Technical Assistance Facility (TAF), launched by the European Commission as a tool to support Smart Specialisation Platforms (S3P) -Industry investment projects has been open for a second assessment round of applications. The awarded projects were presented by the end of January 2020 and two of the five chosen projects come from the Vanguard Initiative; De- Remanufacturing for circular economy (demo-case, ESM-pilot) and SMBio-LNG (use-case within Liquified bio-methane demo-case, Bioeconomy pilot).
TAF is providing project promoters the opportunity to improve the plans and investment readiness of their projects through support from experts and advisory firms. The projects granted the assistance will receive free-of-charge expert advice tailored to the needs of the individual project. Support can be given in a wide range of topics such as financial structuring, investment vehicles, governance rules, business models, financials, and intellectual property rights.
TAF is connected to the earlier Pilot Action on Interregional Innovation Projects (DG REGIO), in which four out of eight participants were Vanguard Initiative pilots or demo-cases. The pilot, just as TAF, was structured through the smart specialisation approach, and the interregional requirement in both actions can connect them to Component 5 and the general trend towards EU- support for interregional investments in the next programming period.
The De- and Remanufacturing demo-case, coordinated by Lombardy (IT), has identified three areas of improvement where the TAF can be used: improvement of business plan, definition of governance and procedure, and communication and dissemination. Earlier focus has been on the specific use-case composite materials remanufacturing and recycling, to show others a positive development path. The regions participating in the demo-case are Scotland (UK), Saxony (DE), Tampere (FI), Flanders (BE), Basque Country (ES), Norte (PT), Emilia Romagna (IT) and Wallonia (BE).
SMBio-LNG (Shaping the future of Sustainable Mobility) is aiming at deploying a sustainable supply chain of liquefied biomethane for heavy vehicles and urban mobility and is led by Lombardy (IT). Through TAF, it will be supported in the development of a business plan for the assessment of the use of biomethane in the heavy transport sector. The regions Emilia Romagna (IT), North Rhein Westphalia (DE), Piedmont (IT) and Upper Austria (AT) are participating in the SMBio-LNG use-case.
The SMBio-LNG wants to show that this business model is feasible and replicable, not only to serve the market on a regional scale but also involving the entire interregional level production/logistic chain and urban mobility, to create a biomethane market supply chain at European level. Various new conversion pathways for low carbon transport fuels are under development within Europe and abroad. To scale up capacity to industrial-scale plants further investment is needed at levels beyond current trends. Clusters and European interregional networks, such as the Vanguard Initiative Bioeconomy Pilot, can contribute to promoting a policy framework for the market incentives for those technologies to overcome the “valley of death” and achieve full commercial operation, realise efficiencies of scale and help close the price gap between low carbon and fossil fuels.
For more information, contact the Pilot leads below:
- Giacomo Copani, email: giacomo.copani [at] itia.cnr.it
- Roberta Curiazzi, email: roberta.curiazzi [at] afil.it
- Ilaria Re, email: ilaria.re [at] italbiotec.it