Held in Chianciano Terme, Italy on July 5-8, the Forum 2008 of the World Academy of Ceramics (WAC) addressed one of the most critical problems of the XXIth century: energy. Specifically, discussion focused on the present and prospective role ceramics may play in the development of ecocompatible energy systems "Ceramic Materials in Energy Systems for Sustainable Development".
Numerous members of the World Academy of Ceramics convened at the Forum from Europe, North and South America and Australasia. A limited number of guest members able to effectively contribute to Forum discussions were also admitted.
The Inaugural Session, chaired by Giovanni De Maria, University of Rome, Italy, who apologized unability to attend by WAC Council Chairman, included welcome speeches by Francois Baumard (President of WAC International Advisory Board), Guido Bombagli (Mayor of Chianciano Terme), the illustration of the main scientific guidelines of the Forum by Ludwig Gauckler (President of Forum 2008 Committee), the introduction ceremony of the new WAC Members elected at the 11th and 12th Election and the handling over the Awards to the WAC Prize 2008 Laureates that recognized for the Class "Science" Alexander G. Merzhanov e Inna Borovinskaya (ISMAN, Russian Academy of Sciences, Russia), for their very significant achievement in the science and innovative processing following the discovery of the Self Combustion Synthesis (SHS) processes, and for the Class "Industry & Innovation" Hiroshi Ichikawa (Nippon Carbon Co, Japan) for the ideation and industrial development of exceptionally well performing, high temperature silicon carbide fibers (Nicalon and Hi-nicalon) for use in composites for high temperature/high stress applications.
Availability of suitable materials is a must in practically all aspects of energy: production, storage, distribution, saving and cost. Among them ceramics play a key role as an "enabling technology" for most of the present and foreeseable advanced energy system.
The 15 Keynotes selected as basis for discussion by the Forum Committee headed by Ludwig Gauckler (ETH Zürich, Switzerland) matched some of the most important aspects related to the role of ceramics in energy problems: global energy supply and demand (Maria Rosa Virdis, Italy); electrochemical energy conversion systems (Ulf Bossel, Switzerland; Kohmei Halada, Japan; Michael Jorger, UK; Shigeto Okada, Japan); photovoltaic cells (Augustin McEvoy, Switzerland; Hans Werner Schock, Germany); ceramic materials for hydrogen technology (Andreas Züttel, Switzerland); energy applications of HTC superconductors (Yasuhiro Iijima, Japan; Alexis A. Malozemoff, USA); nuclear materials (Jochen Linke, Germany). Ceramic oxide-based mixed electronic-ionic conduction membranes and catalizers for use in energy systems were discussed in detail by Joop Schoonman (The Netherlands) and Ilan Reiss (Israel). Energy saving and pollution control in industrial cycles were accounted for by Markus Tschudin (Holcim Group, Switzerland) for the cement industry, and for the production of ceramics by Valtraud M. Kriven (USA), whose presentation was centered on geopolymers.
Forum 2008 social programme included guided tours to Pienza, Bagno Vignoni, Val d'Orcia and Montepulciano. The Closing Dinner was organized by the "Contrada di Talosa" of Montepulciano. It was particularly well received, not only for the typical Tuscan food and excellent wines, but especially for the fine and informal atmosphere. The informal dinner was served in the "Palazzo Ricci" terrace, allowing a wonderful view of the underlying valley.
The Plenary Lectures given by the Prize Laureates, the Keynote Lectures and Forum discussions will be collected in the Official Proceedings, as Vol. 7 of the "Monographs in Materials and Society" series, published by Techna Group Srl.