiveness

 

H2SusBuild (Development of a clean and energy self-sustained building in the vision of integrating H2 economy with renewable energy sources). The H2SusBuild project aimed at developing a self-sustainable and zero-CO2-emission building by integrating a hybrid energy system, where the storage of hydrogen provides the energy supply in instances where renewable sources are lacking. The building sector accounts for some 40% of all energy consumption in the EU. As the vast majority of this power comes from fossil fuels, increasing energy efficiency, reducing CO2 emissions and using Renewable Energy Sources has in recent years become priority.

Year: 2008-2012
EU budget contribution: €6.7 million
Participants: Sweden, Greece, United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Norway, Poland, Spain, Netherlands
Energy Union Dimensions: Energy efficiency contributing to moderation of demand, Decarbonising the economy, R&I and competitiveness

UPWIND (Integrated wind turbine design). Giant 20 megawatt (MW) wind turbines are feasible and could provide a cost-effective way of expanding Europe’s offshore wind capacity and providing cheaper electricity, according to a report from the EU-funded UPWIND project. Among the main innovations UPWIND suggests for a 20 MW wind turbine is the need to change the layout of a wind farm by lowering the power output of the first row of turbines to allow for higher overall wind farm efficiency. The report claims that the future smart wind turbine would be able to adapt its position and the pitch of its blade to local wind conditions. In addition, it mentions a variety of ways the blades should be changed to improve efficiency and make them easier to transport.

Year: 2006-2011
EU budget contribution: €14.5 million
Participants: Germany, Spain, Denmark, India, United Kingdom, Czech Republic, Finland, China, Ukraine, Greece, Belgium, Netherlands, Sweden, Poland
Energy Union Dimensions: Energy security, solidarity and trust, Decarbonising the economy, R&I and competitiveness

 

BBI (Bio-based Industries Joint Undertaking). The Bio-based Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI) is dedicated to realising the European bioeconomy potential, turning biological residues and wastes into greener everyday products through innovative technologies and biorefineries, which are at the heart of the bioeconomy. The BBI is about connecting key sectors, creating new value chains and producing a range of innovative bio-based products to ultimately form a new bio-based community and economy. BBI is a €3.7 billion Public-Private Partnership (PPP) between the EU and the Bio-based Industries Consortium (BIC).

Energy Union Dimensions: Energy security, solidarity and trust, Internal Energy Market, Decarbonising the economy, Energy efficiency contributing to moderation of demand, R&I and competitiveness.

FCH2 JU (Fuel Cells & Hydrogen 2). The FCH2 JU will develop a portfolio of clean, efficient and affordable fuel cells and hydrogen technologies to the point of market introduction and help secure the future international competitiveness of this strategically important sector in Europe. Fuel cells, as an efficient conversion technology, and hydrogen, as a clean energy carrier, have a great potential to help fight carbon dioxide emissions, to reduce dependence on hydrocarbons and to contribute to economic growth. FCH2 JU is a new phase of the first Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking set up in 2008 to implement the FCH Joint Technology Initiative (JTI). The new FCH 2 JU runs from 2014 to 2024.

Energy Union Dimensions: Energy security, solidarity and trust, Internal Energy Market, Decarbonising the economy, R&I and competitiveness

CS2 (Clean Sky 2) Air transport contributes today about 3% to global greenhouse gas emissions, with traffic expected to triple by 2050. Although other sectors are more polluting this expected growth makes it necessary to address aviation’s environmental impact. CS2 is a Joint Technology Initiative (JTI), a public-private partnership bringing together companies, universities, public laboratories, innovative SMEs and the European Commission.

Energy Union Dimensions: Decarbonising the economy, Energy efficiency contributing to moderation of demand, R&I and competitiveness

EUROfusion Nuclear fusion offers the potential for producing nearly limitless energy by smashing heavy atoms of hydrogen into helium inside a plasma burning at 100 million kelvin, and capturing the energy released by the reaction. EUROfusion is a consortium of all national fusion research institutes across the European Union plus Switzerland. The consortium has established a 5 year joint programme with an overall budget of €850 million, which follows the agreed roadmap to fusion electricity.

Energy Union Dimensions: Energy security, solidarity and trust, Decarbonising the economy, R&I and competitiveness

EeB (Energy efficient buildings). The construction sector is crucial to EU environment and energy policies as buildings use 40 % of total EU energy consumption and generate 36% of greenhouse gases in Europe. While the replacement rate of existing stock is very small (1-2% per year), the construction sector is on the critical path to decarbonise the European economy by 2050. The EeB is a partnership between the European Commission and the private sector as represented by the Energy Efficient Buildings Association (E2BA).

Energy Union Dimensions:Energy Union Dimensions: Energy efficiency contributing to moderation of demand, R&I and competitiveness

EGVI (European Green Vehicles Initiative). The quick introduction of new, greener vehicles with higher energy efficiency and alternative powertrains is pivotal for the ongoing success of the sector, the wider economy and Europe’s environment. The automotive industry is a key sector for Europe, with 12 million direct jobs and over € 500 billion/year in turnover, but it is under growing pressure from global competitors. At the same time, the vehicle market is facing technological challenges to comply with more ambitious environmental regulations. EGVI is a public-private partnership between the Commission and the private sector.

Energy Union Dimensions: Decarbonising the economy, Internal Energy Market, R&I and competitiveness.

SPIRE (Sustainable Process Industry public-private partnership). SPIRE supports the development of novel technologies for improved resource and energy efficiency in the process industry, making it more sustainable and competitive. SPIRE is a new public-private partnership by the European Commission together with eight sectors of the process industry: chemicals, cement, ceramics, minerals, steel, non-ferrous metals, industrial water and process engineering.

Energy Union Dimensions: Energy efficiency contributing to moderation of demand, Internal Energy Market, R&I and competitiveness

For more information

Press Release
• Energy Union: secure, sustainable, competitive, affordable energy for every European http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-15-4497_en.htm

Factsheets
• Energy Union: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEMO-15-4485_en.htm
• Connecting power markets to deliver security of supply, market integration and the large-scale uptake of renewables http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEMO-15-4486_en.htm
• Questions and Answers on the European Commission Communication: The Paris Protocol – A blueprint for tackling global climate change beyond 2020: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEMO-15-4487_en.htm

 

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