19 Aug 2013

Summary: SPiCE³ is designed specifically to help chemical companies improve and reduce their use of energy. The platform is an interactive toolbox for the sector.


The chemicals sector, along with other industries, 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; and
  • other policies targeting energy efficiency.


Chemical SMEs make up an important part of the European chemicals supply chain – they comprise the largest number of enterprises in the chemicals sector (around 27,000), delivering 30% of sales and consuming around 20% of total energy use. 

However, SMEs have received much less attention for their energy performance than large chemical companies. This is partly due to the typically lower importance of energy costs in SMEs compared to turnover, and partly because of their lower level of visibility in the industry.

Thus, the use of energy in chemical SMEs represents a largely untapped resource for achieving energy savings. Based on activities in Italy, Poland, the UK, the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium, it is conservatively estimated that around 15 per cent of energy reductions are achievable through the application of general energy efficiency measures. These measures include: insulation; monitoring and targeting; buildings efficiency measures such as lighting; motors and drives; and in some cases, the use of cogeneration. Further savings are possible by process improvements, but these depend largely on the processes used and are, thus, less widely applicable. 


Benefits of SPiCE³

SPiCE³ aims to drive energy efficiency excellence in the European chemical industry, particularly in SMEs, by:

  • facilitating access to existing information, tools and support schemes;
  • enabling companies to take up tools and actively participate in existing initiatives;
  • promoting best practices and success stories;
  • establishing and strengthening contacts between energy efficiency actors to create a network for learning and exchange;
  • offering a communication platform for SMEs and large companies; and
  • providing technical support on energy efficiency.


The overarching objective of the project is to deliver energy savings in SMEs. SPiCE³ aims at SMEs in the 13 participating countries and, via activities of Cefic, the European Chemical Industry Council, also across the rest of the EU.

Reaching out to SMEs is a long haul, and the chemicals sector is committed to this goal. In the long-term, the SPiCE³ project aims to stimulate interest in energy efficiency in SMEs and to raise awareness of best practices. 

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