Towards a greener and smarter transport

The transport sector is the second largest emitter of greenhouse gasses in the EU but nanotechnologies and other advanced materials can help change this. Employed across a variety of platforms, innovations in the transport industry are seeking to address the major societal, environmental and economic challenges on the road ahead, cutting CO2 emissions by twenty percent compared to 1990s levels by the year 2020.

On March 8th, the European Road Transport Research Advisory Council (ERTRAC) gathered for its annual conference on the future of the european transport system and set it out its long term goal for sustainability: one hundred percent renewable energies for transport by the year 2050! At EuroNanoForum 2017, we’ll be looking at the role that nanotechnology and advanced materials have to play in the development of smart, green and integrated transportation and the impacts it could have on resources, the environment, human health and our quality of living. Joining us to talk about these developments on June 22 ENF brings on stage key experts such as Berthold Hellenthal from Audi in Plenary Session 2, Winfried Keiper from Robert Bosch GmbH, Joseph Cilia from Abertax Technologies, Keith Simons from Elastopoli in Session 6 “Nanotechnology in smart, green and integrated transportation” and Ilkka Varjos from Canatu in Session 2 “Nanotechnology applications for electronics”.

A primary objective in revolutionising the transport sector is decarbonisation. For nanotechnology, one of the busiest research fields is around applications for enhancing fuel efficiency. For instance, nanocomposite materials for weight reduction, advanced coatings that reduce friction and drag, new catalysts for improving fuel combustion and consumption and better fuel cell efficiency. But that’s only one side of the story. Using a systems approach to looks at vehicles, energies, infrastructure and services all together, ERTRAC has mapped out a future where decarbonisation in the European transport system goes hand in hand with digitalisation. In the gradual move toward automated transport, nanomaterials will play a crucial part in the sensing and electronic technologies that allow the components of an integrated transport infrastructure to communicate effectively with each other.

A smart, green and integrated transport system is essential for a successful Europe, or indeed any economy in the future. The movement of people and goods keeps the world spinning and nanotechnology will keep both the people and the goods moving in a smarter, greener and more integrated fashion than ever before.