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Call of the research programme of the Research Fund for Coal and Steel 2015
bis 30.11.2015
EU - Sonstige
RFCS-01-2015: Coal

1. Improving the competitive position of Community coal
This objective aims at reducing the total costs of mining production, improving the quality of the products and reducing the costs of using coal. This may relate to any phase in the coal production chain:
o modern techniques for surveying deposits;
o behaviour and control of deposits in relation to rock pressure, gas emissions, the risk of explosion, ventilation and all other factors affecting mining operations;
o integrated mine planning;
o highly efficient, largely automated excavation and new and existing mining technologies corresponding to the geological characteristics of European hard coal deposits;
o appropriate support technologies;
o transport systems;
o power supply services, communication and information, transmission, monitoring and process control systems;
o coal preparation techniques, oriented to the needs of the consumer markets;
o coal conversion;
o coal combustion.

2. Health and safety in mines
This objectives covers issues concerning mine safety, including gas control, ventilation and air-conditioning with a view to improving underground working conditions and occupational health and safety as well as environmental issues.

3. Efficient protection of the environment and improvement of the use of coal as a clean energy source
This objective aims at minimising the impact of mining operations and the use of coal in the European Union on the atmosphere, water and the surface within the framework of an integrated management strategy with respect to pollution. As the European coal industry is undergoing constant restructuring, the research shall also be geared towards minimising the environmental impact of underground mines destined for closure. This includes:
(a) a reduction in emissions from coal utilisation, including capture and storage of CO2,
(b) a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, in particular methane, from coal deposits;
© the return to the mine of mining waste, fly ash and desulphurisation products, accompanied, where relevant, by other forms of waste;
(d) the refurbishment of waste heaps and the industrial use of residues from coal production and consumption;
(e) the protection of water tables and the purification of mine drainage water;
(f) a reduction in the environmental impact of installations which mainly use EU coal and lignite;
(g) the protection of surface installations against the effects of subsidence in the short and long term.

4. Management of external dependence on energy supply
The objective covers prospects for long-term energy supply and concerns the upgrading, in economic, energy-related and environmental terms, of coal deposits which cannot be extracted economically by conventional mining techniques. Projects may include studies, the definition of strategies, fundamental and applied research and the testing of innovative techniques which offer prospects for the upgrading of EU coal resources. This includes the integration of complementary techniques such as the adsorption of methane or carbon dioxide, coal bed methane extraction and underground coal gasification.

Research and technological development constitute a very important means of supporting European energy objectives with regard to the supply of European coal and its competitive and environmentally friendly conversion and utilisation. Moreover, the growing international dimension of the coal market and the global scale of the problems confronting it means that the European Union has to take a leading role in meeting challenges relating to modern techniques, mine safety and environmental protection at worldwide level by ensuring the transfer of know-how required for further technological progress, improved working conditions (health and safety) and enhanced environmental protection.

RFCS-02-2015: Steel

With the general aim of increasing competitiveness and contributing to sustainable development, the main emphasis of research and technological development is on the development of new or improved technologies to guarantee the economic, clean and safe production of steel and steel products characterised by steadily increasing performance, suitability to use, customer satisfaction, prolonged service life, easy recovery and recycling.

Proposals submitted under this topic must relate to one of the following research objectives (see Art 8 to 10 of Council Decision 2008/376/EC).

1. New and improved steelmaking and finishing techniques
This objective aims to improve steel production processes with a view to enhancing product quality and increasing productivity. Reducing emissions, energy consumption and the environmental impact as well as enhancing the use of raw materials and the conservation of resources are an integral part of this improvements. Proposals shall address one or more of the following areas:
(a) new and improved iron-ore reduction processes; (b) ironmaking processes and operations; © electric arc furnace processes; (d) steelmaking processes; (e) secondary metallurgy techniques; (f) continuous casting and near net shape-casting techniques with and without direct rolling; (g) rolling, finishing and coating techniques; (h) hot- and cold-rolling techniques, pickling and finishing processes; (i) process instrumentation, control and automation; (j) maintenance and reliability of production lines.

2. RTD and the utilisation of steel
RTD related to the utilisation of steel is undertaken to meet the future requirements of steel users and to create new market opportunities. Proposals shall address one or more of the following areas:
(a) new steel grades for demanding applications; (b) steel properties addressing mechanical properties at low and high temperatures such as strength and toughness, fatigue, wear, creep, corrosion and resistance against fracture; © prolonging service life, in particular by improving the resistance of steels and steel structures to heat and corrosion; (d) steel-containing composites and sandwich structures; (e) predictive simulation models on microstructures and mechanical properties; (f) structural safety and design methods, in particular with regard to resistance to fire and earthquakes; (g) technologies relating to the forming, welding and joining of steel and other
materials; (h) standardisation of testing and evaluation methods.

3. Conservation of resources and improvement of working conditions
In both steel production and steel utilisation, the conservation of resources, the preservation of the ecosystem and safety issues forms an integral part of the RTD work. Proposals shall address one or more of the following areas:
(a) techniques for recycling obsolete steel from various sources and classification of steel scrap; (b) steel grades and design of assembled structures to facilitate the easy recovery of steel scrap and its reconversion into usable steels; © control and protection of the environment in and around the workplace; (d) restoration of steelworks sites; (e) improvement of working conditions and quality of life in the workplace; (f) ergonomic methods; (g) occupational health and safety; (h) reduction of exposure to occupational emissions.

Further information: