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Case studies

There will be two sessions (session 3 and session 5) of 15 case studies each. For each of these sessions, each participant will sit at their first selected case study table for 30 minutes (the case study number and title will be shown on each table). The case study presentation will last for 30 minutes – 10 minutes of presentation by the speaker and 20 minutes for discussion.

The moderator will ring the bell to announce the end of the first round of case studies and participants will change table. The second group of participants will be invited to sit at the tables. The speaker stays in the same place during this change.

The same procedure will happen a third time, allowing participants to choose a third case study.

These sessions will not be interpreted.


An interactive session will showcase companies which have invested in eco-innovative products and services and circular business models. The session will offer a wide range of case studies, enabling participants to choose the ones of most interest to them. Participants choose 3 from 14 case studies (30 minutes each).

Case study 1: INNEON Impact Investment Fund
Alexis Figeac, Head of Sustainable Business and Entrepreneurship, CSCP

In the context of INNEON over 140 eco-innovations were screened, and 50 coached, to achieve investment-readiness. While ten have found investment, there remains a funding gap for the remaining 40. The impact investment fund would invest in these businesses, technologies and projects to create a real environmental and social impact (decarbonisation, reduced resource inputs, promotion of re-use, recycling and collaborative consumption). The INNEON impact investment fund will diversify risk through a balanced portfolio approach.

Case study 2: EuroEnergie loan
Jan Rosen, Public Support Programmes Project Manager, Segments & Products, Marketing and Communication, Komerční banka, a. s.

Komerční banka in cooperation with the European Investment Bank (EIB) provides financing for energy efficiency investments. Thanks to the EIB involvement (Private Finance for Energy Efficiency-PF4EE programme) the bank is able to provide loans with below-market interest rate and with reduced requirements on the collateral. There is an EU guarantee behind the PF4EE programme, which reduces the risk on a portfolio basis. Technical assistance facilitates the implementation process.  
PF4EE targets projects which support the implementation of National Energy Efficiency Action Plans and other energy efficiency programmes of EU Member States. PF4EE provides an opportunity for Komerční banka to deliver an extraordinary advantage to its clients.

Case study 3: NeoZeo – a clean tech spin-out from Stockholm University
Toby Moore, Managing Partner, Imprimatur Capital Fund Management (ICFM)

General description:
The aim of this project is to invest in an innovative cleantech startup with high IP value and global growth potential that helps farmers generate income from farm waste.
NeoZeo’s patented nano-structured zeolites are sticky for carbon dioxide and not sticky for methane. Thus when a raw biogas mixture of CO2 and NH4 is pumped through a column containing the zeolites, the column traps the CO2 and releases >95% pure biomethane which can then be pumped directly into a car or bus as vehicle fuel. NeoZeo’s raw biogas upgrading equipment enables dairy or pig farmers to produce biomethane fuel for their own use or to sell, thereby generating income from cow or pig manure. With investment in 2014 NeoZeo was able to build the equipment and market the product to potential customers in Europe.

Case study 4: Investing growth capital in Resource Efficiency companies in Europe
Peter Horsburgh, Chairman, ETF Partners

ETF Partners manages ~EUR 250 m in funds investing growth capital in resource efficient companies throughout Europe. Backed by ‘blue-chip’ institutions, we invest EUR 4–15 m per company, owning ~15–35 %, we take board seats and use our expertise to help our companies grow. We typically hold companies for four to six years; selling them through trade sales or IPOs. The talk highlights how we find such companies, what they do, and how we manage the investment process. We seek companies with substantial growth prospects, strong IPs, and those that benefit the environment in a large and quantifiable way. In short, those that make both a big financial, and a big ‘green’, impact. The fund aims at substantial capital appreciation and environmental benefit.

