Wednesday, 10 July 2013

SPIRE and BRIDGE: Working together for a Sustainable and Competitive Europe

With the publication today (July 10) of the European Commission’s communication on the ‘Innovation and Investment Package’ with its package of 13 proposed and existing Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) SusChem News examines how the two ‘SusChem inspired’ initiatives featured in the Package will work together. 

Both the SPIRE and BRIDGE PPPs have their own identities and cover distinct and far reaching fields of activity and both enjoy extensive industry participation with a considerable degree of overlap in terms of their respective stakeholder communities.

The two PPPs have published their own strategic innovation and research agendas (SIRA) or roadmaps that look to deliver considerable benefits and improvements to their respective industry sectors, the environment and the European economy. And there are extensive areas that will benefit from their complementary approaches and their ability to add value to each another’s deliverables.

You can access the Bridge SIRA here and the SPIRE SIRA roadmap here.

“The autumn will be busy,” says Loredana Ghinea (below second from right), Executive Director of A.SPIRE the organisation coordinating the private consortium behind SPIRE. “We will be preparing the official launch of the SPIRE PPP as well as consulting with and preparing our eight industrial sectors for the start of the first phase of Horizon2020 (2014-2015) based on the Key Actions and components from our Roadmap. This will also involve extensive communication with other PPPs - especially with BRIDGE - and European Innovation Partnerships to ensure we are ready to implement our ambitious work programme and add value to the EU innovation package.”

Common Goals
Both SPIRE and BRIDGE will work for improved sustainability of the manufacturing sector in terms of global competitiveness, ecology and employment in Europe. And both will focus on collaborative efforts between research organisations, SMEs and industry and also look to involve wider society.

These common goals will be approached from two complementary angles:
  • SPIRE will comprise projects that radically improve aspects of resource or energy efficiency in a variety of established manufacturing sectors (see below); 
  • while BRIDGE supports the establishment of a brand new biobased-industrial sector in Europe (see below).
This complementary approach also defines the interface between the two PPP initiatives: the provision and use of biobased platform chemicals. The work of SPIRE and BRIDGE is likely to be highly collaborative especially in terms of process and products or feedstock.

Joanna Dupont-Inglis (above, left), Director of Industrial Biotechnology at EuropaBio agrees: “The main input from BRIDGE to SPIRE will be to provide SPIRE with potential biobased building blocks and intermediates.”

While it is a potential outlet for some BRIDGE projects to produce and market biobased platform chemicals to the industry, SPIRE projects will include biobased platform molecules as potential starting points for downstream value-generation steps.

Projects within SPIRE could provide the enabling technologies required to realise BRIDGE process objectives. “For example SPIRE could build on work undertaken in the FP7 F3 Factory project on distributed modular conversion processes to enable 'on farm processing' that will be the foundation of BRIDGE’s new value chains,” says Pádraig Naughton (above right), Innovation Manager at Cefic.

“Where the two PPP initiatives meet they will support and complement each other in developing the future chemical and processing industries in Europe,” concludes Loredana.

SusChem’s role
As a coordinating European platform, SusChem will be working with and supporting both PPPs to ensure coordination mechanisms are in place to allow the two PPPs to work in a harmonised and complementary way to maximise their combined impact and create a truly sustainable future for Europe.

What is SPIRE?
The Sustainable Process Industry through Resource and Energy Efficiency (SPIRE) PPP will develop enabling technologies and solutions to achieve long-term sustainability and resource and energy efficiency in the process industry. Better use of feedstock, more efficient production processes, smarter materials, reduction and valorisation of waste, development of high-value skills are some key elements of the SPIRE strategic roadmap. The A.SPIRE association is the driver behind the SPIRE proposal, building upon the collective expertise of eight major existing process industry sectors: steel, cement, water, engineering, non-ferrous, ceramics, minerals, and, of course, chemicals.

What is BRIDGE?
The Biobased and Renewables Industries for Development and Growth in Europe (BRIDGE) PPP is led by the Biobased Industries Consortium and aims to lead the transition towards a sustainable alternative to the fossil-fuel economy. BRIDGE will establish the basis for a new bioeconomy in Europe, from biomass harvesting and logistics via efficient conversion processes to the manufacture of bio-based products. The Biobased Industries Consortium comprises major companies from a variety of sectors including the forest, agricultural, paper, chemical, energy, fuels and biotechnology sectors.

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