The energy and mobility sectors are affected by a rapid and consistent change in the mix of sources and reference energy carriers with the increasing use of Renewable Energy Sources (RES). This objective is achieved through the study and development of processes and technologies able of achieving a progressive replacement of fossil fuels with energy carriers from RES. In this context, research is focused on the efficient synthesis of e-fuels, solar-fuels and biofuels such as, for example, hydrogen, methane, alcohols, ammonia, and liquid biofuels. This approach is in line with the studies on energy vectors produced in the context of long supply chains for the energy enhancement of residual biomass and wastes, with a view to “cascading use” of the biogenic source. In parallel to the research on energy storage from RES in energy carriers with high added value, the peculiar characteristic of non-programmable intermittence of the most important RES, such as wind and solar, is also addressed through the development of technologies and storage strategies, control and management of flows from diversified sources and of the energy mix.
Despite the progressive increase in the use of RES, fossil fuels will continue to represent a significant part of the energy mix in the near future. This is both to meet the timing of conversion of industrial plants and for the resilience aspects of energy production with respect to the peculiar non-programmability of RES. In this context, the use of fossil fuels is studied with the aim of increasing efficiency of energy conversion processes also by reducing climate-altering emissions. The activities carried out in this area concern the development of retrofitting and upgrading strategies for existing technologies; the development of technologies for the capture, use and storage of CO2 (CCUS – Carbon Capture Utilization and Storage); the synthesis of new materials for the storage, use and direct integration of energy from RES.
The introduction of new energy vectors that influence the polluting emissions of thermochemical processes, as well as the need to increase the environmental sustainability of the energy supply chains, also makes the development of monitoring and reduction systems for gaseous pollutants and solid particles more and more current.