Case study 5: KredEx
Mari Vavulski, Head of Startup Estonia, KredEx

Startup Estonia is a governmental initiative that aims at supporting Estonian start-ups by seeking to supercharge the Estonian start-up ecosystem so that more global success stories will come out of Estonia. We are making Estonia one of the world's best places to start a company by focusing on the following four building blocks:

  • Strong Ecosystem: Uniting, building and representing the local start-up community.
  • Smart People: Organising trainings for start-up teams and cooperating with higher education institutions.
  • Smart Money: Educating local investors and attracting foreign investors to Estonia.
  • Friendlier Regulations: Making it easier to operate a start-up, invest, or raise funding in Estonia.

The discussion will focus on developments in the start-up ecosystem, and the current status of the possibilities Estonia has to offer for start-ups.

Case study 6: Green Start-up Investment Alliance
Linda Bergset, Senior Researcher, Borderstep Institute for Innovation and Sustainability GmbH

Between 2006 and 2013, 168 400 companies offering environmentally friendly products and services were founded in Germany. Green start-ups, however, often experience challenges in accessing funding. The development and commercial launch of sustainable, radical innovation exceed many investors’ time-horizons; the cultural differences between sustainability-oriented entrepreneurs and early-stage investors can be significant, and short-term profit expectations often do not correspond well with the long-term societal benefits provided by green products/services. GreenUpInvest helps provide solutions to these discrepancies through activities such as, the mobilisation of investors, establishing criteria for the sustainability evaluation of start-ups for investors, optimising matching formats, and providing online information.
The project aims at improving the financing situation for green start-ups in Germany.

Case study 7: SME Instrument
Marco Rubinato, Project Officer, Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME), Unit A2 SME-Instrument

Under the umbrella of Horizon 2020, SME Instrument provides up to EUR 2.5million to ambitious and innovative SMEs to help them commercialise their ideas without giving away any equity. We receive around 10 000 applications per year on a wide range of topics, but we fund only 7 % of them. We scout SMEs with disruptive and innovative ideas and solid business plans on the basis of the following criteria: excellence, impact (market, customers, competitors, IPR protection, resources), and implementation. Once these SMEs are granted funding, we help them grow and scale-up via coaching, events, networking and other activities.

Case study 8: EIB - Financing Innovative SMEs and Midcaps
Liesbet Goovaerts, Environmental Engineer, European Investment Bank

Whether you are an SME with fewer than 250 employees, a midcap with 250 – 3 000 employees, or a large public or private company, the EIB Group has a financing solution for your research and innovation needs. It lends directly to projects worth over EUR 15 million, often with long tenors, and supports small and medium-scale projects through local partner banks.

The EIB Group has tailor-made a series of financial instruments in collaboration with the European Commission to ensure and enable better funding for research and innovation. One of these instruments is the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), a guarantee of EUR 16 billion from the EU budget, complemented by an allocation of EUR 5 billion of EIB’s own capital, to support investment in, among other areas: research and development; environmental, urban and social projects; support for smaller businesses and midcap companies.

Case study 9: Sitra’s investing and societal work on the circular economy
Ernesto Hartikainen, Circular Economy Specialist, Sitra, Finnish Innovation Fund

Sitra – Finnish Innovation Fund is a fund under the Parliament of Finland with a value of approximately EUR 771 million. Nowadays Sitra invests its capital through target funds, whereas Sitra’s operational activities focus on societal transformation through experimental projects and foresight activities. One of Sitra’s Focus Areas is on supporting the transition to a circular economy and involves activities such as building the National Action Plan on the Circular Economy for Finland and organising the World Circular Economy Forum 2017 in Helsinki, on 5 – 6 June 2017.

Case study 10: Green-tech startups - "spin-in”s and spin-offs
Jana Pavlenkova, CEO, MTÜ Prototron

In 2012, Swedbank, Tallinn University of Technology and Tallinn Science Park Tehnopol founded the Prototron Fund to support business ideas. 
Prototron was the first fund in Europe granting equity-free funding to start-ups so they could build their first working prototypes to test on customers. We focus on electronics, mechatronics, ICT and green-tech. To enhance green-tech ideas as well as providing additional financial resources, we have attracted the best mentors in the field of eco-innovation. Cooperation with Utilitas began in 2015, and with the Ministry of Environment in 2016.

