The Institute of Science and Innovation in Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (INEGI) has joined the CircEUlar project as of August 2023, using the new Hop-on facility offered by the European Research Executive Agency. 

INEGI is a non-profit organization founded in 1986, focusing on research and technology-based innovation activities, technology transfer, consulting and technological services, oriented to the development of industry and economy in general. Since its creation, INEGI has sought to promote and has engaged in studying sustainable energy systems. 

In line with the overarching goals of the CircEUlar project, the widening partner will bring a new integrated modelling perspective aiming at analysing and quantifying potential interdependencies between mobility and building and household services under the materials-energy-emissions nexus, thus capturing possible trade-offs and/or synergies between the different dimensions, and evidencing how specific circular economy strategies could bring about cross-sectoral benefits and widened impacts. 

Artificial intelligence (AI) techniques have been widely explored in many contexts related to cities dynamics, delivering promising results with high accuracy, large flexibility and generalization capacity. Still, applications to urban areas under a Circular Economy perspective are scarce and its potential remains untapped. Globally, over 50% of the population is urban, accounting for roughly 80% of energy use and 60% of GHG emissions. With a much higher share of urban population of 80% in the EU, developing a better understanding of the implications is key for designing climate and circular economy policies. INEGI will build upon an existing AI model that analyses the effect of urban form on energy use for transports and buildings, and expand it to include additional circular economy variables. It will be applied to two case study cities for validation and gathering quantitative and strategic insights for circular economy practices (Porto, Berlin, Lisbon and Vienna are potential candidates). 

One of the advantages of using AI modelling techniques is that they hold a large flexibility and generalization capacity along with a high prediction accuracy, which will allow using the model developed to explore different scenarios and predict expected outcomes (e.g., GHG emissions) given a combination of explanatory factors. This ability is expected to significantly contribute to the parametrization of the forward-looking modeling analysis, based on the pathway narratives in CircEUlar. At city level, the analysis will be done with a high level of resolution, and it will be spatially explicit, complementing the development of material stock accounts and maps of European countries for mobility and buildings. This integrated analysis will also allow for the identification and assessment of circular-economy business models and strategies for mobility and building and household services as part of the CircEUlar project.  

The Hop-on facility was introduced by the European Research Executive Agency to facilitate research institutions from low performing research and innovation countries, known as widening countries, to join pre-selected already ongoing projects. This initiative aims to support the inclusiveness ambition of the future European Research Area and is funded under the Horizon Europe Work Programme “Widening participation and strengthening the European Research Area”.