Moonshot organises first industrial Advisory Boards

In March and April, Moonshot will host its first industrial Advisory Board meetings. In these meetings, the consortia behind the Moonshot projects will inform interested companies about the status of their research. Companies, on the other hand, will have the opportunity to provide feedback to steer the research. The aim? Achieving maximal industrial relevance for the Moonshot projects!

Industry-driven research

Moonshot research is pursued at Flemish universities and knowledge institutes, who are responsible for the scientific development of the disruptive and innovative Moonshot technologies. In a later phase, however, these technologies will have to be deployed on an industrial scale and be implemented by companies. To make sure its research will lead to an actual reduction of industrial CO2 emissions, Moonshot actively involves companies in its operations through, amongst others, industrial Advisory Board meetings.

During these meetings, the universities and knowledge institutes will present the status of their research and share the interesting results obtained thus far. Meanwhile, participating companies have an opportunity to follow up on Moonshot projects from a front-row seat, guide the research by providing industrial input, discover and valorise innovative technologies in an early stage, and identify opportunities for the future.

Timing & Agenda

One virtual Advisory Board meeting will be organised for each of the four Moonshot Research Trajectories (MOTs). Click the links below to see the detailed agenda of each meeting.

MOT1 Biobased Chemistry AB
2 April (10h00-12h30)

MOT2 Circularity of Carbon in Materials AB
11 March (14h00-16h30)

MOT3 Electrification & Radical Process Transformation AB
19 March (13h00-16h00)

MOT4 Energy Innovation AB
24 March (14h00-16h30)

Please note that in this first series of meetings, only cSBO projects approved in 2019 will be discussed in detail. Projects approved in 2020 will only start as of 1 March 2021 and will therefore be included in a second series of meetings in the fall of this year.

Participation

Is your company interested in participating in one or more of the Advisory Board meetings? Please contact Merten De Kinderen (mdekinderen@catalisti.be) for more information on the registration procedure.

13 projects ready for take-off

As of 1 March 2021, no less than 13 new Moonshot projects will start their research into technologies, processes and products that will help Flemish companies become more sustainable and significantly reduce their CO2 emissions by 2050. To fund the projects, the Flemish government has set aside over 19 million euro.

From green butadiene to CO2 conversion technologies

All new projects, which were approved by VLAIO in late 2020, once again fit into the four overarching Moonshot Research Trajectories (MOTs) on biobased chemistry, circulairty of carbon in materials, electrification & radical process transformation, and finally energy innovation. The spectrum of research topics covered by the new projects is broad, and ranges from the production of green butadiene, over the upcycling of multilayered packaging materials, to CO2 conversion technologies and the development of high-temperature heat pumps.

Check the full overview of Moonshot projects to learn more about the new series of projects approved in late 2020.

Industry-driven research

The strategic basic research within Moonshot is pursued at Flemish universities and knowledge institutes, who are responsible for the scientific development of the disruptive and innovative Moonshot technologies. In a later phase, however, these technologies will have to be deployed on an industrial scale and be implemented by companies. To make sure its research will lead to an actual reduction of industrial CO2 emissions, Moonshot actively involves companies, and in particular the chemical, petrochemical and steel sectors, in its operations through, amongst others, industrial Advisory Boards.

19 million euro

Starting as of 1 March 2021, the projects have a duration of 18 up to 48 months. They are funded by the Flemish government, totalling 19 million euro in future-oriented subsidies. Until 2040, the Flemish government will provide up to 20 million euro in funding for Moonshot each year.

New Moonshot projects approved

VLAIO, the Flemish Agency for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, has approved 13 new Moonshot projects. This is the second series of projects to get approval since Moonshot took off in 2019. Within the projects, Flemish knowledge institutions will carry out industry-driven, strategic basic research that will help make Flemish industries carbon-circular and low in CO2 by 2050. To fund the projects, the Flemish government set aside over 19 million euro in subsidies. The projects were realized with support from VLAIO and under the direction of Catalisti, the spearhead cluster for the Flemish chemical and plastics sector.

In 2020, Moonshot launched a first series of 12 research projects, aiming to make Flemish industries more sustainable by 2050. Concrete results have already emerged from these projects in recent weeks. Researchers at KU Leuven and UAntwerpen have, for example, discovered an innovative and CO2-free production method for ammonia as part of the P2C project.

A second project series

A second series of 13 Moonshot projects has now also been approved by VLAIO, worth 19 million euros in subsidies. These approved projects will start from 1 March 2021 onwards and have a duration of 18 to 48 months. These are all cSBO projects that focus on strategic basic research at Flemish universities and knowledge institutions, where disruptive innovative ideas will be scientifically developed and then, in a later phase, deployed on an industrial scale. To this end, Moonshot actively involves industries, and in particular the chemical, petrochemical and steel sectors, in its operations.

With this new series of Moonshot projects, we are again pursuing promising innovations that will contribute to a climate-friendly Flemish industry and help us realize the 2050 climate ambitions. In this respect, all projects are in line with the recommendations from the recently published roadmap study/context analysis. – Jan Van Havenbergh, managing director Catalisti

Research in 4 trajectories

The new projects all fit into the four research trajectories (MOTs), which represent the most promising transition paths towards the 2050 ambition: a Flemish industry that is carbon circular and low in CO2.

