European Commission signs first-ever 7-year innovation partnership with Europe’s process industry

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BRUSSELS, December 17, 2013 – The Sustainable Process Industry Public-Private Partnership (SPIRE PPP) was officially launched today by the signature of a contractual agreement between the European Commission and the A.SPIRE association.

Commenting on the signing, Executive Director of A.SPIRE Loredana Ghinea said: “this 7-year initiative is a momentous achievement for Europe’s process Industry and a major boost for the sectors’ global competitiveness and future sustainability”.

The agreement will be implemented through Horizon 2020 calls and is backed by approximately 1 billion EUR in funding commitment from the European Commission (EC), to be matched by the process Industry. 

Boost to Europe’s industrial strength

For the first time in history eight world-leading European industrial sectors (cement, ceramics, chemicals, engineering, minerals, non-ferrous metals, steel and water) have joined forces to form an innovation partnership with the European Commission and jointly commit to implement a 7-year strategic research and innovation agenda to tackle three fundamental European challenges:

  • the urgency to create growth and increase the competitiveness of Europe in a global market;
  • the need to rejuvenate the European process industry that is the roots of the European economy in terms of turnover, employment and generation of technologies for all industrial sectors;
  • the imperative to reduce resource and energy inefficiency and the environmental impact of industrial activities.

Klaus Sommer, president of the A.SPIRE aisbl representing the private partners, said: “SPIRE is an ambitious PPP that takes the best out of eight process industries and aims at integrating, demonstrating and validating systems and technologies across sectors. This unique co-operation will enable massive leveraging of costs and faster implementation of technologies through closer connection and integration of innovations in industry and their value chains.

SPIRE’s offer

SPIRE will achieve its goals by investing in breakthrough technologies that will reduce resources and energy used in processes as well as industrial emissions and waste; will reuse resources and materials from end-of-life products such as raw materials for new products; will replace current feedstock by integrating renewables or waste (e.g., biomass and CO2); and will reinvent processes, equipment and business models.

With sectors such as chemicals, steel and cement, that have a large number of important production operations throughout Europe, the SPIRE innovation and retrofitting potential (in line with further specialisation of the sectors such as high-tech steel and specialty chemicals and combined with stricter environmental standards) is an enormous leverage base, in some cases (e.g., new process control) offering double digit replication potential.

Ghinea concluded: “We appreciate the commitment expressed by the European Union to the process industry in recognition of its vital role and potential within the European economy. The commitment and dedication of SPIRE’s private partners have been demonstrated through the articulation of a synergistic strategic roadmap; it is now high time to demonstrate that we can also make it happen.”

The realization of SPIRE is essential as it will help the process industries be more: stronger, smarter, and swifter, for a more competitive and more sustainable Europe.

Notes to editor:
About SPIRE:
The Sustainable Process Industry through Resource and energy Efficiency (SPIRE) is a contractual Public-Private Partnership (PPP) dedicated to innovation in resource and energy efficiency and enabled by the process industries. The SPIRE Partnership is based on the Article 19 of the EU Research and Innovation Framework Programme, Horizon 2020, Regulation and has been established through a contractual arrangement between the European Commission and A.SPIRE aisbl. SPIRE will be implemented through competitive calls included in the Horizon 2020 work programmes.
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