Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


SMART Report Summary

Project ID: 517045
Funded under: FP6-NMP
Country: Germany

Final Report Summary - SMART (Foresight Action for Knowledge Based Multifunctional Materials Technology)

The objective of the SMART project was to give the scientific community and the European Commission important information about specific strengths and weaknesses in European materials technology as well as to draw a picture of materials research in the future. The aim of SMART was to create European maps of excellence in materials science and to identify most relevant materials research topics for the next two decades by data screening, interviewing and roadmapping. At the core of the SMART-strategy was a two-fold concept in which both a traditional forecast and an innovative foresight approach were followed. The SMART process can be divided into several different stages. The first stage involved data screening on the forecast side and identification of relevant studies on the foresight side. In the second stage expert interviews and analysis of studies led to further progress. In the third and final stage the roadmapping exercises combined both the forecast and foresight results by three thematic workshops.

Literature screening was used to characterize the area of materials research and to define certain subgroups.

Bibliometrics describes the application of statistical methods for the investigation of science publications. Bibliometric analyses focus more on statistics than on real content. These analyses are generated from literature databases that do not just comprise of bibliographic data but also information on the citation and response of articles.

Materials innovations are an important part of the European cultural heritage which can best be seen at the typical European Design. Industrial sectors with a high dependence on competitiveness on materials innovations are:
- Automotive industry
- Aerospace industry
- Chemical industry
- Electronics
- Textile industry
- Energy technology
- Medical technologies
- Construction
- Defence and security

- Bibliometric tools were used to obtain a benchmarking of Europe's international position in materials research.
Therefore the publication activity and the impact (CPP) of publications were considered.

The most comprehensive compendium of materials activities was published by the so called white book. While the white book followed an approach to map activities and potentials by requesting overview articles from excellent researchers, in SMART activities and excellence of materials research was identified statistical by bibliometrics and qualitatively by interviewing (reputation).

In the SMART study about 40 recent foresight studies were evaluated to extract materials of interest for the next 10 to 20 years. Unfortunately, nearly 1/3 of foresight studies could not been used because either no potential impact of the topic towards materials innovations was identifiable or they were too general. The remaining studies, both national and industrial, were investigated in detail. For this purpose, a special questionnaire was developed and used by all investigators.

In the data screening more than 300 papers were fully analysed. The analyses of these papers also led to the identification of keywords. The keywords were used to identify thematic hot spots and groups of excellence.

Materials powering Europe was one of the three focus areas in the SMART forecast process to identify future materials research needs. All focus areas were identified through the foresight process by analysing recent foresight studies connected to social, economic and safety issues. The focus of the workshop 'Materials powering Europe' was on energy, climate and natural resource issues. Within this category the SMART process was open and no topics were excluded, but emphasis was mainly on materials for energy efficiency and CO2 capture and materials for renewable energy systems.

According to fusion technology the experts noticed the limited number of new materials that might fulfil the requirements for advanced fusion technology. The defined goal at the SMART workshop of developing materials that will withstand 2000 degrees Celsius could bring up some new candidate materials for an advanced cost and waste efficient fusion technology.

Another technology, that might be ready sooner and hopefully could be realized fairly soon at a very larger scale, is CO2 capture and storage technology. This technology was identified as a key-technology; for that advances in materials research were needed. This research area was membranes for gas separation.

Even though many experts expected that CO2 capture and storage had the greatest potential to avoid a further increase of CO2 emissions, it was unclear if up scaling of this technology towards a global scale would be possible from the political, technical and economic point of view.

The future electricity transmission networks should be highly flexible fulfilling customer needs, with high efficient power generation and low or zero CO2 emissions, reliable and economic. Materials play a great role in the development of the future power cable.

The highest effects in energy savings could be realised at the source itself by increasing the efficiency in power generation and combustion processes. Further improvements in efficiency developments in gas turbines and boilers were needed.

Huge amounts of energy are produced for heating and lighting buildings, often in an unsustainable manner from fossil fuels. For this reason, energy consumption of urban areas and of buildings, in particular, must be dramatically reduced.

The first requirement is to develop a new generation of highly efficient buildings, with reduced energy demand. Reduced energy consumption must be done for both new and existing buildings. The two areas need different R&D programmes. Energy efficient buildings require new concepts and technologies to retrofit existing buildings and for affordable new buildings with very low energy consumption.

There is also a requirement for efficient and environmentally friendly construction materials. For example, innovative materials and technologies for the recycling/reuse of construction waste, reduced raw material demand and integrated life-cycle processes for flexible buildings and infrastructures.

Almost all European manufacturing sectors are largely based on the utilisation of steel in various forms. These are dominated by the construction and automotive sectors.

Fuel cells and hydrogen storage were identified as medium term requirements for energy storage. Another important area would be the development of materials for batteries often integrated with fuel cells for medium-power applications.

In the long run it is important to find non- CO2-emitting renewabels energies that can serve the exponential growing world energy demand.

