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European Synergies and Co-operation for Sustainable vehicle along the Life-Cycle

Periodic Report Summary 2 - S_LIFE (European Synergies and Co-operation for Sustainable vehicle along the Life-Cycle)

Project Context and Objectives:
The Transport Industry has been facing worldwide major environmental challenges among which the sustainable use and management of natural resources and wastes. The path to better resource efficiency is challenged by several hurdles and it is critical to develop a more holistic and integrated approach of the entire value chain of the automotive industry.

In front of this situation, a consortium of European clusters has initiated the S_LIFE project in January 2012. This project aims at contributing to a sustainable use and management of natural resources and wastes in the automotive industry by enhancing research & innovation and developing collaboration, synergies and common strategies across Europe.

One particularity of this project is to propose an integrated approach of the entire value chain along the life cycle of the vehicle. Indeed, only such an approach will enable the whole sector to move up a gear in greening its entire life cycle from conception and construction via use, end-of-life and deconstruction to waste valorisation.

During the second period, (M19-M36) the main workload and the main achievements have been related to:
• Work Package 3: the organisation of the Joint Action Plan Rollout and creation of the Matchmaking Platform
• Work Package 4: organisation and participation to the 2nd S_LIFE public conference; and to the Final S_LIFE public conference; creation of a public “Final Report” widely disseminated
• Work Package 5: organisation and participation to three Study Visits and 2 Staff Exchanges.
• Work Package 7: collection of the impact indicators; elaboration of two assessments of project impacts at M31 and M36.
These activities were led in parallel in order to give as much flexibility as possible over 2014, last year of the project.

Project Results:
Based on a very concrete action plan, the organisation of the JAP Roll-out activities mainly consisted in distributing the roles amongst partners in order to even their workloads. The establishment of priorities was probably the most challenging task as each partner voiced different approaches. Finally, these priorities were set based on the H2020 programmes as revealed in December 2013 (M24). Partners then took the time to elaborate the structure of each action and defined some synergies in order to build ambitious projects. 2 projects were submitted under Horizon 2020 in 2014, 1 was granted funding and another 4 should be submitted for funding in 2015.

On the Matchmaking Platform, a first review of the functionalities to be found through it was held in M19. Main directions such as the number of access levels, the presence of a “project idea box” were agreed on this occasion. The actual tool was revealed to partners in M28 and following an adjustment phase was open to the public at M34.

During M19 the eCarTec and Materialica fairs with the accompanying “International Conference for Electric and Hybrid Mobility” and “International Conference for Composites” in Munich were chosen to host the S_LIFE 2nd public conference. Five speakers were able to present S_LIFE related topics over two days to a public focused mainly on electro mobility and composites in automotive and aerospace herewith highlighting the importance of resource efficiency (and not only fuel) for future vehicles as well as the current ones.
At the occasion of this conference, a first edition of the S_LIFE e-letter was issued, giving us one more communication channel towards stakeholders.

The organisation of a Final Conference in Brussels at M35 was decided in M24 and choice of targets, programme and targeting of speakers was done by M30. This one day event, entirely dedicated to the S_LIFE project, attracted near to 60 people from industry, science and authorities. It gave the attendants a clear view on both the project and its results but also on the trends and the new challenges that lay ahead.

In parallel to this the redaction of a public Final Report was decided to widen the dissemination of the project’s results. Its preparation started at M26, to see the Report published in time for a wide distribution during and after the Final Conference. A web-magazine version is available online and for download.

On Mentoring Activities, a first Staff Exchange took place at M24 between WP5 Leader and the mentee partner in order to validate the approach before other partners could get started on this activity. A subsequent workshop was held in order to finalise a WP5 planning proposal and recommendations to other partners. Shortly after this workshop, the organisation of a first Study visit for Slovenian Stakeholders was decided and immediately started for January 2015 (M25). Two more Study Visits were then planned: one held in Belgium and the Netherlands at M29 and the other to be held in Germany at M31.

As the deadline for a first impact assessment drew nearer, the utilisation of concrete indicator figures was agreed amongst partners. This decision was more complex than anticipated though delaying the finalisation of the report considerably. However, as soon as clear directions were set, the collection of subsequent impact assessment information was much facilitated. The first Report on project impact at EU level was finalised at M31. The second version of the impact assessment was nonetheless delivered on time at M36.

Potential Impact:
The Joint Action Plan (JAP) provides a list of:
• 5 support actions of a synergetic nature, such as development of meaningful communication and education tools, conferences and exchange programmes
• 10 R&D actions based upon specific R&D bottlenecks in automotive material efficiency (identified in the SRA)

The consortium also monitored the possible funding sources for these actions and identified several opportunities which were relevant to the JAP. A detailed Global Roadmap has been drafted with all the useful indications for the future implementation of Joint Actions.
Ongoing and future calls for proposals under Horizon 2020 which could contribute to the financing of part of the actions of JAP, or promote new results have been identified.

At the end of the project (December 2014, M36), the consortium had the following results regarding the implementation of the JAP:
• Action 1.3: “Matchmaking Platform to improve the network among industrial & academic players” is open to stakeholders along the value chain. This action led to the launch of 2 complementary tools: the Matchmaking Platform (MMP) and the Matchmaking Tool (MMT) on the other.
• 1 proposal has been funded: New_Innonet (Near-zero European Waste Innovation Network)
• 1 proposal is currently on the Reserve List of the H2020 Waste 3 call
• A curriculum on dismantling (related to the implementation of action 2.9) has been initiated and partly funded by ARN.
• A consortium and a project plan on Remanufacturing related to Action 2.7 implementation have been drafted
• 2 projects are still under the drafting phase for answering to WASTE 4d call, INNOSUP-1 call in the upcoming months.

Even though it is early to assess contribution of Joint Actions to the expected impacts of the project, we can already observe that a network is arising around S_LIFE and its JAP. Stakeholders expressed their interest in the actions suggested by the consortium to tackle resource efficiency challenges. Several of the above-mentioned actions are still in the preparation phase but should emerge during the upcoming months and will contribute to integrate the value chain into one system by improving the share of information and distribution of research results. Some will also contribute to “joining research efforts” which will ensure a better communication and reinforce collaboration between stakeholders (academics, public authorities, industry) to avoid duplication of research efforts and ensure consistent deployment of best practices and common methodologies along the value chain.

The S_LIFE consortium managed to reach its overall goals during the 3 years of the project’s lasting. It actually was very well timed, answering both interest and demand for synthetic information on the matter of resource efficiency and recycling.

The project brought awareness on Life Cycle Assessment matters to stakeholders all along the value chain from the design up to the recycling and contributed to develop contacts between different types of stakeholders from different industries across European Union regions. Resource efficiency concerns are now better accounted for during project evaluation and project labelling by clusters, which is also a way to ensure that this issue will be tackled by stakeholders starting from regional level.

A huge potential remains to be uncovered here. We have to keep in mind that, to achieve the recovery and re-use rates required by the ELV directive (2000/53/EC), it is mandatory to have profitable economics. The S_LIFE project has drawn a way to achieve these targets and has raised the attention of all interested stakeholders to contribute to actions that will lead to the contribute increase reuse, recycling and recovery of the ELVs and their components.
We bear in our hand a unique opportunity to relocate well needed added value and well needed jobs within European borders.

Even if impacts are difficult to assess after a 3 years project, the S_LIFE consortium is on the right path to realise all its objectives and benefit from the political, industrial and academic support needed to fully achieve its expected impacts.

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