Case study 11: Kick-start and booster funding with EIT RawMaterials
Olli Salmi, Managing Director of the Baltic Sea Co-location Centre, EIT RawMaterials, Jaakko Pellinen, CEO, Customer Service, Oulu Water Alliance (OWA) and Solvita Kostjukova, Co-Founder and CEO, ALINA LLC

EIT RawMaterials aims at significantly enhancing innovation rates in the raw materials sector (from mining to processing, recycling and circular design) through financial support as well as via network and collaboration activities. If you have a business idea, you can apply at any time for:

  • Start-Up Booster: providing a support package to customers with excellent start-up ideas.
  • SME Growth-booster: providing business support, based on a competitive selection process, to existing SMEs in their expansion beyond their local reach.
  • Kick-start Funding: providing immediate funding for assessing the feasibility of promising start-up initiatives that cannot wait for the normal yearly cycle.

Case study 12: The new LIFE Progamme 2014-2020
Christian Strasser, Deputy Head of Unit, European Commission, Directorate-General for Environment, LIFE Programme Unit (DG ENV D4) and Mario Lionetti, Project Adviser, Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME), Unit B3 LIFE & CIP eco-Innovation

The LIFE Programme is the EU’s funding instrument for the environment and climate action. The general objective of LIFE is to contribute to the implementation, updating and development of EU environmental and climate policy and legislation by co-financing projects with European added value.

LIFE began in 1992 and to date there have been four complete phases of the Programme (LIFE I: 1992–1995, LIFE II: 1996–1999, LIFE III: 2000–2006 and LIFE+: 2007–2013). During this period, LIFE has co-financed more than 4000 projects across the EU, contributing approximately EUR3.1 billion to the protection of the environment. The European Commission (DG Environment and DG Climate Action) manages the LIFE programme. The Commission has delegated the implementation of many components of the LIFE Programme to the Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME). External selection, monitoring and communication teams provide assistance to the Commission and EASME. The European Investment Bank will manage the two new financial instruments (NCFF and PF4EE).

Case study 13: Funding opportunities and support from EU Cohesion Policy
Sander Happaerts, Policy analyst sustainable growth, European Commission, Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy (DG REGIO G1)

With more than €350 billion of EU co-financing in the 2014-2020 period, cohesion Policy is the EU's main arm of investment. Investments from the European Regional Development Fund and the Cohesion Fund will be used to develop new production processes, and to support resource efficiency and innovative technologies in SMEs. Waste management will also continue to be supported in the regions where this is particularly needed. In addition to financial aid, Cohesion Policy offers significant support to Member States and regions to implement the Circular Economy package in terms of technical assistance, capacity-building tools, and territorial cooperation. There are also additional tools to encourage and increase the use of financial instruments in Cohesion Policy in the 2014-2020 programming period.

Case study 14: Environmental Investment Centre (est. Keskkonnainvesteeringute Keskus)
Veiko Kaufmann, Member of the Management Board andKadi Mitt,Development adviser (Negavatt), Environmental Investment Centre (est. Keskkonnainvesteeringute Keskus)

Environmental Investment Centre (EIC) is a governmental foundation that has over 16 years supported nearly 19,000 environmental projects with ca. 1,2 bln EUR. The sources of funding include environmental fees, EU structural funds, CO2 trading and loan instruments. The projects supported by EIC increase the demand for eco-innovative technologies and solutions in sectors including renewable energy, energy efficiency, sustainable transportation, water management, nature protection and environmental awareness. Among others, EIC has from 2014 onwards been organizing an energy and resource saving competition Negawatt that encourages students to offer innovative solutions that help to conserve resources in universities.




