Approximately 90 billion tons of raw materials are extracted every year, including metals, minerals, fossil substances, and biomass.
It is known that most of these materials are in the form of non-renewable substances; such elements bring a heavy burden to the environment, society, and the climate. As a result, there are 25% of greenhouse gas emissions.
Based on these data, six Swedish universities joined together in a major initiative focused on functional materials, with funding from the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation of approximately 250 million euros.
Seeking to create the necessary conditions for a transition to a sustainable society, the Wallenberg Material Science for Sustainability initiative, WISE, will focus on four areas:
- They are advancing the conversion, storage, and distribution of clean energy throughout the entire chain, from harvesting to distribution.
- Replace rare energy-consuming and toxic substances with materials that are part of a circular sustainability chain and create circular systems for extraction, recycling, and reuse.
- To neutralize pollution, purify and protect the atmosphere, soil, and water, and contribute to a consequential reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
- Promote the discovery of unknown materials for use in tomorrow’s sustainable and efficient technology and energy-efficient applications.
According to Magnus Berggren, professor at the Laboratory of Organic Electronics at the University of Linköping and program director, functional materials are the essential components in developing green energy technology and the possibility of circular solutions.