BELGIUM, Brussels. The European Commission has launched a €71k proposal for a feasibility study on solar energy for the food industry.
The Commission said the project was launched to remain competitive, limit environmental degradation and optimise the efficient use of resources and develop more resource-efficient and sustainable food production and processing, throughout the food system in a competitive and innovative way.
It claims current food production and processing systems, especially in the SME (small to midsize enterprise) sector, need to be revised and optimised to achieve a significant reduction in water and energy use, greenhouse gas emissions and waste generation, while at the same time improving the efficiency in the use of raw materials, increasing climate resilience and ensuring or improving shelf life, food safety and quality.
The proposal includes a CPVT (concentrated photovoltaic thermal) market study for the application of concentrated PV-T solar energy and LTS (large thermal storage) to support sustainable food security by building two CPVT demonstration plants in food-processing facilities in Europe. Demonstration plants will be built in northern Europe, in the Netherlands, and southern Europe in Spain.
SME businesses are invited to participate in the project which will consist of three phases with a coaching and mentoring service via the Enterprise Europe Network.
This could include, for example, support in identifying growth potential, developing a growth plan and maximising it through internationalisation; strengthening the leadership and management skills of individuals in the senior management team and developing in-house coaching capacity and developing a marketing strategy or raising external finance.
Phase 1 of the project involves submitting technical and financial information to make way for phase 2 of a final construction plan for both demonstration plants.
The concept proposed is a solar concentration hybrid photovoltaio thermal cogeneration system using triple solar cells and a solar tracking device to capture the maximum possible solar energy with a parabolic trough linear concentration. The proposal should give the specifications of the elaborated business plan, which is to be the outcome of the project and the criteria for success. Funding will be provided in the form of a lump sum of €50,000. Projects should last around six months.
In phase 2, projects will be supported that address the challenge of sustainable food security and demonstrate high potential in terms of company competitiveness and growth underpinned by a strategic business plan.
Activities should focus on demonstration, testing, prototyping, piloting, scaling-up, miniaturisation, design and market replication to bring an idea (product, process, service etc.) to industrial readiness and maturity for market introduction, but may also include some research.
Proposals will be based on an elaborated business plan either developed through phase 1 or another means. Particular attention must be paid to IP protection and ownership; applicants will have to present convincing measures to ensure the possibility of commercial exploitation (“freedom to operate”).