Wind power can only deliver a small fraction of the global energy demand. Because of the limited capacities for wind power on land (onshore), wind parks are moving offshore. Offshore installations are a great technical challenge.

Hydropower is an established technology that accounts for a significant fraction of global electricity production. Hydropower can be obtained from potential energy or kinetic energy.

There are several different ways of waste management like landfill, recycling and conversion to energy. Due to regulations in most developed countries landfill is more and more reduced. Some fractions of the waste can be successfully recycled such as aluminium cans, glass, paper and fibres. Waste to energy is a strategy to convert waste to energy. Experts in the SMART project tended more towards realising a zero waste society by enabling biodegradable packaging materials.

Photovoltaics are seen as one of the most promising ways to produce sustainable energy since the energy produced by the sun seems to be almost inexhaustible. The best way to convert sun energy for practical uses is to use the photovoltaic effect.

Energy is a strategic resource for industrialised countries so that the development of future energy technology is of great importance for Europe. Energy safety and CO2-reduction were the main drivers in this field. The following research priorities were identified:
- Innovative gas separation membranes for CO2-capture technology.
- Corrosion resistance materials for energy technology in oxyfuel processes.
- Materials for white light emitting devices.
- Polymers and materials processing for organic light emitting devices.
- Ferritic martensic steels, vanadium-based alloys and fibre reinforced composite for future fusion technology.
- Phase change materials and MOF.
- CO2-reduction in mobility: light weight alloys, nanocomposites and biocomposites.
- Materials for superconducting devices.
- Advanced corrosion resistant (less degradable) materials for various renewable energy sources.
- Corrosion resistant materials for SOFC.
- Energy storage materials.
- Advanced joining techniques for manufacturing of wind generators.
- Ceramics for solar power tower technology.
- Materials for 3rd generation solar cells.

To identify the innovation potentials in the field of materials for a safe Europe expert interviewing and a roadmapping workshops were carried out. This field can be divided into personal protection, industrial safety, anti-counterfeiting and protection of the civil infrastructure.

It can be seen, that while materials for security applications are not at the forefront of security research, materials research is a technology enabler in the area of sensors and scanners and at the same time could be an important factor in making these technologies widely available. Smart materials, polymers and nanomaterials are on the way to revolutionizing security technology in the areas of protection by innovative armour and in the field of anti-counterfeiting. Because threats of terrorism, various peace-keeping missions world-wide and anti-counterfeiting of European products are relevant areas for European politics, materials research priorities were:
- Smart materials and nanomaterials research for protection as well as for the development of sensors to improve the security of European citizens and peacekeeping forces.
- Advanced polymers and nanomaterials for anti-counterfeiting systems to secure Europe's global market position in high added products.

To identify the innovation potentials in the field of materials aiming at improving the life of humans extensive literature research, expert interviewing and a roadmapping workshop were carried out. In this field, biomaterials for medical applications, electronic materials for information, communication and entertainment, textile materials for clothing, construction and medical applications and materials for packaging play an important role.

The identified research SMART priorities in the area of Biomaterials and Materials for Medical Applications were the following:
- Surface modification technologies for producing innovative multifunctional coatings on implants.
- New production technologies for smart materials.
- Stimuli responsive materials (especially SMP) for smart surgery tools and high-tech artificial implants.
- Materials for adaptive drug-device combinations.
- Fundamental research on heterogenous materials interfaces for prothestics to enable disabled citizens a better participation in social life.
- Identification and characterization of bioactive polymers, hydrogels, and other soft materials.
- Research on intelligent polymers and biodegradable materials.
- Improve knowledge management in biomimetics.
- Fundamental research on mechanisms directed differentiation.

Limited resources, a changing lifestyle of European citizens in a globalised world, the growing relevance of anti-counterfeiting for European industry and the aging society are the main drivers for technological innovations in packaging materials. The identified materials research tasks were:
- Nanotechnological improvements of packaging materials.
- Improving the materials performance of bio-based polymers.
- Intelligent polymers for printed electronics.
- Sustainable materials for smart packaging.

High tech textiles offer solutions for relevant societal and ecological needs. Smart textiles might offer in the midterm perspective disabled persons and ill people a new quality of life and more privacy. The bottleneck in smart textiles is to produce materials cost efficient and make them sustainable. Technical textiles are an important factor in improving medical heathcare and making medicine in an aging society affordable. Also will technical textiles like geotextiles be an important factor in the terraforming to adapt today's landscapes and infrastructures to a changing environment. Therefore materials research priorities in the area of high tech textile materials were:
- Intelligent polymers for smart textiles.
- Nanotechnological improvement of technical textiles.

Related information


Gerd SCHUMACHER, (Head of International Materials)
Tel.: +49-2461613545
Fax: +49-2461612398
Follow us on: RSS Facebook Twitter YouTube Managed by the EU Publications Office Top