More projects in the pipeline

New Moonshot projects will come out of the pipeline every year. The Flemish government will provide 20 million euro in financial support for this purpose, each year until 2040. Between 2020 and 2040, this will amount to no less than 400 million euro in future-oriented subsidies.

Mapped: transition paths towards 2050

Carbon circular and low in CO2 by 2050: that’s the challenge facing the energy-intensive industry in Flanders. To make this challenge concrete, an expert consortium led by Deloitte presented a roadmap study/context analysis commissioned by VLAIO, the Flemish Agency for Innovation & Entrepreneurship. This study maps potential transition paths for the industrial climate transition and formulates associated policy recommendations. Moreover, the study also forms a benchmark for the Moonshot Research Trajectories. Catalisti, the spearhead cluster for Flemish chemical and plastics sector and host of Moonshot, actively contributed to this study.

The industrial climate objectives of the Flemish government are ambitious: a Flemish industry that is carbon circular and low in CO2 by 2050. To make this ambition concrete, Flemish minister for Economy and Innovation Hilde Crevits and VLAIO commissioned an expert consortium led by Deloitte to map potential transition paths for the Flemish industry based on a roadmap study/context analysis. In addition to Deloitte, VUB-IES, AMS and Climact also participated in the study, with support from the Wuppertal Institute.

Transition paths for chemicals, petrochemicals and steel

Over the past year, the expert consortium researched possible trajectories of the industrial transition, with a focus on promising technologies. This way, the path towards 2050 is being mapped in concrete terms.

The study, however, does not provide ready-made solutions, but emphasizes that industrial efforts are mainly needed in the following areas:
  • use of biomass as a feedstock or as an energy source
  • circular use of plastics through mechanical and chemical recycling
  • transformations of processes via electrification and the direct use of H2
  • capture and (re)use of emitted CO2 (CCS/CCU)
Depending on a number of breakthroughs and conditions, a CO2 reduction of 80 to 90% could be possible by 2050. In this context, particular attention is paid to the chemical, petrochemical and steel sectors. Together, these sectors account for 90% of Flemish industrial CO2 emissions that fall under the EU ETS system for emissions trading.

Moonshot

The study’s conclusions clearly underline the importance of the Moonshot initiative. The study confirms the research trajectories as outlined by Catalisti at the start of Moonshot, yet also identifies some points for improvement.

From climate ambition to action

In recent years, the energy-intensive Flemish sectors have already significantly reduced their CO2 emissions. Between 2005 and 2019, emissions in these sectors decreased by 11%. In the chemical sector by almost 27%! This effort will have to be intensified in the coming years. In addition to existing technologies, there is a need for thorough and disruptive innovation in new CO2-reducing technologies.

Moonshot stands ready to support the climate transition of our sector through collaborative innovation projects. Together with industries, knowledge partners and the Flemish government, we will translate climate ambition into action. – Jan Van Havenbergh, managing director Catalisti

Breakthrough in CO2-free production of ammonia

The production of ammonia, an essential chemical building block that is used in synthetic fertilisers, among other things, is one of the main sources of CO2 emissions. In the context of the Moonshot project P2C, researchers from KU Leuven and the University of Antwerp have now discovered an alternative, innovative and CO2-free production method.

The production of ammonia is associated with substantial CO2 emissions. In the chemical industry in Flanders, ammonia synthesis accounts for 15% of emissions. Ammonia production is mainly based on the Haber-Bosch process, employing a mixture of nitrogen gas and hydrogen gas, which is then converted into ammonia by means of high temperature and pressure. The use of natural gas, as a source for hydrogen gas, leads to CO2 emissions. Researchers have now developed an alternative method based on plasma technology.

“By combining plasma technology with concepts from the automotive industry, we can produce ammonia in a sustainable way. And the great thing is that the necessary raw materials, air and water, are available always and everywhere. In addition, for the production of the plasma, you can use renewable electricity from solar or wind energy.” – Johan Martens, KU Leuven.

You can read the full article about this innovative breaktrought via
https://nieuws.kuleuven.be/en/content/2020/researchers-achieve-breakthrough-in-production-of-ammonia-without-co2-emissions

The P2C project is a collaboration between KU Leuven, the University of Antwerp, Ghent University and VITO.

Industriële innovatie als duurzame klimaatoplossing

“Dankzij doorgedreven innovatie kon de chemie- en plasticssector haar CO2-uitstoot de afgelopen decennia al sterk terugbrengen. Moonshot geeft deze innovatiedrive een extra duwtje in de rug.”

In de meest recente editie van FOKUS Research & Development wordt het Moonshot-initiatief kort voorgesteld. Lees het artikel op https://issuu.com/smartmediabelgium/docs/fokusr_d_sep2020, of klik op de afbeelding hieronder.

Broad Industrial Interest in Moonshot

Last June, 18 Moonshot project proposals were submitted to VLAIO. Nearly 100 companies expressed broad industrial interest in these proposals by signing a Letter of Intent.

