Street lights may seem just part of the mundane backdrop of life, but many firms have been devising exciting ideas for powering them more cheaply and making them do far more than illuminate a dark road.
People don’t know that hydrogen-fuelled vehicles and home heating systems are already on the market, and that is the biggest obstacle to their uptake, according to Bart Biebuyck, the recently appointed executive director of the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking, a public-private partnership between the EU and the fuel cell and hydrogen industries.
Non-edible biomass could replace petrochemicals in providing energy to heat and light our homes, as well as in producing a vast array of plastics, lubricants, paints and a host of industrial chemicals, according to Dr Philippe Mengal, the recently appointed executive director of the Bio-Based Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI JU), a public-private partnership between the EU and bio-based industries.
The EU, European Member States and private companies have teamed up to boost economic competitiveness, create jobs and stimulate growth through seven public-private partnerships. They have announced EUR 1.13 billion of public funding to researchers who can help find solutions to some of the most pressing issues.
The convoying of trains could be one way to help double railway capacity and reduce carbon emissions, according to Andy Doherty, vice-chairman of the European Rail Research Advisory Council and Director of railways system engineering at Network Rail, the UK rail network operator.
Rethinking aircraft engines and new wing designs have the potential to cut carbon emissions and noise, as well as to boost Europe’s aerospace industry, according to Eric Dautriat, chief executive of the Clean Sky Joint Technology Initiative (JTI).
If we want Europe to gain market share in developing technology for smart devices like phones and tablets, we must embrace public–private partnerships, according to Dr Andreas Wild, executive director of the EU’s new Electronic Components and Systems for European Leadership (ECSEL) Joint Technology Initiative.
European pilots will be able to fold away their maps and free up their radio frequency in favour of more advanced technologies to communicate their trajectories with air traffic control, said Florian Guillermet, the executive director of the SESAR Joint Undertaking. These are just some of the ways in which SESAR, a public-private R&D partnership, is contributing to Europe’s goal of modernising its air traffic management (ATM) system and joining up its fragmented skies.
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.
High-tech algorithms alert crews to potential hijackers.
An experimental project could lead to a renewable energy market connecting the EU and North Africa.