TOP REF - Innovative tools, methods and indicators for optimizing the resource efficiency in process industry

  • Dates: February 2018 – August 2018
  • Leader: CIRCE 
  • Grant agreement number: 604140
  • Financied by



As considered in the “Europe 2020 Strategy”, the European Union is facing major challenges such us the economic crisis, sustainability and the competition with emerging economies. In this context, TOP-REF contributes to a smart and sustainable growth while promoting a more efficient, greener and competitive economy based on knowledge and innovation.

To achieve these goals, TOP-REF will develop and demonstrate a robust, resource-efficiency-focused and cross-sectorial methodology. This methodology will be implemented in three non-invasive, real time and on-line monitoring and control (M&CS) tools adapted to three continuous energy and resource intensive processes: Fertilizer, Refining and Chemical. The three tools will be validated under real conditions in three pilots, one in each sector.

The methodology and tools developed will be designed to avoid any modification in the process model, process technologies, or interactions with other processes.

In order to ensure TOP-REF impacts, specific Key Resources Indicators (KRI) will be developed and standardize, which will help to measure the decoupling of environmental impacts and resource use from economic growth.


TOP-REF is committed to increase the competitiveness and efficiency of the EU resource-intensive process industry (from the chemical, agrochemical and petrochemical sectors), as well as to assure a long-term greener economy.

This will be possible due to the development and validation of a set of indicators (KRIs), and a non-invasive control and monitoring system (M&CS), which will allow to:

  • Improve the energy efficiency and the use of resources by 20%
  • Pave the way for reaching the goal set by SPIRE2030, based in reducing the use of non-renewable raw materials by 20% and of fossil energy sources by 30%.
  • Increase both reuse and recycling of materials by 30% (depending on the sector)
  • Reduce the production costs up to 15%
  • Reduce significantly the environmental impacts (CO2 emissions, water footprint, pollutant elements, hazardous emissions)


CIRCE, as coordinator of the project, will be in charge of ensuring its effective and comprehensive administrative and financial management.

CIRCE will be leading the detailed diagnosis of the three processes, finding out the main attributes that represent their most relevant constraints and requirements, defining their boundary conditions, the Key Resources Indicators and the synergies between sectors.

This way CIRCE will play an active role in the Characterization and Optimization of the process by Modelling & Simulation. It will also contribute to the development of the Monitoring and Control System (M&CS) and to its implementation and demonstration, elaborating guidelines for its cross-sectorial replicability.


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