On 15 June 2020, a new series of 18 Moonshot project proposals was submitted to VLAIO (Flanders Innovation & Entrepreneurship). In total, these proposals represent a requested budget of more than 27,5 million euro. In the coming months, all project proposals will pass through a multi-step evaluation procedure to gauge whether or not they are fit for execution. This procedure includes a peer review by a panel of independent, international academic experts, an exhaustive evaluation by the Moonshot Scientific Advisory Board, and a final decision by the Moonshot Governance Board. The definitive list of approved projects will then be finalized in November 2020.

Highlighting broad industrial interest in Moonshot, nearly 100 companies, from big multinationals to local start-ups, signed Letters of Intent (LOI) to express their support for the project proposals. These LOIs allow participating companies to follow up on Moonshot projects from a front-row seat, to guide Moonshot research by providing industrial input, to discover innovative technologies in an early stage, and to identify opportunities for the future. Interested in joining your peers around the Moonshot table? Simply contact moonshot@catalisti.be to receive more information about the Moonshot LOI.

Update: From 2-Pagers to Project Proposals

In February of this year, 38 Moonshot project ideas across all Moonshot Research Trajectories (MOTs) were submitted by Flemish universities and research institutes in the form of 2-pagers. In total, a budget of 51.7 mio EUR was requested for 27 sprint cSBOs and 11 regular cSBOs.

After appreciation by the MOT core teams, advice by DB Catalisti (and Flux50 for MOT4) and a decision by BoD Catalisti (and again Flux50 for MOT4), only 19 project ideas remain, totaling a requested budget of 29.8 mio EUR (12 sprint cSBOs and 7 full cSBOs). These 19 project ideas are currently being elaborated into detailed project proposals to be submitted on 15 June 2020 for the final stages of evaluation.

Furthermore, a Moonshot context analysis/roadmap study is currently being conducted by Deloitte. Goal of this study is to identify the most important opportunities for Flemish research institutes and companies to develop the technological innovations necessary for a carbon-smart climate transition. The study is expected to conclude in July 2020.

Update: Priorities, Pools and 2-Pagers

Currently, a new set of Moonshot projects is already taking shape. In 2020, both sprint cSBO and regular cSBO projects, focussing on priority themes, can be submitted. These priority themes were formulated based on input from industrial partners. For each Moonshot Research Trajectory (MOT), broad pools of academics and other experts sat down together in early February to pitch possible project ideas. These ideas are now being translated into two-pagers. Deadline for submission of these two-pagers, through the respective MOT core teams, is 28 February 2020.

Missed this year’s submission opportunity? No problem! Project generation through the MOT pools guarantees an open discussion and inspiration forum for all relevant expertise. They can be your platform for pitching a new Moonshot-relevant topic or idea for next year’s submission. Contact moonshot@catalisti.be if you wish to be included in the pool of a specific MOT.

Flemish government approves 12 Moonshot projects

The Flemish government has approved a first series of projects within the Moonshot initiative. In total, 9 cSBO and 3 LSI projects received support worth more than 18 million euro. With this support, Flemish universities and other research institutes can start working on breakthrough technologies and ground-breaking innovations to make Flemish industries carbon circular and low in CO2 by 2050.

The Flemish government has approved a first series of projects within the Flanders Industry Innovation Moonshot. In this ambitious industrial innovation programme hosted by Catalisti, Flemish universities, research institutes and industries join hands to develop breakthrough technologies by 2040 to create new climate-friendly processes and products. These new technologies will enable Flemish industries to become carbon circular and low in CO2 by 2050. This way, Flemish industries contribute to meeting Flanders’ European and international climate commitments.

It is a big responsibility to take the lead in in this ground-breaking research programme, in cooperation with research institutes, industries and other spearhead clusters. The Moonshot initiative is the start of a long tour of discovery with an uncertain outcome. That’s just the inherent risk in innovation. – Jan Van Havenbergh, managing director of Catalisti

The projects approved by the Flemish government include 9 cSBO projects and 3 LSI projects. cSBO (Strategic Basic Research for clusters) projects involve innovative research that tests disruptive ideas. This research is pursued through intensive collaboration between UGent, KULeuven, UAntwerpen, VUB, UHasselt, VITO and Centexbel. cSBO projects within the Moonshot initiative have a maximum duration of 18 months. LSI (Later Stage Innovation) projects, on the other hand, aim to accelerate research opportunities that have already proven their feasibility at low TRL. Each LSI project has a maximum duration of 36 months. All approved projects will kick off no later than April 2020.

In the meantime, Catalisti is already shaping the next series of Moonshot projects. From 2020 up to 2040, the Flemish government will invest 20 million euro in Moonshot projects every single year, totalling 400 million euro worth of support and translating climate ambition into action.

Check the full list of projects via:
https://moonshotflanders.be/project-overview-results/

Or read the press release by VLAIO (in Dutch) via:
https://www.vlaio.be/nl/nieuws/moonshot-vlaanderen-co2-arm-2050