Mid December saw the launch of a new European project focused on regional initiatives for resource efficiency in the chemical sector. SusChem is taking an active role in the R4R project that is looking to spread innovative ideas that can lead the way to zero-waste and resource-efficient industries across Europe.
The chemical and process industries in Europe are geographically widely distributed and are also often fragmented in their approach to improving resource efficiency and addressing similar societal challenges.
However, R4R believes that addressing energy and resource efficiency offer significant opportunities to rejuvenate and transform the industry into an eco-efficient and high-tech solution provider across the continent. This can be achieved through switching to bio-based feedstock, by improving efficiency of industrial processes, by recycling and reusing waste materials and by looking at the sector as an integrated system as opposed to a collection of independent sites.
The project has some specific targets for resource efficiency achievements in the chemical sector:
- A 50% improvement in the process industry’s CO2 footprint by 2030
- A 10-fold increase in the use of bio-renewable raw materials as feedstock by 2030
- A 30% reduction in primary energy consumption by 2030
- A 20% reduction in raw materials net use per end application by 2030
The objectives of the R4R project are well aligned with the proposed SusChem-supported SPIRE (Sustainable Process Industry through Resource and Energy Efficiency) Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) and will help build the basis of this ambitious multi-sector programme.
Regional focus R4R brings together six complementary EU Regions (Aragon in Spain, Göteborg in Sweden, North Rhine–Westphalia in Germany, the Port of Rotterdam and the South-West regions in the Netherlands, and West Pomerania in Poland), each with their own public and private research and innovation expertise, for a three year project that will improve resource consumption and eco-innovation in the chemical sector. Participants from all six regions are pictured below at the Kick-off meeting.
Based on an in-depth mapping of innovation systems, research agendas, research, production and innovation capabilities and the stakeholders involved, the consortium will create a Joint Action Plan and related support measures. Special attention will be given to mentoring activities.
The project will achieve a major improvement in regional and transnational cooperation between the regions and leave a legacy of tools, case studies and good practice that can be disseminated and adopted by other regions across Europe.
R4R will also create a platform for international collaboration on resource efficiency issues in third countries to accelerate innovation and promote European eco-innovative technologies globally.
Get involved The R4R project is funded by the European Commission’s FP7 programme. Its full title is ‘Chemical Regions for Resource Efficiency – Improving Research and Cooperation in the areas of Resource and Energy Efficiency in the Chemicals Industry’.
R4R aims to engage with a large number of chemical sector partners in regions across Europe. A website and partnering platform will be launched later this year, but if you want to get involved in the project right now contact project coordinator Anna Sager at SP Technical Research Institute in Sweden.