The Innovation Platform Issue 13

    The thirteenth edition of The Innovation Platform explores innovation across topics such as the switch to renewable energy and battery technology, to developments in the fields of space exploration, scientific research, nuclear energy, and more.

    As we move through 2023, it is clear the world is still adjusting to the events of the previous 12 months. February marked a year since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and, with the war continuing to rage on, the impacts of the conflict are still being felt by businesses and individuals across the globe. Most notably, energy prices are continuing to soar and the increasing need to diversify supplies and achieve energy independence has heightened the demand for renewable energy and greener alternatives to replace fossil fuels. But as innovations in renewable energy and battery technologies soar, can infrastructure keep pace with demand? This is a question we address throughout this publication.

    Setting the tone for this issue, Bo Nordmark, Industrial Strategy Executive at EIT InnoEnergy Scandinavia, pens this edition’s foreword. He discusses the pressing issues facing power, transport, and industrial value chains as we work towards a decarbonised world. He also outlines what we can expect for these areas in the future.

    Electric vehicles and battery development

    Our Electric Vehicles, Battery Research and Development section features a variety of discussions surrounding some of the key cogs in today’s economy. Essential for use in renewable technology, electric vehicles, and high-tech devices, battery metals are in the spotlight more than ever right now. Within this section, we focus on several of the world’s biggest battery value chains, including Australia, Europe, and the Americas. To learn about Western Australia’s recent commitments to strengthening the future of its battery industry, I spoke to the Honourable Bill Johnston, MLA, Western Australia’s Minister for Mines and Petroleum. We also have a key feature on North America, with insights from Natural Resources Canada; Newfoundland and Labrador’s Minister of Industry, Energy, and Technology, the Honourable Andrew Parsons; and Battery Council International.

    Renewable energy

    Aside from battery development, energy is also a pressing issue currently. Kickstarting our Energy section, we take a look at energy storage – an important topic as renewable energy deployment ramps up. Delving deeper into the infrastructure debate, I spoke to Anna Darmani, Lead Analyst in Energy Storage at Wood Mackenzie, who outlined the challenges facing the energy storage market as it works to meet the demands brought about by renewables. Following on from this, we have an extensive focus on sustainable energy, with commentary on decarbonisation and renewable technologies from Paula Pinho, Director of the Directorate-General for Energy at the European Commission; Dries Acke from SolarPower Europe; Sandrine Devos from Eurofuel; and more.

    Nuclear energy

    Another highly debated energy form of late is nuclear energy, particularly due to its sustainable and low-carbon nature. In particular, fusion energy – a proposed form of power generation that would generate electricity by using heat from nuclear fusion reactions – has been in the limelight recently after scientists in the US made a major breakthrough by achieving fusion ignition for the first time. In our Nuclear Energy section, you will find a wide range of articles reflecting on this breakthrough and explaining the impact it will have on research across the world. This includes features from Massimo Garribba, Deputy Directorate-General for Energy at the European Commission; Caroline Anderson, Manager for Outreach at the Fusion Industry Association; and Lucas Mir and Antonio Vaya Soler from the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency.

    These are just some of the many interesting and thought-provoking topics covered in this edition. I hope you find this an insightful read, and I welcome your comments and suggestions for future issues.

    Georgie Purcell
    The Innovation Platform