Press Release #8 – Final Event and Results – October 2023

RETROFEED project solutions bound to successfully increase resource and energy efficiency in heavy industry, leading to substantial reductions of GHG Emissions, project partners report.

After a challenging and rewarding four-year journey, the RETROFEED project hosted its final event in Brussels, Belgium, and online, on the 25th of October.

The event was geared towards showcasing its final remarkable results and discussing future possibilities for their uptake by other companies, market players, and finally European policy-makers, with a view of improving and harmonizing legislations across countries. Thus, the event brought around 40 experts, stakeholders, and innovators together to discuss and celebrate the project’s transformative contributions.

This project, financed by Horizon 2020 program through Spire Partnership, sets important standards in Europe’s journey toward the decarbonisation of heavy industry and contributes to driving forward long-term systemic changes required to create a cleaner, greener, fairer society.

A Pathway towards commercialisation of sustainable solutions

The RETROFEED project has yielded results with versatile applications that extend far beyond its original scope. These outcomes are not confined to a single company but can seamlessly integrate into various aspects of industrial operations. The solutions of RETROFEED can apply across multiple fronts, affecting furnaces, kilns, electric arc furnaces (EAFs), burners, and more, housed within the same facilities or operating under the same company.

Furthermore, the reach of these advancements can be potentially replicated in other projects and industrial sectors. For instance, CIRCE’s Visual Camera for monitoring raw material melting rates inside the furnace, utilized in TCID, brings a new level of precision and insight to the steel and agrochemical sectors, bolstering their competitive edge.

From a horizontal perspective, another key solution that can be easily replicated in similar sectors is the Digital Information System (DSS) developed by OPTIT SRL, which supports business or organizational decision-making activities in complex processes leveraging data and algorithms.

“Embracing a Decision Support System is not just an option; it’s the key to unlock data-driven insights, streamline processes, and ensure your business remains competitive in the market,” explains Luca Ferrari from OPTIT SRL.

It is remarkable to highlight that some of these solutions have already reached TRL9 because of the relevant expertise of the industrial and engineering companies in the consortium, and a higher TRL upscaling and industrial-grade level is expected within 6 to 12 months after project closure.

Some key takeaways from RETROFEED final event:

Looking ahead and after the lifespan of the project, partners agreed that it is key to:

• keep the dialogue ongoing with other energy-intensive industries,

• combine different challenges across different sectors and subsectors, such as hydrogen production in an integrated way;

embrace DSS systems to unlock data-driven insights, streamline processes, and make them more efficient. From the beginning of the project, it is was evident how complex companies’ structures are and how difficult is to collect the data needed from the different database. We need to do much more on data planning on the backend.

• engage all stakeholders in the value chain and nurture the companies’ mindset to continue reducing CO2 emissions;

• seek support from regulators to harmonize legislations across countries and engage consumers to see the added value of less polluting products on the market.

To sum up, the RETROFEED project’s final event in Brussels provided a comprehensive overview of the significant achievements and ongoing challenges in the journey towards decarbonization and digitalization in European resource-intensive industries, showing that RETROFEED solutions are able to increase resources and energy efficiency and decrease greenhouse gases emissions.

Beyond the collaboration, partners are committed to work further and accelerate the uptake of the technological and digital solutions in their own field. Each demo-site has in fact very clear objectives and a clear set of actions they have to implement to achieve even more energy efficiency improvements.