An interactive session will showcase projects and initiatives supporting investments and financing for eco-innovative companies and circular business models. The session will offer a wide range of different case studies, enabling participants to choose the ones of their interest. Participants choose 3 from 15 case studies (30 minutes each).

Case study 1: RECALL: a sustainable business model for nappy recycling, Italy
Marcello Somma, Head of Sustainability & Sustainable Innovation, FATER SpA

The aim of the RECALL project is to offer to the market an economic and environmentally friendly solution for Absorbent Hygiene Products (AHP) post-consumer waste. AHP is the category name for nappies, sanitary pads, tampons, and adult diapers. These products are one of the most challenging types of post-consumer waste.

Case study 2: Xeros Bead Cleaning – Laundering with Reuseable Polymer beads, United Kingdom
Dr. Steve Jenkins, Chief Science Officer, Xeros Limited

The project promotes the uptake and use of Xeros bead cleaning laundry systems which use reusable polymer beads to replace water as the cleaning agent in commercial laundry processes. The technology allows reductions in water use by up to 80 %, and lower detergent consumption – typically by 50 %. The improved cleaning action of the polymer beads also allows the use of low wash temperatures (20 °C), thereby saving process energy. The polymer beads themselves are reusable with a lifetime of over 500 cycles, after which they can be recovered and recycled into high value polymer component manufacturing operations. Different markets for the product have been investigated: commercial cleaners, dry cleaners, the hotel sector and the working clothes sector. In the USA, the system is already widely applied and there is huge market potential in Europe.

Case study 3: Microalgae Production in Austria: from an EC funded project to industrial scale, Belgium
Pierre-François Bareel, R&D Manager, Comet Traitements SA

Biolix aims to scale up the beneficiation of polymetallic shredding residues by using a bacterially assisted leaching system which allows the selective recovery of base metal such as copper while concentrating precious and critical metals as well as rare earth metals into enriched substrates. Compared to “Best Available Technologies”, BIOLIX has numerous economic and environmental benefits such as significant reduction of primary resources extraction, improvement of recycling efficiency and reduction of CO2 emissions.

Case study 4: Robotic waste sorting, Finland
Harri Holopainen, Head of Technology, ZenRobotics Ltd. 

ZenRobotics installed the world's first recycling robots for Suez Finland in 2013. In the ReWARD project, Suez and ZenRobotics have ramped up the robotic sorting process for heavy waste at Suez's recycling facility in Helsinki. The project has proven that smart robots are a commercially viable solution for demanding recycling applications. Compared to traditional solutions, smart robots offer unparalleled versatility and extremely low operating cost. The project focus is on using smart robots to recycle construction and demolition waste. 

Case study 5: Construction and operation of a photobioreactor (PBR) for the production of micro algae comprising high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, Austria
Dr. Silvia Fluch, Chief Operating Officer, Ecoduna

ecoduna is the global technology leader in the construction of algaculture systems. Based on the hanging garden technology, which was patented by the founders of ecoduna, a novel, superior photobioreactor has been developed, which solved most of the persistent problems associated with standard micro algae culturing technologies. With this novel, low energy consuming technology, continuous harvesting is now possible - which supersedes batch cultivation followed by intense cleaning efforts. Pump-free vertical liquid transfer in a special geometry allows maximum light harvest for optimal productivity – and makes ecoduna the technology leader in the field.
Case study 6: Gelatex - developing eco-innovative leatherlike material with minimum cost, Estonia
Mari-Ann Meigo, Business Development and Märt-Erik Martens, Research and Development Specialist, Gleather

Gelatex aims at producing an eco-friendly alternative for leather or faux leather. The material is made using gelatin which is made of low value waste of meat industries. Gelatex is a non-woven textile that is free of toxic chemicals and is 50% cheaper than leather when produced at industrial scale. In addition, the material is chemically identical to natural leather. The team started to work together in April 2016 and won Climate Launchpad European finals on 8th of October 2016 (at this time with a name Gleather).

