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Research Project

SUNER-C: solar fuels and sustainable chemicals

Running from 2022 to 2025.
Funded by HORIZON-CL4-2021-RESILIENCE-01-16.

The EU-funded SUNER-C project (HORIZON-CL4-2021-RESILIENCE-01-16, project ID 101058481) develops an innovation eco-system, uniting science, business, societal and other relevant stakeholders around a common vision and technological roadmap, to accelerate the introduction of solar fuels and chemicals as key element towards the EU 2050 target of net-zero emissions.

To mitigate climate change, our society must reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and find solutions to move away from fossil resources, while undergoing a gradual transition from a linear to a circular economy. To this end, the deployment of renewable energy needs to be supplemented with technologies for the large-scale production of sustainable chemical energy carriers such as green hydrogen and carbon-based fuels and chemicals. This is necessary to efficiently store renewable energy, supply fuels to sectors and processes that are difficult to electrify, and create non-fossil carbon feedstock for the chemical industry. In fact, solar energy can be used to transform abundantly available compounds such as carbon dioxide, water and nitrogen into renewable fuels, materials and chemicals. These so-called solar fuels and chemicals are most often analogous to their fossil counterparts and can be incorporated into the existing energy value chains with minimal adjustments to the existing infrastructure. Thus, solar fuels provide drop-in solutions to help society to transition toward circularity, increase Europe’s energy sovereignty and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

To accelerate innovation in the sector of solar fuels and chemicals, the 3-year SUNER-C programme entitled “SUNERGY Community and eco-system for accelerating the development of solar fuels and chemicals” has been funded by the European Union (EU). The SUNER-C consortium is a unique and balanced partnership of 31 organisations, bringing together a large diversity of partners, expertise, fields, and representatives of all the EU regions. The consortium consists of 13 academic partners, 13 industrial companies, 4 network organisations and federations, and 1 Non-Governmental Organisation.

The overarching objective of the SUNER-C project is to create an inclusive innovation community and ecosystem that builds on the current SUNERGY network and includes new stakeholders across Europe. Bringing together fundamental and applied knowledge from various sectors of the society as well as often unique resources, the enhanced community will prepare a large-scale European joint action. The goal is to overcome scientific, technological, organizational and socio-economic challenges, accelerate innovation in solar fuels and chemicals, and enable the transition of existing and future technologies from laboratory and demonstrator level to industrial-scale application.

The SUNER-C consortium will also work on the development of a strategic roadmap towards the broad implementation of solar fuels and chemicals, with supporting strategies for innovation and exploitation, with a firm focus on cross-cutting and socio-technical aspects.

This project is part of the SUNERGY pan-European initiative that aims at becoming a large European Research and Innovation initiative working towards the conversion and storage of renewable energy into fossil-free fuels and chemicals. By using energy from renewable sources and abundantly available molecules such as carbon dioxide, water, nitrogen, it wants to produce solar fuels, e-fuels and chemicals that contribute to a climate-neutral Europe.

The Centre for Sustainable Development focusses on identifying socio-technical controversies revolving around the technologies considered by SUNER-C.

More information:


The politics of the circular economy

Our contributors in this project


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