iKNOW ERA Toolkit

Applications of Wild Cards and Weak Signals to the Grand Challenges & Thematic Priorities of the European Research Area

Funded by Directorate-General for Research and Innovation Socio-economic Sciences and Humanities 


Display Wild Cards & Weak Signals

The Energy theme has a total budget of € 2.4 billion. Energy research aims to accelerate the development of cost-effective technologies for a more sustainable energy economy for Europe (and the rest of the world) and ensuring that European industry can compete successfully on the global stage. European-funded Energy research focuses on:

1. Hydrogen and fuel cells - supporting EU fuel cell and hydrogen industries, for stationary, portable and transport applications.

2. Renewable electricity generation - technologies to increase overall conversion efficiency, cost efficiency and reliability, driving down the cost of electricity production.

3. Renewable fuel production - fuel production systems and conversion technologies.

4. Renewables for heating and cooling - technologies for cheaper, more efficient active and passive heating and cooling from renewable energy sources.

5. CO2 capture and storage technologies for zero emission power generation - technologies reducing the environmental impact of fossil fuel use by capturing CO2.

6. Clean Coal Technologies - substantially improve power plant efficiency, reliability and reducing costs through research, development and demonstration of cleaner coal and other solid fuel conversion technologies, producing also secondary energy carriers (including hydrogen) and liquid or gaseous fuels.

7. Smart energy networks - increasing the efficiency, safety, reliability and quality of the European electricity and gas systems and networks in the context of a more integrated European energy market.

8. Energy efficiency and savings - technologies to improve energy efficiency and to enable final and primary energy consumption savings, over their life-cycle, for buildings (including lighting), transport, services and industry.

9. Knowledge for energy policy making - tools, methods and models to assess the economic and social issues related to energy technologies and to provide quantifiable targets and scenarios for medium and long term horizons.

10. Horizontal programme actions - the topics described in this section have a horizontal character not linked specifically to any particular technology. 

Emerging themes and issues 

Energy security is a huge issue confronting Europe, and energy systems are implicated in climate change through their CO2 emissions. They are complex and highly interdependent systems on which all sorts of social and economic activity rely, yet there is great controversy around the safety of key elements – most notably nuclear power stations and their ancillary operations.  Many ways of improving their efficiency are under consideration, but often these confront obstacles related to the complexity and multiple stakeholders involved in the systems – yet systemic change may well be necessary.

Click on the Display Wild Cards / Weak Signals button above to see selected issues associated to this theme.