Case study 7: Ampler Bikes, Estonia
Ardo Kaurit, Founder, Ampler Bikes

Ampler Bikes was born from the desire of three friends for practical and stylish bikes that are tons of fun to ride. As engineers and avid cyclists, the strong drive to create ultimate city bicycles grew into founding Ampler Bikes. Today, we have a team of seven bike enthusiasts serving cyclists around the world. Our mission is to make practical yet beautiful electric bicycles that make personal transport effortless, fast and comfortable. Every Ampler bike is designed and hand-assembled in Estonia with great attention to detail. We want you to have a stylish, high-quality electric bicycle for a good price. That’s why we’ve removed all the middlemen and are selling the bikes directly to you.

Case study 8: Smart Street Light and sensor network within SmartEnCity project, Estonia
Alar Võrk, Chief Executive Officer, Cityntel

The aim is to install new smart LED street lights in the project area. Street lights will receive information about traffic flow, human presence and weather and will adjust brightness accordingly. When there is little traffic, street lights will dim to save energy. The same wireless network will comprise of other sensors measuring air pollution, noise, temperature, humidity etc.
The aim of this project is to save energy through dynamic street light control and collect environmental information using low cost wireless sensors embedded into one wireless network. By using this approach, it is possible to reduce the cost of all installed elements to a level which is affordable for all municipalities.

Case study 9: Implementing upcycling into mass-producing garment and textile industry, Estonia
Marko Kiisa, CEO and Partner, UPMADE

UPMADE® software was developed to deliver industrial-scale upcycling solutions to the garment industry. Thanks to the software, brand owners and producers are able to make their leftover textiles valuable, creating sustainable garments out of their own leftovers. UPMADE® software enables the transparent analysis of material use, conducts environmental savings calculations (based on Life Cycle Analysis) and organises the production of upcycled garments, all without interrupting the conventional production process.
UPMADE® software is part of the UPMADE® design and production system, developed by sustainable designer Reet Aus, PhD. It fully analyses the garment life and production cycle and also includes independent UPMADE® certification. This is the first time that upcycling has ever been made applicable for mass production.

Case study 10: Prometheus: Platinum gRoup MEtals saving by monoliTHos Efficient and disrUptive catalySt innovation, Greece
Iakovos Yakoumis, Founder & CEO, Monolithos Catalysts & Recycling Ltd.

The PROMETHEUS project will bring a disruptive innovation to the market. For the first time, up to 60 % of the PGMs used in autocatalysts can be substituted with copper nanoparticles, without compromising on performance or durability.
Specifically, the PROMETHEUS project objectives are:
1. Industrialising PROMETHEUS production and the large scale demonstration of PROMETHEUS performances.
2. Substituting 60 % of the PGMs used in autocatalysts with copper nanoparticles.
3. Decoupling Europe from a Critical Raw Material (i.e PGMs).
4. Boosting European automotive and emission control catalyst markets. Copper costs ~6 800 times less than platinum (EUR 4.5 /kg against EUR 30 550 /kg), which means that European industries can save almost EUR 250 m for reinvestment in RD&I and job growth.
5. Boosting MONOLITHOS’ growth worldwide.

Case study 11: Tracer Based Sorting for PVC window profiles, Germany
Jochen Moesslein, Co-founder & CEO, Polysecure GmbH

The PVC window frame industry has been searching for a sorting technology to differentiate between PVC with and without glass fibers. The solution is to mark with a specific fluorescent particle (10-100ppm) all PVC compounds containing glass fiber during production of the window frames (involving no additional process). The glass fiber containing and marked with PVC flakes are identified in a high throughput laser-based sorting machine from Polysecure. The aim of the project is to develop and establish a sorting process for PVC flakes from window profiles so that different PVC compounds can be differentiated and recycled. The feasibility case is for a new and more efficient sorting solution for all plastic waste streams including the 20 million tons of waste generated from plastic packaging materials. The technology can now be applied to all plastic waste streams. The first demonstration project with P&G, PolyOne, VanGansewinkel, