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Hubs for circularity for industrialised urban peripheral areas

Expected Outcome:

Projects outcomes will enable achievement of the objectives of Processes4Planet partnership by demonstrating hubs for circularity (H4Cs) concepts, fostering circularity within and beyond process industries and driving the partnership’s innovation portfolio towards “First of a kind” demonstrators to de-risk investment for subsequent roll-out. (P4Planet operational objectives 8 and 9).

Projects are expected to contribute to the following outcomes:

  • Demonstrate zero urban waste in a near commercial scale environment through systemic resource recovery as alternative material feedstock; a decrease of GHG emissions is also expected by explicitly addressing the reduced flow of goods (due to geographical proximity);
  • Reduce the freshwater consumption of the urban area by 50%, and re-use 90% of the solid waste generated by the water treatment;
  • Citizens living in cities will benefit from a healthier environment through industrial/urban symbiosis by lowering emissions through circular and renewable energy sources and waste reduction;
  • Use urban/industrial symbiosis and cross-sectorial cooperation to pave the way for achieving the EU Green Deal and “Fit for 55” package objectives: providing recommendations for optimized regional framework conditions by highlighting barriers and suitable innovation-oriented policies and looking for possible synergies with the cities selected by the Cities Mission[1] .

Scope:

Urban areas with high volumes of waste (household and end of life consumer waste) should closely interact with adjacent industries to jointly minimize their CO2 footprint and improve their waste management, thus contributing together to the valorisation of secondary materials and overall circularity. The hubs for circularity (H4C) concept is a pathway to exploit local synergies for the deployment of innovative solutions engaging regional resource management actors in strategic nodes where novel value chains valorising a significant part of end-of-life wastes could connect within and across regions.

The concept of Industrial-Urban Symbiosis (I-US) should be demonstrated at semi-industrial scale[2], by systemically re-integrating the flow of urban wastes in process industries and, where applicable downstream in manufacturing, construction, and other industries. Full attention should be paid on upcycling of secondary materials or products instead of downcycling.

Proposals are expected to address:

  • A systemic solution for a H4C including technological and non-technological as well as regional and interregional aspects: closing circularity loops for mixed/combined materials streams based on upcycling and process-based approach to a range of recycling solutions including conversion and downstream, complex multi-material streams, valorisation of waste streams (urban mining);
  • Proposals can address either materials, water or energy, or a combination of those. Management and processing of secondary resource streams through e.g., collection, disassembly, sorting, purification, concentration, recycling (including but not limited to chemical, metallurgical, or bio-based resources), logistics and trading for their valorisation for the use as feedstock for other plants and companies across sectors and/or across value chains. Connections with manufacturing industries are expected. The remaining non-recyclable fractions will be used to optimal energy recovery;
  • Digital tool, recycling and sensor-based waste sorting, modelling tools, including material passport and information on material streams, as basis for resource management towards fully integrated LCA and Material Flow Analysis MFA (on diverse levels) and for creating transparency and matchmaking opportunities across hubs. Prepare for tagging/matrix for complex consumer products and innovative approach to end-of life materials;
  • Establish IT infrastructures and tools that provide a secure basis for the integrated management and the preservation of confidentiality of sensitive data, it might not be in the same location as the demonstrator and serve the needs of multiple hubs;
  • Consider when applicable the co-development of industrial decarbonization strategies with urban district heating networks, i.e., based on a socio-economic optimum in the cascading re-use of waste heat and using the district heating network to supply low temperature process heat[3];
  • Use established reporting methodologies for the assessment of industrial symbiosis activities and exchanges, including Symbiosis Readiness Levels (SRLs) and best practices established by the European H4C Community of Practice (ECoP). In addition, interact with the ECoP for support, best practice and knowledge exchange on technological and non-technological issues;
  • Plan in detail the replication and adaption of the concept, including the simulation and the business case and exploitation strategy of the First of a Kind hubs, in two to three alternative locations in close cooperation with the relevant local actors. The replication cases should be part of the proposal. Include local and regional authorities in an active collaboration to create favourable and coherent place-based framework conditions;
  • Favour participative management with the local community and study the evolution of the social impact of the hub, whilst also considering gender perspective and inclusiveness;
  • Implement a social innovation action involving at least one of the local community actors and, additional actions to facilitate relations and to involve the local community actors e.g., exchanging knowledge with the educational establishments and developing flexible learning resources;
  • Include a plan to extend the hub to additional players parties (especially waste management and associations, new market entries and other relevant stakeholders) who also should benefit and multiply the local/regional synergies in the co-implementation of the identified innovations and solutions within the next five years.

