Proposals are expected to develop technologies applying non-conventional energy sources to processes of high industrial interest. The concepts proposed should:
- Show potential for integration in a renewable electricity grid, and consider the relevant limitations (fluctuating nature of the electricity stream);
- Provide significant advantages in terms of resource and energy efficiency, compared to the current state of the art processes (or similar ones, as relevant);
- Provide improved flexibility, working at variable throughputs without major losses in the overall process performance;
- Be applicable to continuous processes and/or show potential enabling the replacement of current batch ones;
- Consider, where relevant, the possibility for containerised and/or mobile (e.g. biomass in situ processing) technologies;
- Consider Life Cycle Assessment proving a reduced environmental footprint;
- Consider replicability and scalability of the proposed concepts.
Activities should start at TRL 4 and achieve TRL 6 at the end of the project.
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.
Non-conventional energy sources, such as microwave, plasma, ultrasound and laser, as well as electrochemical and photochemical processes, have already been applied in process intensification, mainly at lab scale, showing significant improvements in process performance (e.g. improved selectivity, crystal nucleation, reaction speed easing raw material demand) for the benefit of energy efficiency. The processes powered by non-conventional energy sources are suitable for connection to the electricity grid. They allow variable throughputs to better follow market demand and enable leaner production paradigms (e.g. decreased stock, production on demand). Such technologies are suitable for downscaling and continuous processing, where they can also be coupled with real time monitoring allowing a finer control of the transformations.
- Allowing for a -30% to +30% energy input within RES fluctuations timeframes, without significant losses in specific energy efficiency;
- Improvement in energy efficiency of 30%;
- Improvement in resource efficiency of 30%;
- Decrease in CO2 emissions by 40% (without considering the electricity generation and at steady state);
- Decreased OPEX and CAPEX by 15%;
- Effective dissemination of major innovation outcomes to the current and the next generation of employees of the SPIRE sectors, through the development of learning resources with flexible usability. These should be ready to be easily integrated in existing curricula and modules for undergraduate level and lifelong learning programs.
Relevant indicators and metrics, with baseline values, should be clearly stated in the proposal.