EU process industry is at the core of most industrial value chains and faces the key challenge of having a high dependence on resources (energy, materials and water). An alliance of eight sectors of the European process industry (cement, ceramics, chemicals, engineering, minerals and ore, non-ferrous metals, steel and water) launched a new initiative on Sustainable Process Industry through Resource and Energy Efficiency (SPIRE), which is now becoming a contractual public-private partnership (PPP) under the new EU framework programme Horizon 2020. The sectors united under SPIRE include more than 450.000 individual enterprises, provide jobs for 6,8 million employees and generate annually more than € 1.600 billion in turnover. As such they are vital for Europe, representing 20% of the total European industry, both in terms of employment and turnover.
The SPIRE community has set out a research and innovation strategy reflected in the multi-annual roadmap for 2014-2020, which has been the subject of an extensive public consultation. The research and innovation activities proposed are expected to lead to the breakthrough technologies needed to make the European process industry more sustainable and competitive, through improvements in resource and energy efficiency.
The SPIRE PPP follows a cross-sectorial holistic approach, looking into all the components of the industrial operations, which are clearly identified in the domains covered in the roadmap (Feed, Process, Applications and Waste2Resource), and also addresses the non-technological barriers identified in the horizontal and outreach components. The technologies developed should lead to a decrease of 30% in fossil energy intensity and a reduction of 20% in the use of non-renewable resources; the achievement of these targets will in turn lead to a 40% decrease in CO2 equivalent footprints. With these ambitious objectives, the SPIRE PPP supports the achievement of the goals set out by the Europe 2020 strategy and will contribute to the knowledge based re-industrialisation of Europe, leading to the creation of growth and jobs.
The realisation of the SPIRE objectives is considered essential in order to rejuvenate the European process industry, to make it more competitive and sustainable, and lead to European growth and jobs.