Proposals submitted under this topic should include a business case and exploitation strategy, as outlined in the introduction to this Destination As a project output a more elaborated exploitation plan should be developed including preliminary plans for scalability, commercialisation, and deployment (feasibility study, business plan and financial model) indicating the possible funding sources to be potentially used (e.g., Innovation Fund, LIFE, InvestEU, ESIF).

Relevant indicators and metrics, with baseline values, should be stated clearly in the proposal. Research must build on existing standards or contribute to standardisation. Interoperability for data sharing should be addressed.

Clustering and cooperation with other selected projects under this topic and other relevant topics in Horizon Europe (e.g., HORIZON-CL4-2023-TWIN-TRANSITION-01-42 or HORIZON-CL4-2023-RESILIENCE-01-05), with European initiatives (as for example: Circular Cities and Regions Initiative (CCRI) and European Circular Economy Stakeholder Panel (ECESP)), as well as building on existing projects is strongly encouraged (see also Industrial Symbiosis Report of March 2020[4]).

This topic aims to support the goals of the smart cities mission by contributing to a healthier urban industrial symbiosis through waste reduction.

This topic implements the co-programmed European partnership Processes4Planet.

Specific Topic Conditions:

Activities are expected to start at TRL 5 and achieve TRL 7 by the end of the project – see General Annex B.

[1]Not mandatory.

[2]at a scale that allows to take economical and technical decisions for a First of a kind (FOAK) plant.

[3]Waste incineration coupled with district heating is excluded.

[4]Study and portfolio review of the projects on industrial symbiosis in DG Research and Innovation: Findings and recommendations, March 2020 http://ec.europa.eu/info/publications/study-and-portfolio-review-projects-industrial-symbiosis-dg-research-and-innovation-findings-and-recommendations_en

General Information

Call Type
EU Horizon Europe
Eligible Country/ies
EU + Horizon Europe associated countries
Call Identifier (if any)
HORIZON-CL4-2024-TWIN-TRANSITION-01-38
Expected Outcome or Impact
Expected Outcome:
Projects outcomes will enable achievement of the objectives of Processes4Planet partnership by demonstrating hubs for circularity (H4Cs) concepts, fostering circularity within and beyond process industries and driving the partnership’s innovation portfolio towards “First of a kind” demonstrators to de-risk investment for subsequent roll-out. (P4Planet operational objectives 8 and 9).
Projects are expected to contribute to the following outcomes:
1. Demonstrate zero urban waste in a near commercial scale environment through systemic resource recovery as alternative material feedstock; a decrease of GHG emissions is also expected by explicitly addressing the reduced flow of goods (due to geographical proximity);
2. Reduce the freshwater consumption of the urban area by 50%, and re-use 90% of the solid waste generated by the water treatment;
3. Citizens living in cities will benefit from a healthier environment through industrial/urban symbiosis by lowering emissions through circular and renewable energy sources and waste reduction;
4. Use urban/industrial symbiosis and cross-sectorial cooperation to pave the way for achieving the EU Green Deal and “Fit for 55” package objectives: providing recommendations for optimized regional framework conditions by highlighting barriers and suitable innovation-oriented policies and looking for possible synergies with the cities selected by the Cities Mission[1] .
Target Groups
Research Institutes, Academia, Small- and Medium Enterprises, Industry, Non-government organisations, Start-Ups
Submission Deadlines
Single fixed deadline
(Next) Submission Deadline
7 February 2024
Type of Funding Instrument
Collaborative Projects / Consortia
Max. funding amount per project [EURO]
20,000,000 €
Overall budget for all projects [EURO]
40,000,000 €

Author Info

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Patric Gerö

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