SPIRE-09-2017: Pilot lines based on more flexible and down-scaled high performance processing

Main pillar: 

  • Nanotechnologies, Advanced Materials, Advanced Manufacturing and Processing, and Biotechnology


80 000 000



Call deadline: 

Thu, 19 Jan 2017


  • Forthcoming


Specific Challenge:

Although the European process industry holds a globally strong position, it is losing competitiveness in the face of world regions which are richer in raw materials and/or have lower energy, labour and environmental costs. Consequently, in order to maintain its competitiveness on the global stage, it will be important to substantially improve its performance, as well as the energy and resource efficiency of its operations. In addition, the existing industrial processes often do not provide sufficient flexibility (e.g. ability to easily change production rates) making them unable to meet the demand for fluctuating production volumes and seasonal production campaigns requiring in situ processing (e.g. bio-mass, limited batches), which would benefit from flexible and/or mobile production systems that do not require extensive infrastructure (e.g. containerised approach).

During the last decade, several concepts have been developed and reported to enable more flexible, compact and cost effective processes proposing a variety of process intensification methodologies, which have the potential to achieve the very significant improvements in performances, energy usage and material efficiency sought by the industry. However, these concepts have mostly been demonstrated/validated at laboratory/small scale and further work is needed to fully assess their industrial potential in terms of performances, techno-economic feasibility and scalability, in order to contribute to a circular economy in the European market.


Proposals are expected to identify and demonstrate innovative, compact, high performance production lines for existing and novel products with significantly lower operational and investment costs (compared to their existing analogues). This may be achieved by adaptation, redesign of existing process units or by completely new concepts, possibly using process optimised materials, provided that a significant improvement in cost, flexibility and performance can be achieved, compared to the commercially available processes. The approach proposed should allow short time-to-market and integration in currently existing plants, while ensuring a high flexibility (e.g. production lines with a broad turn-down ratio or by using parallel modular units for adapting capacity).

Proposals should address all of the following activities:

  • The proposed solutions should encompass the elimination, combination or replacement of one or more process steps/units aiming to achieve significant efficiency improvement and higher productivity and flexibility, while ensuring lower capital and operation costs.
  • Significant demonstration activities in a relevant industrial environment are expected, which will allow validating the productivity and flexibility improvements and provide clear indications on the scalability, replicability and potential for its integration in existing industrial plants.
  • Techno-economic analysis (including LCA) providing a basis for economic and industrial feasibility for the innovative, high performance, flexile/scalable production lines that will be demonstrated, as well as a business plan for the deployment of the technology.

Demonstration of the integration in existing industrial scenarios would be a major added-value.

The proposal should include clear steps for the deployment of the concepts in industry (e.g. including clear business cases and a work package on business plans).

The proposal should provide evidence on the concept potential for job creation.

For this topic, proposals should include an outline of the initial exploitation and business scenarios, which will be developed further in the proposed project.

Activities are expected to focus on Technology Readiness Levels 5 to 7 and to be centred around TRL 6.This topic addresses cross-KET activities.

A significant participation of SMEs with R&D capacities is encouraged.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU between EUR 6 and 8 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected Impact:

  • The equipment size/production-capacity ratio, energy and resource consumption, or waste production will be significantly improved by more than 30% compared to existing approaches. The targets should be quantified in the proposal and validated during the execution of the demonstration.
  • Project outcomes should demonstrate a positive environmental impact, by reducing by-products and/or waste generation, as well as reducing CO2 emissions and energy consumption compared to the state of the art and in the scale relevant for the different applications
  • The novel processes/production lines should contribute to lowering the investment and/or operating costs by at least 20% compared to existing approaches. The targets should be quantified in the proposal and validated during the execution of the demonstration.
  • Wide adoption of the technologies developed for increasingly compact and flexible production lines.

Proposals should include a business case and exploitation strategy, as outlined in the Introduction to the LEIT part of the Work Programme.

Call documents: