The Essence of Processes4Planet Webinar: beyond programmatic activities to generate impact

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Last 31st of March, A.SPIRE has held an open Webinar on “The essence of Processes4Planet”, in view of the Signature of the MoU for the new co-programmed Partnership between the Association and the European Commission

The event, with its exceptional line up of speakers, attracted more than 200 participants. It was organized back-to-back with the last A.SPIRE General Assembly in the twilight of SPIRE cPPP and Horizon 2020 Programme. 

The Webinar has represented an ideal moment for A.SPIRE President Pierre Joris (Domo Chemicals) to introduce how Processes4Planet will build on SPIRE results to reach 3 stronger ambitions of the process industry on these areas: climate neutrality, resources circularity and competitiveness. 

The opening Keynote came directly from Jean-Eric Paquet, Director General Research and Innovation, European Commission. In his intervention - “Processes4Planet: EU Industrial partnerships contributing to recovery” - Paquet pointed out how Europe policymakers and Europe industries will need to share efforts on decarbonization pathways, with a much higher degree of joint goals. In this sense the Partnerships like Processes4Planet must activate synergies - among them and with the EU and the Members States – to go well beyond programmatic activities and finally reach also civil society. We are more ready than ever – quoting Paquet – to realize a transformation in the broader context, with an Ambition Impact approach

Pierre Joris highlighted how A.SPIRE community, in its cross-sectoral uniqueness, is one of the main assets to implement Processes4Planet in the innovation ecosystem. Alongside the new Partnership in itself, the other key elements to make impact for A.SPIRE are the industrial implementation activities (specially the First-of-a-Kind plants and the Hubs4Circularity) and the new Processes4Planet 2050 SRIA (Strategic Research & Innovation Agenda) Innovation Programmes

Ludo Diels (VITO) , IRIAG Chair, reinforced the crucial role of the SRIA. With its technical overview on A.SPIRE vision of 10 Sectors integrated in one large industrial-urban ecosystem, the document showcases our actions framework.  

The SRIA starting point are three challenges: 1. High impact on Climate, 2. Linear Business Models, 3. Global Competitiveness & Investment.  

These will be tackled along three pathways for impact: 1. Deploying Climate Neutral Solutions, 2. Closing the Energy & Feedstock Loops, 3. Global Leadership in climate neutral and circular solutions accelerating innovation and unlocking public and private investment. 

Other key presentations on two projects have portrayed their success and added value for our community and for Processes4Planet.  

Erik Dahlquist, Senior Professor in Energy Technology, Mälardalen University, intervened as representative of FUDIPO - Future Directions of Production Planning and Optimized Energy – and Process Industries. FUDIPO project has been funded under the SPIRE cPPP Partnership and just completed after 4 years of intense work in toolbox development for factory optimisation. FUDIPO project successfully implemented demonstration of Artificial Intelligence and learning systems in process industries in 5 real EU industries. Case studies have successfully included off–line pilot testing an on-line full-scale demonstrations (validation) in the following sectors/plants: oil refining, pulp and paper, large and micro chp, and biological waste-water treatment.

Finally Antonius Schröder, from TU Dortmund University, presented the objectives and rationale behind SPIRE-SAIS - Skills Alliance for Industrial Symbiosis - project. This industry driven project, supported by Erasmus+ and with 23 partners in 11 countries, has roots in the non-technological innovation. SPIRE-SAIS is identifying the skills of the future on Industrial Symbiosis with ad hoc questionnaires and developing strategies to address possible skills shortages in the Energy Intensive Industries. 

The expected outcome is to develop and influence training programmes from Member States and Academia, and to contribute in building a better skilled workforce for the Process Industry of tomorrow  at all levels: at the plant, offices, engineers, etc. 

The set of slides from The Essence of Processes4Planet Webinar is available here

You can also find the recording of the entire Webinar session here