SusChem: Mixing and Moving for Mobility!


European Mobility Week 2018 is focusing on 'multimodality' - the mixing of transport modes within the same journey or for different trips. This EU-wide week of events takes place from 16 to 22 September 2018 under the slogan ‘Mix and Move!’ and is encouraging  EU citizens to explore the many different options available for getting from A to B. Embracing the concept of multimodality means rethinking the way we move about our cities and being willing to try out new forms of more sustainable mobility.

Mobility is one of the major challenges facing our urban areas today. And it is an area where SusChem and sustainable chemistry is contributing significantly. SusChem’s 2015 Strategic Innovation and Research Agenda has a dedicated chapter on Smart, Green and Integrated Transport covering many innovations that are vital to achieving more sustainable mobility and has also focused on specific innovations in lightweight materials and advanced battery storage technologies.

Chemistry contributions

Electric mobility must play an important role in the future and chemistry already offers numerous products and solutions in this area. The battery is the key component in electric vehicles and chemistry can make this technology more affordable, powerful and secure with the aim of increasing the range of vehicles.

SusChem has recently published a White Paper on Battery Energy Storage addressing the current state of battery technologies in Europe, outlining the main challenges and suggesting future action options.

Smart mobility – sustainable solutions

Similarly, lightweight design of vehicles is important as lowering the weight of a vehicle enables increased range can increase and / lower energy use. The chemical industry offers tailor-made polymers for many different applications from vehicle bodies to the engine compartment. SusChem has published its ideas on how Polymer Composites can enable automotive sustainability and more recently a White Paper on the technology and non-technology requirements for ensuring such advanced materials  can be successfully integrated into the circular economy.

Future vehicles must be made using recyclable materials, such as bio- and smart-materials, that can ensure vehicles do not become waste at the end of their useful life. And new tyre concepts can reduce rolling resistance and extend range. SusChem has a significant focus on advanced material technologies that can enable breakthrough application development across a wide range of value chains.

Managing energy in vehicles is  also important for efficiency, especially for electric vehicles. In summer, air conditioning consumes additional energy, while in winter good insulation is important. In contrast to internal combustion engines the electric motor produces almost no ‘waste’ heat. Chemical products can help here: special pigments applied on the windows reduce the warming of the interior in the sun, while high-performance foams offer perfect insulation in the winter.

While the internal combustion engine remains a significant vehicle propulsion source, sustainable chemistry will help through new catalytic exhaust gas treatments to remove organic compounds and fine particles. And fossil fuels can be substituted by synthetic fuels made, for example, by the conversion of carbon dioxide (CO2) with solar energy or by fuels made from renewable (biomass) sources. Hydrogen produced efficiently from renewable sources is also a potential emission-free alternative to fossils fuels.

You can find out more about some of the solutions that sustainable chemistry can provide to meet the mobility challenge for Smart Cities and help stem urban air pollution on the dedicated Smart Cities pages of SusChem's Innovation for Growth website.

What is European Mobility Week?

EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK is an annual campaign on sustainable urban mobility supported by the European Commission’s directorates for Energy and Transport. The aim of the campaign is to encourage European local authorities to introduce and promote sustainable transport measures.

The week runs from 16 to 22 September every year and sees events taking place across Europe and globally. Since 2002 EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK has sought to influence mobility and urban transport issues, as well as improve the health and quality of life of citizens. The campaign also gives citizens the chance to explore what the role of city streets really is, and to explore concrete solutions to tackle urban challenges, such as air pollution.

To discover more about how participating cities have used the campaign to enhance their sustainable transport policies, visit the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK website.