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Knowledge and technology transfer mobilizes industry for greater eco-efficiency of thermal processes

01 April 2021
During more than three years of project, INEGI dedicated efforts to the transfer of knowledge and technologies to promote the eco-efficiency of industrial thermal processes. The EcotermIP project has now come to an end, having left its mark on the industry, in the form of a path traced towards energy sustainability.

The main objective, now fulfilled, was to promote good practices and methodologies for optimizing and rationalizing the use of thermal energy in industrial processes, for generating thermal energy via renewable energy sources (namely solar thermal and biomass), and to demonstrate the applicability of innovative heat recovery technologies.

Throughout the project, 10 events were held - including workshops, thematic roadshows, and webinars - which attracted more than 750 participants. The project also resulted in the creation of EcoTermoLab, a showroom, with several systems that demonstrate energy technologies.

Energy diagnosis revealed opportunities for improvement in thermal processes

The main targets of these actions were professionals in the sectors of metallomechanics, ceramics, agrifood, dairy products and meat products, due to the considerable weight that these industries have in the Portuguese industry.

The first phase of the project was based on the socioeconomic characterization of these sectors, along with energy diagnostics for the production processes and equipment currently used in about 20 representative companies.

The diagnosis resulted in the elaboration of sectorial reference documents and methodological guides, and revealed opportunities for improvement, namely in terms of the "recovery and use of residual heat and the integration of renewable energies, to supply heat to the production processes, with a clear reduction of gases with greenhouse effect and, at the same time, a reduction in operating costs and an improvement in the efficiency of processes”, says Ana Magalhães, responsible for the project at INEGI.

Knowledge and technology transfer will "translate into real changes"

To encourage the implementation of changes and the creation of greater value in the productive processes and products of the targeted sectors, the Institute's team invested in knowledge transfer actions, sharing experiences and networking activities, also addressing mechanisms and financing opportunities.

"The participation by the companies involved was very positive, and we believe that it will translate into real changes, resulting in a positive economic and environmental impact”, concluded Ana Magalhães.

David Rodrigues, from AIMMAP, also points out that "since energy efficiency is a critical factor for the competitiveness and sustainability of the metallurgical and metallomechanical sector, this project has made it possible, in an extremely positive way, to transfer knowledge to companies in the sector, in the that concerns good practices and methodologies for promoting the eco-efficiency of industrial thermal processes ".

The project closing event took place on March 30th, online, and brought together the project team and stakeholders from the targeted industrial sectors.

The project "EcotermIP - Promotion of Rational Use of Thermal Energy and Integration of Technologies Based on Renewable Energies in Portuguese Industry", led by INEGI, in partnership with the Institute of Welding and Quality (ISQ), is co-financed by the European Union through COMPETE 2020 (Operational Programme Competitiveness and Internationalization), within the scope of the Incentive System for Research and Technological Development.