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How do we move towards a sustainable production of fuels and chemicals in Europe? In which ways will Horizon Europe, the next EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (2021-2027), support Europe´s high ambitions for sustainability?

These and other questions were raised at the ENERGY-X event on September 26, in Brussels. During the meeting, the CSA initiative presented at EERA offices in Brussels its research need report, a scientific roadmap towards the sustainable production of fuels and chemicals and how it can contribute to mitigate climate change. The ENERGY-X research roadmap is the result of the integrated knowledge of more than 180 scientists across Europe and a key step to engage the whole community towards building a climate neutral EU.

The event was also the opportunity to introduce the next joint ENERGY-X/SUNRISE initiative, whose final name is still to be chosen. Carina Faber from UCLouvain represented SUNRISE as a panelist in the final discussion. Other members of the SUNRISE consortium, like the initiative’s deputy coordinator Hervé Bercegol from CEA, Laura López from ICIQ and Anita Schneider from EERA (common partner in both consortia) were also present at the launch. ENERGY-X and SUNRISE are two H2020 ongoing projects that share goals for the conversion of renewable energies into alternative fuels and chemicals, aimed at developing large-scale research initiatives within the energy, environment and climate change area.

European Commission speakers at the event were Ditte Juul Jørgensen, Director General at DG Energy and Søren Bøwadt, Deputy Head of Unit for “Materials for tomorrow” at DG Research & Innovation. Both Søren Bøwadt and Philippe Schild, Senior Expert at DG Research & Innovation, joined the discussion with panelists from the ENERGY-X and SUNRISE projects and the audience.

Jens Nørskov (Technical University of Denmark, DTU), ENERGY-X project coordinator, highlighted the importance of the synergy of science and engineering, scale-up strategy and stakeholders’ engagement in order to tackle the sustainable energy storage challenges.

Søren Bøwadt also highlighted the urgency of a sustainable future, tackling climate change and helping to achieve sustainable development goals.

ENERGY-X project partner Bert Weckhuysen from the Utrecht University: “We have to make clear to European decision makers that support is needed to accelerate the defossilization process. Climate change is real and is happening now. We have to build on our knowledge base to give clear impulses to industrial processes, the energy and the transportation sector to preserve the world for the next generation”.

Climate change is one of the top challenges of modern society and the ever-growing demand for energy and materials is a significant contributor to rising CO2 levels, making it imperative to discover ways of producing energy sustainably. Fossil resources form the basis of our current energy supply, thus, we need to find suitable replacements based on the energy input from the Sun in order to meet the COP 21 Paris Agreement goals, to support the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and to contribute to the ambitions of the EU Energy Union and the Energy Roadmap 2050 for a secure, sustainable, affordable, and climate-friendly energy supply for Europe.

Check out ENERGY-X research roadmap on their website.