This summer, the French government and its General Secretariat for Investment launched three new calls for innovation projects on ecological transition(1). One of them, (“Economie circulaire – Ecoefficience dans l’industrie, l’agriculture et l’eau – “The Circular economy – Eco-efficiency in Industry, Agriculture and Water” (ECEI)) is looking for projects contributing to the move towards a circular economy as a whole, from eco-design to waste prevention, via material, energy and water efficiency.
This new call for projects is aimed at demonstrators giving priority to eco-design in products and services, enabling more efficient material and energy production; the prevention of waste production and the production of secondary resources, while also helping to preserve water resources.
Projects should “provide added environmental value, be innovative in terms of the current state of the art and the competition, meet demand in a given target market, be scalable to mass markets, or else have a niche market focus with significant added environmental value.” They should also “be located within French territory, as a priority.”
Eco-design and efficient production
Projects within the eco-design field should foster: improvements in products or services (functionality, extended lifespan, resistance to planned obsolescence, recyclability); creation of packages or products suitable for new uses or within the service economy; increased use of recycled raw or recovered materials or the substitution of materials or the design of clean, resilient products and services.
Projects focusing on efficient production processes may enable optimisation of material and water consumption in production systems and equipment or processes, the use of renewable and recycled materials and the recycling of co-products. They will be able to help build synergies between industrial players, in order to utilise new material or energy resources from sources not yet adequately exploited or developed. They may improve performance and energy efficiency in equipment production systems or processes (integration of renewable energies in production processes, elimination systems in industrial processes, electrification of processes, the reduction or capture and harnessing of GHG). They may also help to reduce the impact of waste on the environment, in terms of effluent or atmospheric emissions.
Waste prevention and production of secondary resources
The projects expected here may contribute to waste prevention and to setting up innovative, efficient solutions for the collection, sorting, preparation and re-use of materials, as well as to improving the quality of waste streams and reducing the quantity of non-recoverable waste. They may facilitate production of raw, recycled materials (securing supplies, constant, monitored quality, competitiveness, etc.) and assist in the treatment of final, non-recoverable waste. They may, in addition, help recover energy resources from waste, by developing technologies for replacing primary fossil fuels.
Improvement of water cycle management
In this area, projects may in particular relate to: the safety & security of installations and infrastructure for water collection and treatment; at-source reduction of water pollution and run-off or combating the discharge of macro- and micro-plastics waste into the sea through upstream preventive measures. They will therefore also involve collection, treatment and distribution operations, as well as the optimisation of resource management and new business and management models.
Launched on 31 July, these calls for projects “are intended to be repeated each year, and are coupled with more specific calls aimed at inspiring innovative projects on more targeted key subjects.” Project submissions may be made up to 20 January 2020.
Other Calls for projects
“Energy Systems – Sustainable Cities and Regions” seeks projects relating to optimised energy systems, the production/supply of renewable energies and renewable energy carriers, and environmental optimisation on the scale of a building, an island or a region.
“Bio-economy and Environmental Protection” is seeking projects which contribute to environmental protection, the restoration of ecosystems and new modes of production, and the recovery and consumption of resources.
*These three calls for projects are part of the “Demonstrateurs et Territoires d’innovation de Grande Ambition” (DTIGA) [Ambitious Innovative Demonstrators and Territories], an action plan from the 3rd Investments for the Future programme (PIA 3), with a €300 million funding allocation.