A roadmap for clean energy

SUNRISE releases its technological roadmap to facilitate the transition to a circular economy powered by sunlight through the sustainable production of fuels and chemicals

The constant flow of energy and material goods, obtained from natural resources such as fossil fuels, minerals and biomass, leads to the production of large amounts of waste often difficult to handle. Such a linear economic system is not sustainable and is having negative effects for our planet, as exemplified by the uncontrolled release of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere, which alterates climate stability with vast environmental, societal and economic consequences.

 

SUNRISE project aims to provide a sustainable alternative, thanks to its recently released technological roadmap which is the result of the integrated knowledge of a broad group of scientists across Europe and a key step to engage the whole community towards building a climate-neutral EU.

With the release of this key outcome, SUNRISE aims to promote a large-scale research initiative to provide short and long-term solutions to enable the transition to a circular economy powered by sunlight through the sustainable production of fuels and chemicals.

 

Indeed, SUNRISE overall aims to provide a sustainable alternative to the fossil-based, energy-intensive production of fuels and base chemicals. The needed energy will be provided by sunlight and the raw materials will be molecules abundantly available in the atmosphere, such as carbon dioxide, oxygen and nitrogen. Therefore, SUNRISE  will address the scientific, technological and societal challenges to accomplish the recycling of CO2 into a variety of products, the combination of nitrogen with hydrogen to produce ammonia for fertilizers and, more generally, the direct solar-powered production of fuels and platform chemicals.

 

As Carina Faber, leader of SUNRISE roadmapping team says, “SUNRISE’s main objective is to facilitate a carbon-neutral society by using abundantly available molecules – carbon dioxide, water and nitrogen – to replace fossil-based raw materials for the production of a broad range of chemicals and fuels. In this way, our initiative targets a sustainable CO2 cycle, committing to the sustainable use of natural resources and land.”

 

Photo by Karsten Würth (@karsten.wuerth) on Unsplash