Using a protein taken from nature, scientists have made artificial leaves that can harvest energy faster than natural ones, and the ultra-lightweight material opens up the possibility of wearable technology and paint-on solar cells.
Nuclear fusion could become the main source of energy in the second half of this century, and Europe is well-positioned to lead the way as long as it manages its resources correctly, according to the people overseeing the research.
Precisely designed nanostructures can catch light and help improve the efficiency of solar cells by up to 70 %, according to Professor Albert Polman, the 2012 joint recipient of the prestigious ENI Renewable Energy Prize and joint winner of the 2014 Julius Springer Prize for Applied Physics.
The ability to store electricity using hydrogen could make wind and solar power a secure energy source, freeing Europe from its dependency on imported fossil fuels, according to Bert De Colvenaer, executive director of the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking, a public-private partnership.
The European Commission has launched plans for the next research funding programme.