The discovery of new materials with tailored properties and the ability to process them are both significant rate-limiting steps in creating new products and services for many industry sectors. The demands of tomorrow’s technology translate directly into increasingly rigorous demands on the chemicals and materials involved – Tomorrow truly starts with chemistry!
These demands include lower cost, more efficient and easy processing and fabrication, and the ability to recycle or reuse the materials easily.
Coinciding with these new performance demands are a group of new techniques and approaches that offer the potential for more rapid materials discovery, better characterisation, greater direct control of macroscopic properties by manipulation at the molecular level, and more reliable design and simulation.
SusChem has works along the value chain to determine the best opportunities for new materials in close cooperation with partners from both public and private research. This avoids duplication of efforts and brings together market demand and innovative technology to create the basis for new business in the materials sector and downstream in high-value applications.
What is SusChem doing?
SusChem thinking has inspired a large number of FP7 projects in materials technology from organic light emitting diode lighting to novel composite materials and nanotechnology. For example, SusChem thinking has contributed to the FP7 NANOfutures research and innovation initiative and the Smart Energy Home visionary project which was further continued into projects like Beem-Up.
As an input to Horizon2020 agenda, SusChem’s Working Group on Materials Technologies has published a brochure which summarizes its priorities:
1) Light-weight performance materials that will contribute to energy
efficiency particularly in the transportation sector: a key target
highlighted by SusChem is more efficient and cost-effective
manufacturing techniques for composites materials; on top of fiber
reinforced composites (with thermosetting or plastic resins),
nano-composites and efficient fabrication methodologies are advocated.
Of importance are also the composite materials based on natural fibers
like flax and hemp which can contribute to the market development of the
2) Materials using bio-based building-blocks, either substituting
existing oil-based building blocks or bringing brand-new possibilities.
Recently the chemical industry has put on the market key building-blocks
enabling the development of bio-based materials enabling the
development of energy storage technologies.
With the development of
renewable energy sources, energy storage is
becoming crucial to accommodate the distribution of the energy produced
in irregular patterns.
This is true for electrical energy storage or thermal energy storage.
In addition, the transportation sector is developing specific solutions
for electrical vehicles, particularly Li-Ion batteries which need
specific materials from the chemical industry like electrolytes,
electo-cative materials, binders, separators to name a few. SusChem
supports the materials for energy roadmap set by the EMIRI association.
3) Printed electronics: the chemical industry provides key performance
materials like inks, piezo-electric polymers, conductive polymers to
this new high tech field which offers brand-new innovation
4) Materials for construction: the chemical industry is an important
contributor to the value-chain of materials for construction with high
performance materials contributing to the energy efficiency of buildings
and coating solutions.
SusChem has collaborated closely with the ECTP (European Construction Technology Platform) to set-up the Energy Efficient Building roadmap and is involved in the definition of the Strategic Implementation Plan of the Smart-Cities and Communities EIP; six chemical companies submitted a highly rated Key to Innovation report to the Smart-Cities and Communities Stakeholders Platform
For more information on the challenges and innovative solutions possible with Materials Technology take a look at SusChem’s Hybrid Materials Workshop report and its recommendations for Horizon 2020.
If you would like to get involved, or would like more information on Working Group membership and activities in this area, get in contact via the ‘Join a Working Group’ page.