Over 100 stakeholders of the Coordination and Support Actions (CSAs) SUNRISE and ENERGY-X gathered on February 5-6, 2020 in Brussels for the kick-off meeting of SUNERGY, a large-scale research and innovation (R&I) initiative in the area of fossil-free fuels and chemicals. Renewable energy experts from academia, industry and policy addressed the current opportunities and challenges towards decarbonizing the European industry and society over the next 30 years.
The launch event was organized in two sessions: a high-level lunch discussion at the European Parliament (EP) on February 5, and a public two-day conference. The TownHall Europe hosted the afternoon session on February 5, while the morning session on February 6 was hosted by the Representation of the State of Hessen to the EU.
MEP Morten Helveg Petersen hosted the high-level lunch discussion at the EP. Representatives from both initiatives debated on how large-scale R&I initiatives in the area of fossil-free fuels and chemicals can contribute to meeting the targets of the Paris Agreement. Keynote speakers were Cristian Silviu Bușoi (ITRE Committee Chair), Hélène Chraye (Directorate Clean Planet of Directorate General Research & Innovation), Mark van Stiphout (Directorate General Energy), Bert Weckhuysen (SUNERGY coordinator), and Maximillian Fleischer (Siemens Energy).
SUNERGY coordinator Bert Weckhuysen: The SUNERGY initiative comes at a time when greater attention to climate and energy issues and on-going developments at European level offer the right framework for action and a great opportunity to join efforts towards reversing climate change.
During the public kick-off meeting, the CSAs SUNRISE and ENERGY-X presented their achievements throughout the past year, and proposed their joint vision on providing sustainable and competitive alternatives to fossil fuels by 2050. Keynote speakers like Peter Dröll (Director Prosperity, Directorate General Research & Innovation) highlighted the strong support of the European institutions towards R&I to achieve the ambitions of the European Green Deal.
SUNERGY deputy coordinator Frédéric Chandezon: This kick-off meeting has served as a key step towards unifying the SUNRISE and ENERGY-X research communities and defining directions for a European large-scale R&I initiative around SUNERGY, within the new European R&I framework Horizon Europe.
SUNRISE and ENERGY-X are two out of the six CSA projects that were selected for the Horizon 2020 call “FETFLAG-01-2018” within the research area of Energy, Environment and Climate Change. Both initiatives received €1 million from the European Commission to develop a detailed proposal for a large-scale research initiative during one year, from March 2019 to February 2020.
Both SUNRISE and ENERGY-X aim to develop sustainable approaches for the storage of renewable energy (solar and wind) through its conversion to fuels and commodity chemicals using abundant molecules such as carbon dioxide, water and nitrogen. The two projects bring together 30 committed organisations, backed by an initial supporting community of approx. 300 stakeholders from academia, industry, and society.