European Commission logo
English English
CORDIS - EU research results

Programme Category


Article available in the following languages:


Integrated approach to process optimisation for raw material resources efficiency, excluding recovery technologies of waste streams


Proposals should address the technological improvements for both continuous and batch processes to improve material and energy efficiency in the entire production route. They should also identify key bottlenecks and resource efficiency improvement opportunities that will increase yields while optimising the energy consumption of the original processes. The process review and the implementation of improvements should also significantly increase the current production rates.

Research and Innovation activities should address all of the following areas:

  • Reduction of material losses during the upstream beneficiation, the intermediate processing, the final process stages. Improvement of both the yield and the energy efficiency of the production process routes.
  • Quality and process control that ensures process stability and robustness while allowing some flexibility at the inlet conditions and the development of tools to assess the optimal combination of material input and yield control.
  • Identification and use of KPIs based on energy, water and raw material resources consumption, carbon dioxide emissions that can ensure the sustainability of the processes.
  • Mapping of the material and energy flows across the entire production system to allow for a cross-sectorial integration and optimisation.
  • Evaluation and quantification of the emissions reduction by improving yield.

The proposals must include at least one demonstrator per process in a real industrial setting.

Activities are expected to focus on Technology Readiness Levels 5 to 7 and to be centred around TRL 6.

This topic is particularly suitable for SMEs.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU between EUR 6 and 8 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Process industries are currently facing the challenge of an increase in the energy and raw materials cost, a few of them facing a relative scarcity. Raw materials resources are blended, mixed and transformed into finished products by means of different manufacturing processes. Material losses and variable yields in the different processes can mean a considerable increase in the total cost breakdown.

Input from end-of-life recycling is an important goal covered in previous Horizon 2020 Calls including the SPIRE-7-2015 topic. However, yield losses in the different production steps in process industries are still important and this leaves room for improvement (e.g. real losses in pipelines, the storage containers extraction operations, raw materials residues left in ovens, mixing bowls and mixer blades, altogether with inefficient or ineffective chemical reactions).

Improving the utilisation of raw materials resources (fluids, solids or gases) is essential to increase yields throughout the supply chain. The reduction in losses will also ensure a decrease of the environmental footprint and therefore contribute to a more sustainable industry and support the circular economy.

The challenge of a more efficient use of raw materials resources in order to deliver high performance and sustainable production must be accompanied by optimising material efficiency all along the process route and throughout the value chain.

  • At least 25% reduction in yield losses when compared to the current practice in the sector, by optimising/minimising production losses and an increased material consumption on interconnected cycles
  • At least 10% improvement in energy efficiency when compared to the current practice in the sector.
  • Identify bottlenecks and resource efficiency improvement opportunities
  • Identify knowledge gaps in the supply chain
  • Adoption of the new technological improvements for enhanced resource efficiency in industrial processes.
  • Contribution to achieving the objectives of the European Innovation Partnership on Raw Materials, in particular to the relevant impacts shown in Action I.4: Processing and refining of raw materials of the Strategic Implementation Plan[[]], as well as the circular economy objectives in general.

Proposals should include a business case and exploitation strategy, as outlined in the Introduction to the LEIT part of this Work Programme.