Horizon 2020: Steam Up is the first project approved in Italy

Objective: energy efficiency of steam

by Daniele Bussini

Steam and Management Under Pressure is a project coordinated by Energy Experts International – the Netherlands. It sees the participation of two Italian partners and involves some important Italian paper mills as major pilot case-studies. The project general objective is to reduce the energy consumption levels of steam generation processes by means of energy audits.

Improving energy efficiency in industrial production is a major theme within the Horizon 2020European research programme in the framework of EU policies on energy and the environment. Europe is called upon to face major challenges in the next few years to reach the important objectives of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving energy efficiency, starting from energy intensive industrial production.

Some of the first calls of the Horizon 2020 programme, which were published in 2014, concerned the theme of energy efficiency within the main pillar under the name Societal Changes. Specifically, this project.

The EU Commission estimates that the industrial sector might reduce its energy consumption levels up to 13% over the next few years through the adoption of already available and economically sustainable solutions

This call aims at promoting activities that can remove all the limits and barriers to better energy management with special emphasis on energy-intensive industries, which consume about 70% of all the energy used in industrial production.

The Commission identified a number of measures, including the enhanced diffusion of audit and information tools within companies and the increase of specific skills on the topic, if lacking.

Steam and Management Under Pressure, i.e. Steam Up

The promotion of activities that can remove all the limits and barriers to better energy management with special emphasis on energy-intensive industries is the aim pursued by this project, which sees the participation of ten main partners from eight different European countries throughout the entire European area. As regards Italy, project partners include Consul System S.p.A. and the Italian Institution for the Promotion of Technological Innovation Isnova.

Besides the main partners, several companies will be involved in the development and testing of the methods to be developed.

Steam Up is in the Energy Efficiency – Market Uptake Call for projects (H2020-EE-2014-3-MarketUptake) within the Theme Organisational innovation to increase energy efficiency in the industrial sector. The same type of call named H2020-EE-2015-3-MarketUptake is currently open and will be open until June 2015.

The project idea stems from the awareness of the potential improvement that can be achieved in the energy management of steam generation, thereby taking all the factors into account, which represented a limitation to correct energy management in the past as well as the possibility to apply innovative and integrated methodologies for process audits.

More specifically, the projects intends to:

  • identify clear and well-defined energy efficiency proposals targeted to steam networks, specifically to steam production, distribution and use, through detailed energy audits, which should involve company managers at all levels and lead to the identification of non-energy related objectives, too;
  • achieve 55 GWh/year energy savings through the implementation of measures resulting from 75 energy audits targeted to steam generation and use processes;
  • develop a methodology for the audit of the steam network, which is shared with about 400 energy auditors and 75 company managers. An efficient management of the information derived from the audits requires the organization of a web-based management platform, which can be used both by auditors for their reports, and by the management for the transposition of results into action plans;
  • transfer the knowledge acquired during specific seminars and workshops mainly targeted to the producers and users of steam in production processes. Specific training activities are furthermore foreseen planned to exchange knowledge between auditors and experts in the field.

Interview with Consul System engineer Cinzia Felici

Cinzia Felici, Consul System.
Cinzia Felici, Consul System.

We asked a couple of questions to the General Manager of the most important Italian partner of the Steam Up project, which plays a fundamental role in the implementation of the project proposal: below are her answers.

The project foresees pilot studies for the validation of the steam generation methodology. These studies will involve a number of major Italian paper companies. What companies will be involved and what are the main aspects dealt with?

«The project foresees the carrying out of 75 energy audits in 75 industrial companies, which use large quantities of steam for their production process. Nine energy audits will be carried out in Italy with exclusive focus on the steam network. The audits will be carried out in compliance with the requirements of the UNI CEI-TR 11428-2011 standard, with the aim of identifying improvements in the use of energy, reducing energy supply costs, improving environmental sustainability and, as a consequence, re-qualifying the company energy system. Burgo Group, Pro-Gest, Lucart and DS Smith are the paper companies expressed their interest in being involved in the project.»

Will the new energy audit methodologies be applicable also to small and medium-sized paper firms? If yes, how?

«Besides identifying and implementing energy efficiency measures resulting from the energy audits, the project furthermore aims at developing a methodology for the audit of the steam network which is shared among about 400 energy auditors and 75 company managers. This method will be further developed to be applied to SMEs, as well.

The project foresees actions of dissemination of the results obtained both through the traditional communication means (brochures, conferences, seminars, workshops) and through short films illustrating the audit methodology, the results achieved and the socio-economic benefits obtained, which are mainly related to reducing CO2 emissions and enhancing business competitiveness following the implementation of the suggested actions.»

Will the same methods be applicable also to other energy aspects of paper mills other than steam production, or to other industrial sectors?

«The audit methodology will be developed irrespective from the sector of activity of the audited companies. It can therefore be applied to all industrial sectors. Furthermore, although the project aims at exclusively optimizing steam networks the methodology can be extended with the necessary adjustments also to other energy aspects, i.e. the use of electric power, forced air, cooling energy, etc».

Participants in the Steam-Up project

-Energy Experts International EEI, The Netherlands (Coordinator)

-Consul System S.p.A. Italy

-Enviros S.R.O., Czech Republic

-Adelphi Research Ggmbh AR, Germany.

-Escan s.l., Spain

-Österreichische Energieagentur AEA, Austria

-Ministerie van Economische Zaken RVO, Paesi Bassi

-Isnova. Italy

-Cres. Greece

-Lokalenergi Handel A/S LH, Denmark