Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Specific challenge: Current operations for the separation and fractionation of solid, gas and liquid mixtures represent on average 20-70% of the total capital and operating costs for most of the current plants in the process industry. These operations are also very energy-consuming, as they account for up to 45% of all the process energy used, for example, by the chemical and raw materials refining industries. Major improvements of these processes leading to more efficient and cost effective solutions are paramount in achieving a more sustainable European industry.

In this respect, hybrid technologies combining different techniques, such as distillation, membrane permeation, adsorption, extraction, etc. have already been applied successfully to a number of industrial processes. They can provide a cost effective solution to achieve major improvements in separation and fractionation operations, leading to waste reduction, lowering greenhouse gas emissions, and improved energy efficiency.

To realise the full potential of these technologies, further investigation and a deeper understanding are required of hybrid separation techniques (e.g. distillation, extraction, drying, crystallisation and reactive separation), in particular leading to a better understanding of how the different components interact with each other. This may also facilitate the transition from batch to continuous processes in the next generation of plants, increasing yield, purity and quality of products while improving productivity.

To enable the deployment of innovative highly-efficient separation and fractionation technologies in industry, the development of new approaches for the design and scale up of the overall production processes might also be required. If possible, these innovative approaches should regard the primary process and the downstream separation as one single, integrated process.

The aim is to provide innovative solutions for downstream processing, advance in the integration of different separation techniques into complex hybrid units and provide tools for the design of such units.

Scope: The proposals should provide a proof of economic and industrial feasibility for the new technologies. The proposed solutions should also have potential for integration in the current industrial scenario, and should be suitable for different sectors in the process industry. Important aspects that should be taken into considerations are:

-                      Compatibility with continuous processes and support for the transition from batch processes to more efficient and reliable continuous operations (where relevant).

-                      Reduction of production costs and time to market by providing tools for process and separation unit design and optimisation.

-                      Significant improvements in energy and resource efficiency.

-                      Significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

-                      Improvement in safety of the work environment.

Projects are expected to carry out demonstration activities in industrial environments aimed at proving the industrial relevance and feasibility of the proposed technologies, clearly showing the potential integration into current plants.

For this topic, proposals should include an outline of the initial exploitation and business plans, which will be developed further in the proposed project.

Wherever possible, proposers could actively seek synergies, including possibilities for funding, with relevant national / regional research and innovation programmes and/or cumulative funding with European Structural and Investment Funds in connection with smart specialisation strategies. For this purpose the tools provided by the Smart Specialization Platform, Eye@RIS3 may be useful[1]. The initial exploitation and business plans will address such synergies and/or additional funding. Exploitation plans, outline financial arrangements and any follow-up will be developed further during the project. The results of these activities as well as the envisaged further activities in this respect should be described in the final report of the project.

Activities expected to focus on Technology Readiness Levels 5-7.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU between EUR 6 and 10 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected impact:

·                Novel and cost effective separation and fractionation technologies applicable to the process industry.

·                Increasing the resource and energy efficiency for the process industries by at least 20% while leading to a significant decrease in greenhouse gas emission.

·                Strengthening the competitiveness of the European industry developing both engineering know-how as well as economically sustainable industrial processes leading to shorter time to process/market, and higher production capacity.

Type of action: Innovation Actions.

[1]; the relevant Managing Authorities can be found at</p>

Record Number: 665064 / Last updated on: 2015-03-25