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The Project
17 Sep 2013

Summary: Find out how the The Sectoral Platform in Chemicals for Energy Efficiency Excellence (SPiCE³) is designed to enable energy efficiency improvements.

 

The Sectoral Platform in Chemicals for Energy Efficiency Excellence (SPiCE³) is designed to enable energy efficiency improvements across the European chemical industry, particularly in SMEs. SPiCE³ is open to all chemical companies, services companies and other market actors to participate in ensuring energy efficiency becomes a key business process in successful and sustainable chemical production.

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Over the last twenty years, the EU chemical industry has significantly improved its energy efficiency. Between 1990 and 2005, energy use per unit of production decreased by more than 40%. Much of the sector's engagement has been through voluntary and sector- led initiatives, such as the global chemical industry's Responsible Care initiative and the recently completed CARE+ energy efficiency project. 
However, large improvement potential remains in some chemical SMEs. SMEs are an important target for energy efficiency efforts, as they make up a substantial part of the European chemical industry. 96% of the 27,000 chemical enterprises in Europe have less than 250 employees, and SMEs account for 30% of sales and 37% of employment in the sector.
The challenge for SMEs is that they often lack the appropriate knowledge, tools and financial and human resources needed to effectively control their energy use and implement energy efficiency measures. Although the scope for improvement varies, it can be estimated that efficiency gains of around 15% could be reached in many SMEs. There have been many initiatives to support SMEs on energy efficiency, both at the EU and national level. Yet there is limited EU-wide, coordinated industry-led action to bring together these best practices, share successes and bring the large companies together with the small businesses. 
The SPiCE3 project sets out to fill this gap.The project aims to combine top-down and bottom-up approaches to foster energy efficiency in chemical SMEs. The project consortium brings together a broad range of chemical industry and energy expertise, with partners representing chemical industry associations from 11 European countries and from the European level (Cefic), as well as expert organisations in energy efficiency and online communications.

The SPiCE³ project aims to provide the chemical sector with an integrated approach to energy efficiency, through the three main pillars of the project: the online platform, the national activities which combine existing tools, events and training, and the EU level awards and promotion. The project is designed to focus efforts at the most appropriate level, either national, regional or pan-EU. The major outputs of SPiCE3 are:

  1. Firstly, the project will develop and operate an online platform, which will act as a one-stop shop for energy efficiency information to help companies across Europe access the tools and advice they need to implement energy efficiency improvements. The online platform will include information on European energy efficiency initiatives (e.g. EUREM.NET), national initiatives (e.g. voluntary agreements such as the Benchmarking Covenant in Belgium), energy efficiency tools for companies (e.g. CARE+), and case studies and success stories. It will also provide opportunities for networking and exchange. The platform will be multilingual, with common shared material across the languages and material targeted at the national level only in the one relevant language.
  2. The second major output is focused on activities at the national level. Workshops and on-site trainings in SMEs will enable companies to learn about potential energy efficiency measures adapted to their needs and help them implement improvements. In addition to SMEs, these activities will involve major industrial companies and their supply chains as well as relevant energy experts. These activities will also generate case studies, best practice examples and other materials that will be used in the online platform to help further share knowledge and experience across countries.
  3. The third output is the development of a new energy efficiency award scheme, which will run in parallel with the European chemical industry's Responsible Care awards. The awards recognise SMEs' efforts in the field of energy efficiency in order to promote good examples and encourage further companies to take up energy efficiency measures.

Activities at the European level will also include three events and communication activities. With these three major outputs, SPiCE3 expects to foster uptake of energy efficiency in SMEs across the European Union as a whole and specifically in the countries represented by the consortium (BE, BG, CZ, DE, FI, GR, IT, NL, PL, SE, UK), which together represent around 80% of all the EU chemical industry.Reaching out to SMEs is a long haul, and the chemicals sector is committed to this long term objective. The long-term objective of the SPiCE3 project is to stimulate interest in energy efficiency in SMEs and to raise awareness of best practices.The chemicals sector, along with other industrial branches, is facing growing political and market pressures to reduce its energy consumption, due to:

  • Mounting energy costs that impact profitability and as a consequence, increase the importance of energy efficiency and greater cost-effectiveness
  • Global competition, which provides downward pressure to reduce all costs
  • The reduction of CO2 emissions to meet climate change targets
  • Other policies targeting energy efficiency

The main objective of the SPiCE3 project is to effect change in the chemical SMEs on energy efficiency.

work packages timeline
SPiCE³ has delivered added-value support to the European chemical sector in making companies aware of the importance of energy efficiency and in providing tools which help in the implementation of energy saving actions:

  • SPiCE³ delivered a project by the industry for the industry which combined a genuine bottom-up approach with hands-on support directly to companies through workshops, on-site trainings and EU-level events
  • The unique and vital SPiCE³ platform acted as a support resource hub which brought to life and gave exposure to the work carried out during the project, at the local and EU level
  • The project’s online platform proved to be an essential source of guidance for companies seeking to tackle energy efficiency: it has made it possible to showcase industry success stories and present best practice examples
  • SPiCE³ has effectively helped the EU reach its energy targets by 2020 and overcome the present challenges in terms of energy security
  • The project has encouraged SMEs to become more energy efficient: being more energy efficient means lower energy consumption, which ultimately translates itself into fuel savings and CO2 emissions reduction
  • SPiCE³ has raised the visibility of the consortium as trusted partners to companies seeking to become more energy efficient
  • Through its support to companies in energy efficiency matters, the project has led to cost and energy savings in the long-term, boosting the competitiveness of the sector
  • Embarking on SPiCE³ ensured the sector could build on the success of CARE+. This helped ensure that the message of the importance of energy efficiency is still being delivered, and that more and more companies are looking to achieve efficiency measures

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