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Eco-innovation

Eco-innovation

MagFreeG: innovating the cooling industry

MagFreeG is a European project funded by the CIP Eco-Innovation program and it has aimed at developing a new and innovative gas free magnetic cooling system.

It is a known fact that global warming is one of the most serious issues affecting our society. The need for green technologies that help reducing the emissions of dangerous gases is crucial. Among the several projects working in this direction we find MagFreeG.

Recycling photovoltaic panels….sustainably

 
An innovative alternative   
 

So what happens when a solar panel stops working? An EU funded project developed a device called PV-MOREDE (Photovoltaic panels Mobile Recycling Device) - especially for recycling solar panels through innovative and environmentally friendly technologies.

Photovoltaics-based pumping for irrigation system reduces electricity costs up to 75%

Finding cost effective solutions for water, energy and food sectors

For the end user, such as farmers and irrigators, this system would reduce dramatically their resource consumption and thus costs. Four other demonstration sites have been installed in the north of Spain, Italy, Portugal and Morocco. In the first three sites, MASLOWATEN also demonstrates the use of special low pressure irrigation systems, which bring reduction in water use up to 30%.

More than 300 farmers, irrigators and SMEs visited the demonstration site of an EU-funded project MASLOWATEN in Villena (Spain) on 10 February. 360 kilowatt peak (kWp) photovoltaics-based pumping for agricultural irrigation system that reduces electricity costs up to 75% was installed there in 2016.  

How to find project partners

Most Horizon 2020 projects are collaborative research and innovation projects where at least three organisations from different countries work together. 

Here is a list of services which assist you in finding the right partners for your next project.

€ 1.2 billion of annual environmental savings thanks to eco-innovation projects

189 projects funded by the European Commission between 2008 and 2011 through the Eco-innovation Initiative, brought significant environmental benefits as well as the creation of jobs in Europe. 

Overall, the estimated environmental savings reach an annual €1.2 billion two years after the projects’ closure.  

Even though not being a dedicated job-creation programme, the eco-innovation projects supported by the initiative also generated employment. The analysis shows that an average of 9 full time equivalent jobs has been generated per project. This is complemented by an estimated 4 full-time equivalent jobs safeguarded.

Check the infographic analysing projects' results (click to enlarge):

Innovation Deals: How to boost circular economy innovation

How can innovators navigate regulatory challenges to bring circular economy solutions to the market? The European Commission invites innovators to join a new pilot scheme – the Innovation Deals for a Circular Economy.

Any innovator or group of innovators seeking to introduce a circular economy-related product or service to the market can apply to participate in an Innovation Deal by setting out the regulatory obstacles they are struggling to overcome.

The selected projects will benefit from access to a close cooperation framework bringing together national, local and EU regulatory bodies to help navigate regulatory requirements.

The call for expressions of interest will be open until 15 September 2016.

Beautiful tiles, better for the environment

Just as beautiful, far cleaner

Italian ceramics have a reputation for style and elegance and now one of the biggest manufacturers, Ceramiche Gardenia Orchidea S.p.A, has set up WAP WIR, a project that intended to cut back on hazardous waste while not compromising on aesthetics.

Ceramic tiles are currently manufactured using polyester resins, volatile solvents and hazardous pigments. The project aims to industrialise technology to produce cleaner alternatives that are less polluting to produce and easier to recycle.

New washing machine: spraying saves water and energy

Spray

Washing machine manufacturers have been making great efforts to save energy, and are still inventing new ways of using less water and less heat. “We’re very much part of an industry trend to reduce water and energy consumption,” says Gianpiero Santacatterina, who works for the Italian company Whirlpool R&D, a subsidiary of Whirlpool Group, “but we think we have something new.”

Using spray technology to wet the fabrics in washing machines creates a chain reaction: less water, which means less energy needed to heat the water, and with new detergents that interact at lower temperatures, a final result that adds up to considerable savings in energy.

Reducing the environmental impact of envelopes

Public awareness about eco-friendly packaging is on the rise and European postal services are committed to supporting sustainability.

Even so, all so-called "secure" envelopes - those used for transporting valuables such as money, cheques or confidential documents - currently available on the Europe market are made from polyethylene, a high cost and environmentally-damaging plastic.

That is where the EU-funded SELLOPE project comes in.

The secure envelope market is set to undergo a recycling revolution, partly due to the public’s growing awareness of environmental issues. Inspired by EU efforts to promote products made from eco-friendly materials, this initiative seeks to replace non-ecological envelopes made from highly-polluting polyethylene plastic with paper, laminated with eco-plastic. SELLOPE improves environmental performance by cutting CO2 emission, diverting waste from landfills and promoting recycling and compostability.

Lighter food trays produced using less crude oil

An example of a rPet food tray. © Holfeld Plastics Ltd.

Fewer raw materials, lighter to transport

A carbon footprint of around 85 % less than current alternatives, lighter therefore cheaper to transport, recycled multiple times – rPET foam food trays are attracting industry attention. Over seven million rPET foam trays have been sold to three customers alone: LSG sky chefs catering GmbH, Fresh & Pack Services BV, and Fernholz GmbH.

The food industry makes extensive use of food trays, from fruit and vegetable packaging to ready meals. Current food trays are made of virgin polypropylene which, when no longer useful, finds its way into landfill or incineration. rPET-FOAM has piloted an alternative to the current trays on offer which is lighter, uses less crude oil and can be reused an indefinite number of times. The project now intends to go into greater production.

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