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News 25 March 2021

Bridging the gap between research and industry: SUPEERA’s pathways on Bioenergy and Energy Storage

The 2nd SUPEERA webinar brought together researchers, policymakers, and representatives from industry-driven platforms to discuss how can research and industry get closer to accelerate innovation and uptake of new technologies in the fields of Bioenergy and Energy Storage.  

On March 17, SUPEERA hosted its webinar “Bringing research and industry closer: Accelerating innovation and uptake of new technologies”, the second of a series of events exploring different technologies pathways to reach the Clean Energy Transition. While the first one of the series was held on October 2020 and was focused on Hydrogen and Wind, this second webinar specifically focused on pathways on Energy Storage and Bioenergy. The event brought together researchers from the EERA community, policymakers, and representatives from industry-driven platforms to discuss how to better connect research and industry in order to accelerate innovation and uptake of new technologies in these specific fields.  

Key outcomes of the discussion 

Ivan Matejak, SUPEERA Project Coordinator and EERA Operations Director, introduced the webinar by offering an overview of the activities conducted by the project, whose central aim is to support the implementation of the SET Plan, integrating it into the broader context of the Clean Energy Transition (CET). As such, the project seeks to facilitate a stronger coordination of the research community, as well as to establish a stakeholder dialogue focused on research and innovation priorities and pathways relevant to the CET, including the SET Plan objectives. 

Under this framework, the analysis of the National Energy and Climate Plans (NECPs) constituted an activity of pivotal importance for SUPEERA as, based on it, researchers can examine the plans set out by each Member State to reach the EU’s energy and climate goals and deliver sectorial and cross-systemic recommendations to be acted upon. During the webinar, Maria Oksa, Senior Scientist at VTT and SUPEERA project partner, thoroughly described the methodology used for the NECPs analysis, including the process that led to the identification and selection of the most relevant technological pathways for the CET that are now the focus of this webinar series.  

For her part, Barbara Spanò, Senior Executive Officer at DTU and SUPEERA project partner, presented the key findings for the two pathways subject of the webinar, Energy Storage and Bioenergy. Spanò outlined relevant EU-level policies and key technologies, as well as best practices and gaps identified.   

During the event, Alessia Clocchiatti, Policy Officer at the European Commission Directorate-General for Energy (DG ENER) highlighted the importance of the work conducted by SUPEERA. “The work you are doing in SUPEERA with the NECPs is of strategic importance and it can have an added value not only to us as European Commission, but also to the Member States and to the entire energy ecosystem” she stated. Furthermore, Clocchiatti outlined the key current and upcoming priorities of the EU Commission in the field of energy.  

As the event moved forward, insights related to the first pathway on Bioenergy were presented by Andrea Monti, Professor at UNIBO and EERA JP Bioenergy Coordinator, Raquel Iglesias Esteban, Head of Biofuels and Biochemicals Unit at CIEMAT and EERA JP Bioenergy member, and René Venendaal, Vice-Chair of ETIP Bioenergy and SET IWG-8 and CEO of Biomass Technology Group (BTG).  

The Bioenergy panel started by underscoring that, with about 60% of renewables being produced by biomass, bioenergy represents the largest renewable energy source worldwide. According to Andrea Monti, the deployment of bioenergy is crucial to reach the EU’s energy and climate targets. Monti also pointed out recommendations on how to get research closer to industry, such as a short-term exploitation of results, a clear understanding of return on investment, as well as effective communication across the value chain and reduction of bureaucracy to facilitate cooperation. For her part, Raquel Iglesias Esteban outlined some of the best collaboration practices in the field of biofuels. As an example, “PERSEO Biotechnology”, a project developed by CIEMAT and IMECAL, was brought forward. “Demonstration projects are necessary to implement new biotechnology processes and they represent a type of collaboration providing competitiveness in the marketplace” Iglesias Esteban concluded. Closing the topic, René Venendaal presented the perspective of industrial-led organizations concerning the production and deployment of biomass and biofuels.  

Consecutively, insights regarding the second pathway, Energy Storage, were introduced by Stefano Passerini, Director and Professor at Helmholtz Institute Ulm and EERA JP Energy Storage Coordinator, followed by Alexey Koposov, Senior Scientist at IFE and EERA JP Energy Storage SP1 Deputy Coordinator, and Alessandro Romanello, ETIP Batteries Coordinator.  

During his intervention, Stefano Passerini described the EERA Joint Programme on Energy Storage (JP ES) and outlined the key priorities of the field such as the hybridization of energy. In relation to this topic priority, “StoRIES” (Storage Research Infrastructure Eco-System), a proposal recently submitted by the Joint Programme, focuses on improving materials for devices and optimizing hybrid energy systems with the aim of making energy technologies more competitive and reducing costs. For his part, Alexey Koposov outlined some of the best practices of the Joint Programme by thoroughly presenting the SIMBA (Sodium-Ion and Sodium Metal Batteries) project and its objectives.  

To close the Energy Storage pathway, Alessandro Romanello provided an overview of the experience of Batteries Europe in bridging the gap between research and industry, highlighting the contribution of the industrial-led alliance in affirming the role of EU batteries in the global market. More specifically, Batteries Europe has done so by providing input and recommendations on R&I priorities in the field of batteries, which were subsequently converted by the Battery Partnership, the partnership representing the industrial sector, into concrete actions to be negotiated with the European Commission within Horizon Europe R&I framework programme. Furthermore, Romanello outlined some of the priorities identified by Batteries Europe to transform new developments from concept to market readiness, such as a focus on short- and long-term research efforts ensuring a consistent growth of the industry, as well as a focus on digitalization as a booster to accelerate technological development.  

In summary, the webinar showed how, despite its crucial importance, the relationship between industry and research still needs further input and development to effectively produce results. However, the additional effort will be outweighed by the benefits: such cooperation would create a mutually beneficial partnership, producing groundbreaking innovation and accelerating the uptake of new technologies, strengthening the EU’s long-term recovery capacity.  

For further information about the topics discussed during the webinar, the recordings and presentations can be found at the following page. The key outcomes of the first webinar of the series, focused on Hydrogen and Wind can be accessed  here. The third webinar of the series will be held on April 28, 2021 and will be focused on pathways on Energy System Integration and Solar Power. For further information on this event, click here.