Materials for the Energy Transition

Working with the materials community to roadmap solutions for the UK's net-zero Energy Transition

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In May 2019 the UK Government became the first global economy to set a net-zero emissions target for 2050, upgrading the previous target of delivering an 80% cut in emissions. The move followed the publication of the Committee on Climate Change’s (CCC) ‘Net-Zero’ report

In response, the Henry Royce Institute (Royce) for advanced materials, in collaboration with the Institute of Physics (IOP), has convened the academic and industrial materials research communities to explore the increasingly critical role of novel materials and processes to deliver affordable, reliable and above all, green energy. The output is a series of detailed technology roadmaps that set out how UK materials science can contribute to the UK’s low carbon energy transition in the following areas:

  • Materials for Photovoltaic Systems
  • Materials for Low-Carbon Production of Hydrogen and Related Energy Carriers and Chemical Feedstocks
  • Thermoelectric Energy Conversion Materials
  • Caloric Energy Conversion Materials
  • Materials for Low Loss Electronics

“These important materials roadmaps demonstrate, in detail, how cutting-edge materials science and engineering will play a key role this major energy transition.  Novel materials will be essential to deliver the disruptive technologies that will bring about the energy-efficient applications and processes we urgently need in order to achieve our 2050 net-zero goal.

What is particularly exciting is that the roadmaps show that many of these next generation materials are already showing great potential, and our challenge is to deploy them at scale. We now need to have a meaningful dialogue with our Government partners to agree on what is technically feasible and economically viable, and most importantly, what will get us to our pressing net-zero target in the shortest timeframe possible and with the greatest benefit to the UK.”

Baroness Brown of Cambridge | Chair | Henry Royce Institute

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Baroness Brown of Cambridge, Royce Chair

Materials for the Energy Transition Roadmapping Process

From March 2020 through to June 2020, the materials community convened through workshops, community-led activities. Using a robust roadmapping methodology developed by the Institute for Manufacturing five technology roadmaps have been produced, setting out where materials research can make a significant impact on greenhouse gas emissions. Click here to read more about the roadmapping process.

Materials for the Energy Transition Roadmap Webinar

In June 2020, the Materials for the Energy Transition Steering Group led a Roadmap Webinar to update the materials community, policymakers and research councils on the initiative. The event was opened by Baroness Brown of Cambridge with keynote presentations from internationally renowned materials experts and presentations on the five roadmap areas from the Technical Leads. Click here to view the Roadmap Webinar from 15 June 2020.

Executive Summary

The event was also used to launch an Executive Summary of the five Materials for the Energy Transition roadmaps which can be viewed here.


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Manish Chhowalla

Isobel Hogg | Institute of Physics

Programme Manager

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Dr Amy Nommeots-Nomm | Imperial College London

Research Development Manager

Dr Lata Sahonta | University of Cambridge 

Programme Manager

Dr Katharina Zeissler | University of Leeds 

Research & Innovation Manager