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Energy and resource management systems for improved efficiency in the process industries

Specific challenge:manufacturing sustainability has been improved considerably in environmental, economic and social terms, by sharing resources (e.g. plants, energy, water, residues and recycled materials) through the integration of multiple production units of a single company or multiple companies on a single industrial production site. Nevertheless, a more general cross-sectorial interaction is needed for a major impact within the process industry. This could take a long time to achieve and the aim is to pave the way for future cross-sectorial interactions and potentialities in the development of holistic measurements and activities. 

Currently, poor understanding of each other's processes is hindering the development of technical and non-technical interactions and exchanges, which are necessary for industry to properly face the challenges.

Scope:Projects should enable the implementation of a broad variety of technologies, encompassing a wide range of disciplines, such as fundamental science, and plant engineering and management. The integration into a single management system of all these environmental, energy and economic factors is key for the improvement in efficiency of the process industries.

The proposed research should focus on the following areas:

-       Analysis and optimisation tools for flexible energy use and material flow integration should be developed, aiming at a holistic approach for resource management in process industries, suitable both for small and large scale in a flexible approach. To facilitate a proper dissemination and use, it is expected that standards-based software for measuring critical footprint issues and relevant data used into the daily routine of the plants/clusters will be developed.

-       Rapid transfer from lab-scale and conceptual design into testing at demonstration sites, using realistic industrial streams and process conditions. Pilot tests should focus on integrated solutions and tools adapted to the specific conditions in real production units. This will facilitate future industrial symbiosis between different sectors, by integrating energy and material flows within existing industrial parks.

-       New approaches that perform cost-saving optimisation of energy and resources supply and demand, in order to reduce the residues and costs in intensive industries, taking into consideration both economical and sustainability constraints.

Prototypes and pilot implementations in real industrial settings represent a clear added-value.

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

Activities expected to focus on Technology Readiness Levels 4-6. A significant participation of SMEs with R&D capacities is encouraged.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU between EUR 3 and 6 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:

                Holistic energy and resource management systems should facilitate significant gains in sustainable processing with regard to several parameters (resource efficiency, energy efficiency and the emission performance).

                Optimisation of interdependencies and the identification of technology components allowing for a breakthrough regarding a cost effective reduction in the use of resources, which overcomes the difficult cross-company collaboration.

Optimisation of energy and resources supply and demand in selected areas should reduce the overall costs in energy intensive industries by at least 15%, by taking into consideration both economic and sustainability factors.

Type of action: Research & Innovation Actions