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Enhanced energy and resource Efficiency and Performance in process industry Operations via onsite and cross-sectorial Symbiosis

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - EPOS (Enhanced energy and resource Efficiency and Performance in process industry Operations via onsite and cross-sectorial Symbiosis)

Reporting period: 2018-10-01 to 2019-09-30

EPOS is a H2020 SPIRE project with focus on enhanced energy and resource Efficiency and Performance in process industry Operations via onsite and cross-sectorial Symbiosis. A multi-partner industrial innovation project under UGent coordination running from October 2015 till September 2019.
EPOS aspired to make Europe’s industry more efficient, more cost-effective, more competitive and more sustainable – across process sectors. It brought together 5 global process industries in 5 cross-sectorial clusters in Europe covering 5 key relevant sectors: steel, cement, minerals, chemicals & engineering.
The industries joined forces with 5 highly R&I minded SMEs and 2 excellent science institutes as to develop a simple and single management tool for exploring industrial symbiosis (IS) across process sectors. A wide range of technology and management solutions was put forward for supporting collaboration between industry sites in and across process sectors.
The partners teamed up with the aim of enhancing energy and resource efficiency in the EPOS clusters across Europe. Each cluster had a lead site, driven by one of the project partners and surrounded by industry sites from other EPOS partners and process sectors (industrial cluster); or by a local community (district cluster). All actors took part in the EPOS project and its bodies.
Learning from onsite, often organically grown collaborations that answer to a wish, a need or a duty to join forces, the EPOS project has shown and grown the potential for industrial symbiosis in and across process sectors. The list of such collaborations is seemingly non-exhaustive ●industries can share energy and resources, but also water, residues, materials, utilities ●they can exchange heat, by-products and waste streams ●sites may try to integrate production units and plants ●companies can organise the joint use of tools and technologies ●they can find synergy through third party activities - onsite or in the cluster.
Spotted opportunities were validated onsite in the EPOS clusters and used to build and exploit new business scenarios for cross-sectorial exchanges and interactions that were welcomed by industry. Similarly, a symbiosis management tool was developed, based on the PDCA concept, the plan-do-check-act or Deming circle1. Here again the EPOS project used a well-known management principle in industry: building on industrial commitment and guiding a company to continuous improvement. The circle also prompts to learning effects and promotes training as a base for awareness and acceptance.
The set-up of EPOS was to challenge its process industry partners to get to know each other and understand other sector's plants, operations, streams and management style. This resulted in a first innovation: the EPOS sector blueprints. Typical operating modes of a given industry sector are simulated with the aim of sharing information across sectors and to generalise findings. Virtual sector profiles are an open-innovative way to facilitate discussions between companies, but also with academia, policy makers and other stakeholders. The blueprints enable new ways of doing cross-sectorial business, starting from a sound industry pragmatism.
The second innovation concerns the EPOS IS toolbox, an integrated platform generating IS solutions in terms of potential economic and sustainability gains. The toolbox merges three existing tools: Osmose, a techno-environomic optimisation platform for energy integration in industry; LESTS, a legal, economic, spatial, technical and social survey for IS screening; and an IS footprinter for quantifying economic, ecological and social benefits. It is a user-friendly and functional interface to specify industrial sites, define the plant settings, add streams and technologies, and select key performance indicators to generate symbiosis options. It is designed to identify, assess, prioritise and manage IS projects and can be freely accessed from the EPOS User Club
A third innovation are the EPOS generic IS cases. From the experience built in the EPOS clusters and by using the EPOS toolbox, symbiosis cases with high replication potential and significant economic and socio-environmental benefits were condensed into one-pagers. They pitch a high-potential case by giving the physical stream, the service/technology or management interaction, next to the wins for each partner, for the environment and for society. Key messages allow to grasp the potential sustainability impact in an industrial cluster or a regional community and extrapolate the impact at European level.
Through collaboration with other SPIRE projects such as Sharebox, EPOS has actively contributed to a CEN workshop agreement on industrial symbiosis (CWA 17354:2018).
The EPOS toolbox for cross-sector industrial symbiosis is a management platform combining both technological and non-technical aspects of assessing symbiosis solutions in process industry. The toolbox suggests economic and sustainability gains as a result of energy, materials or waste symbiosis in and across industrial clusters in Europe. It can be found on the EPOS User Club ( a single and simple web-platform that provides access to all actors and stakeholders with interest in industrial symbiosis. Next to the toolbox, the sector blueprints, generic IS cases but also EPOS insights, tech watches and background information on IS is readily accessible.
To continue the efforts, the EPOS consortium has signed an expression of interest to further engage in IS, if an opportunity presents itself. In addition, a memorandum of understanding is prepared by 3 EPOS SMEs on a joint service to exploit the EPOS results. It sets out the plan to use and/or advance the EPOS toolbox, the EPOS blueprints and the generic IS cases by the EPOS partners, where appropriate and applicable, in compliance with the EPOS Consortium (and Exploitation) Agreement.
The wider socio-economic impact and societal implications of the EPOS project are reflected at various levels: foremost in the (EPOS) industry's involvement in IS as part of the transition to a more circular and low-carbon economy; also in the alignment with the SPIRE 2030 KPIs and the new 2050 vision; next in supporting the policy drivers for jobs and growth. Indeed IS opens up a range of opportunities for SMEs and for a high-skilled workforce - both as proven in the EPOS project - with the aim to facilitate IS in industry. Which in turn calls out to academia to answer the new skills need, in particular for experts in energy/resource efficiency and IS management.
Indeed the EPOS project has strongly contributed to enhance energy and resource efficiency as well as performance in process industry operations, not only via onsite but firmly via cross-sectorial symbiosis - as the title of the EPOS project rightly claims.
EPOS Technology Focus
EPOS Scientific article
EPOS Insight: Industrial Symbiosis in the Humber region
EPOS User Club
EPOS Website
EPOS Generic case: CO2 mineralisation