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Helping EU industries to speed up carbon efficiency

Energy-intensive manufacturing industries are facing significant additional costs for their green house gas (GHG) emissions with the entry into force of the revised EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) as of 1 January 2013. To help GHG intensive installations to cut ETS costs by reducing emissions the European Commission has launched a call for proposals in the context of the new Sustainable Industry Low Carbon initiative. It consists of a set of sector-specific industrial projects aiming to find innovation measures to reduce the carbon-intensity industries. Each project will be carried out by a consortium of industrial stakeholders. The EU will provide co-financing up to 75% in form of grant agreements. European Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani, responsible for industry and entrepreneurship said: “We need to tackle the problem of Climate Change, but we cannot renounce on industrial production in Europe. Therefore, our initiative intends to help industry to adapt and modernise becoming more energy efficient and competitive on the global markets and to keep employment in the EU.”

Typical innovation measures include the switch to alternative fuels, the development of abatement techniques or the wider deployment of best practices through smart educational tools.

The implementation of Sustainable Industry Low Carbon (SILC) is foreseen in two steps:

SILC I (2011-2013) – deploying short term technological and non-technological innovation measures for reducing the carbon-intensity which can be directly implemented;

SILC II (2014-2020) - deploying mid to longer term innovation measures which spur further progress and possible breakthrough solutions, requiring further validation steps prior to their full-scale industrial implementation.

The Commission published the 2011 SILC I Call for Proposals on 26/05/2011 on its website. The deadline for submission of proposals submitted under the current 2011 Call for Proposals is the 30 August 2011.

This call seeks proposals for a first batch of three SILC I projects to be started in 2011. The projects shall be carried out by consortia of industrial stakeholders, possibly in partnership with public or private organisations. Successful projects will receive co-financing by the EU of up to 75% of their eligible costs.

Two further calls for proposals for a second and a third batch of SILC I projects are expected to be published in 2012 and 2013 respectively.


The SILC initiative has a particular focus on 25 'traditional' manufacturing and process activities of the energy-intensive industry1. In focus are technological and/or non-technological innovation measures which will reduce the carbon-intensity of existing installations covered by the EU ETS and which can be implemented in the short term (i.e. immediately to 3 year time horizon) whilst not requiring a further pilot- or demonstration step before their industrial implementation.

EU energy-intensive industries – Coupling competitiveness & climate change

The industry communication of October 2010 (IP/10/1434) highlights the central importance of a strong, competitive and diversified industrial manufacturing value chain for the EU's competitiveness and job-creation potential.

On the other hand, Europe also needs to be able to speed up the transition to the low carbon and resource efficient economy of the energy-intensive industries such as steel, paper and the chemicals industry.

Energy-intensive processes and manufacturing industries consume high quantities of natural resources and energy whilst producing significant amounts of CO2 and other greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. At the same time, the EU ETS intends to drive investment into low-carbon technologies by putting a price on each tonne of greenhouse gases emitted and introducing the principle of auctioning of emission allowances.

It is widely recognised that the reconciliation of these two aspects challenges the ingenuity and creativity of the business community. For a wide range of process and manufacturing industries, the main target will be a common one: finding innovative and least-cost ways to reduce GHG emissions.

New low carbon production technologies and techniques for energy-intensive material processing industries are being developed through Technology Platforms and Lead Market Initiatives. However, appropriate framework conditions and further public-private collaboration at EU level are needed to ensure the timely deployment and commercialisation of these innovations across energy-intensive sectors.

For more information:

The call for tenders

Benchmarks for free allocation of greenhouse gas emission allowances

Distributed Energy Future Trends