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27 October 2017


Call summary and aims

The purpose of this call is to further strengthen the global leadership of Europe’s industry in environmental sustainability, through a combination of mature and disruptive technologies. Success will be seen in making measurable contributions to identified sustainable development goals.

This call contributes to the focus area 'Connecting economic and environmental gains – the Circular Economy' through:

  • new technologies for the process industries such as industrial symbiosis and adaptation to new feedstock and sources of energy; and.
  • radical advances in catalysis.

It also contributes to the focus area 'Building a low-carbon, climate resilient future' through:

  • the development of new materials and new technologies for renewable energy and energy storage; and.
  • new technologies for energy-efficient buildings.

The choice of topics supporting energy innovation reflects the four strategic priorities in Accelerating Clean Energy Innovation[[COM(2016) 763 final]]

  • Strengthening EU leadership on renewables;.
  • Decarbonising the EU building stock by 2050: From nearly zero-energy buildings to energy-plus districts;.
  • Developing affordable and integrated energy storage solutions; and.
  • Electro-mobility.

The Research Fund for Coal and Steel Programme complements the Horizon 2020 Framework Programme in the sectors related to coal and steel industry.

Some topics under this call contribute to the objectives of the European Innovation Partnerships (EIPs) on Raw Materials and Water Efficiency.

Proposals for Research and Innovation Actions and Innovation Actions submitted under this call should include a business case and exploitation strategy, as outlined in the Introduction to the LEIT part of this Work Programme.


The process industry embraces cement, ceramics, chemicals, engineering, minerals and ores, non-ferrous metals, steel and water sectors. Together, these sectors form a key part of Europe's manufacturing base, representing 20% of European industry in terms of both employment and turnover. These sectors are also characterised by a high dependence on raw materials and energy in their production and processing technologies. With these becoming increasingly scarce, resource efficiency, including the use of renewable resources, is now a key factor driving the competitiveness and sustainability of the European process industry. Accordingly, the central objectives in relation to the process industry are to optimise industrial processing, reduce energy and resource consumption and minimise waste in order to deliver European added value by making significant contributions to the Circular Economy and to fighting climate change.

Where relevant, actions under SPIRE are expected to take into account the Industrial Emissions Directive and provide input to the relevant Best Available Techniques reference documents. Research targeting for instance greenhouse gas or energy use reduction should also consider reduction of other emissions such as NOx and PM in order to avoid undesired side effects.

Topics under SPIRE will support the European industry towards improved integration of industrial operations leading to better valorisation of energy and material streams, sustainable raw materials and enhanced performance and efficiency of particularly high energy-intensive processes.

In line with the strategy for EU international cooperation in research and innovation (COM(2012)497), international cooperation may be particularly appropriate in some areas of the Sustainable Process Industry, in particular with Eastern Partnership countries (Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Belarus).

Proposals are invited against the following topic(s):












Catalysis is ubiquitous in the chemical industry, and a key technology in all future scenarios for a sustainable economy. The progressive substitution of products derived from fossil fuels, at all steps along the industrial value-chain, plays a crucial role to successfully decarbonise industrial processes. Moreover, carbon dioxide (CO2) or C1 building blocks are promising alternative feedstocks for chemicals, materials and fuels; and breakthroughs in reusing it have attracted strong industry interest. These future disruptive technologies could play a very significant role in lowering the carbon footprint of industry and the entire economy. The foreseen activities will help make the circular economy an industrial reality, and will help decarbonise industry. By making industrial processes more efficient and sustainable, they will also enhance European competitiveness. The activities will reflect the need for integrated research activities at a European level, to bring the limited or fragmented resources in Europe to bear upon the most promising topics. In addition, contributions to the Circular Economy will also be sought through the development of new materials and structures with in-built recycling properties

The ambition is that Europe becomes the world-leader in developing sustainable chemistry, smart materials and intelligent recycling, through a combination of mature and disruptive technologies.

Proposals are invited against the following topic(s):





To deliver on the Paris agreement (COP21), the updated Europe 2020 targets and the Energy Union policies including the SET-Plan, significant reductions in CO2 and greenhouse gas emissions are needed in a short time span. Significant reductions will be obtained by electrifying the road transport sector and integrating sustainable energy sources, like wind energy and photovoltaics, in the electricity grid. Both areas need specific energy production technologies, as well as energy storage solutions, based on innovative advanced materials and nanotechnologies, in line with the Communication on Accelerating Clean Energy Innovation.


Materials for energy storage

: Electric vehicles (EVs) are a solution for a rapid decarbonisation of the transport sector and for solving the problem of polluted city centres. Current EVs however still use heavy and costly batteries, and fast charging is another problem. Significant effort is needed in this area to improve the battery technology and in particular specific battery materials. Materials for energy storage are also needed beyond the transport sector: some industrial and economic sectors will face significant change coming from the more systematic use of sustainable energy production and from digitisation. All this will be based on a more distributed energy supply and decentralised storage. The respective energy storage challenges have to be solved in order to facilitate the transformation towards the use of non-fossil based energy sources. Europe has to search for better performance, and force the development of more price competitive storage solutions, including, where relevant, use of energy magnetic materials. This can be achieved by the development of new improved battery materials and chemistries.

Materials for sustainable energy production

: Sustainable energy is offering one of the highest potential to reach climate goals and reduce dependence from fossil fuels. The deployment of respective sustainable energy technology offers thus a possibility to obtain a cleaner air and environment, and at the same time will create new markets and a potential for economic increase. The sustainable energy technologies however are competing with more traditional ones and a key element for their use is energy production cost. European market leadership has to be regained and one way is to invest in advanced materials and nanotechnologies for being able to offer technologically advanced solutions at adequate and competitive cost, with strongly improved performances compared to the available commercial low cost solutions.

Proposals are invited against the following topic(s): 








Proposals are invited against the following topic: 


To deliver on the Paris agreement (COP21), the updated Europe 2020 targets and the Energy Union policies including the SET-Plan, significant reductions in CO2 and greenhouse gas emissions are needed in a short time span. The construction sector has a crucial impact on energy consumption and carbon emissions in the European Union: buildings account for 40% of the total energy consumption and are responsible for 36% of greenhouse gas emissions in Europe. The challenge in 2018-2020 is therefore to develop further, demonstrate and validate key breakthrough technologies for energy-efficient buildings and districts, in line with the Communication on Accelerating Clean Energy Innovation.European added value will result from the impact, on decarbonising the EU building stock and developing affordable and integrated energy storage solutions. Implementation of the activities under EeB should comply with EU, national, regional and local regulations and legislation, in particular regarding health, safety and environmental impact.

Proposals are invited against the following topic(s):