Steering Group Findings
The steering group identified areas of strategic importance for supporting future research and development in energy storage. This included improving the funding landscape, promoting a European centre of excellence, and collaborating more widely. This page provides more information about the findings of the steering group.
A historical feature of research into fuel cells has been the roller-coaster nature of the funding. This makes it difficult to sustain research groups in what are long term research challenges.
Availability of funding needs to be continuous and reliable not only for fuel cells but also for advanced batteries and other storage technologies to discover solutions to the long term challenges essential for success.
Promotion of a European centre of excellence
The group recognised the need to focus on and strengthen efforts in European research for the development of energy storage devices. As part of this effort the group suggested the establishment of virtual European centres of Excellence in different energy storage technologies (batteries, fuel cells and supercapacitors). These centres would bring together the best people in Europe, with independent testing facilities for energy storage devices at the heart of them.
Such centres would focus on medium to long–term challenges and would have long term sustained funding. The centres would act to promote technology transfer, ensure that research is not duplicated and allow the independent and comparative assessment of the quality of energy storage devices.
It is key is that the centres are independent, truly European (with no particular country overpowering the institution) and that bureaucracy is kept to a minimum.
Collaboration with SusChem and other societies to influence European funding
The group believes that SusChem is best placed to support this proposal and help frame future European funding in the appropriate way. It is essential to gain the support from the European Union in setting up such a centre. SusChem promotes sustainable chemistry research in Europe and is well placed to take this proposal forward to the European Commission as one of its priorities.
A network for energy storage, leading to centres of excellence, would help strengthen the research base of Europe in a competitive international market. The USA and Japan are the unchallenged leaders in this market and if Europe wants to stay independent and remain competitive in the future it is vital that the European research base is fostered.
The most promising technologies for energy storage are batteries, supercapacitors and fuel cells.