Ensuring that the EU process industry achieves greater energy efficiency and sustainable energy sourcing. This is the aim of the SET-IndEU (Strategic Energy Technology for Industry in Europe) project whose launch was celebrated earlier this month at a formal kick-off meeting in Brussels, in front of its partners and representatives of the European Commission. This new project proposes a structured Secretariat to support and reinforce the activities and results of the European Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET Plan) Implementation Working Group 6 (IWG6).
In this way, over the next three years the SET-IndEU consortium will support the IWG6 to advance the monitoring and review of the implementation of SET Plan Action 6 and achieve the technology targets collectively in all SET Plan countries, making EU industry less energy, resource and emission intensive and more competitive. This will take into account the future needs of all industrial sectors that convert raw materials and secondary resources into materials that are used in manufacturing industry to make products or directly as products (e.g. tiles, paper, bricks).
The project will also focus on research and innovation objectives and emerging policy priorities, involving IWG6 stakeholders in key activities with industry and research associations and fora, specifically strengthening relations, dialogue, and exchange with the other SET Plan IWGs and the European Technology and Innovation Platforms (ETIPs).
To achieve these aims, SET-IndEU brings together a consortium of three strategically complementary partners, leaders at EU level in their fields of expertise. Zabala Innovation – an innovation-oriented consultancy with more than 36 years of experience in EU-funded projects – will coordinate the implementation of the project and ensure maximum synergies and engagement with related R&I initiatives, leading also the communication, dissemination and exploitation activities, which are essential for such an action.
Zabala Innovation will work in close collaboration with the European Energy Research Alliance (EERA), the largest energy research community in Europe, which will lead the technical activities of the IWG6 from the research point of view. In addition, A.SPIRE, the European Process Industry Association that manages and implements the co-programmed Processes4Planet Partnership from the private side, will rely on its broad community to ensure the engagement of its industrial members in the preparation of the strategic documents to be delivered.
SET-IndEU project: a game changer
SET-IndEU has received funding from Horizon Europe, the EU’s flagship programme for research and innovation, and will end in August 2026. The project is well positioned in the framework of the European Green Deal, with which the EU aims to achieve climate neutrality and a fully circular economy by 2050. Beyond this ambitious target, this agreement emphasises that the transition must preserve the competitiveness of energy-intensive industries in general, and the process industry in particular, which is recognised as “indispensable” for the EU economy.
This concept was at the heart of European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s latest State of the Union address last week. She also reiterated that the EU “will continue to support European industry throughout this transition”, referring to the changes towards a more sustainable economy. The central objective for the coming years “will be to support each sector in building its business model for the decarbonisation of industry”, as “this transition is essential for our future competitiveness in Europe”, she added.
The process industries
The process industries, which are the focus of the SET-IndEU project, are a key part of many value chains in EU countries. Likewise, as large consumers of energy and resources, they are also key to enabling a climate-neutral energy system and contributing to the circular economy. Recent legislative packages, such as the Net Zero Industry Act and the Critical Raw Materials Act, will also depend on the success of decarbonisation and increasing the competitiveness of the process industry.
The other major pillar to which SET-IndEU contributes, the SET Plan, aims to accelerate the transition to a climate-neutral energy system through the development of low-carbon technologies. It brings together the European Commission, EU Member States and other interested countries, industry and the research community to coordinate research efforts and investments.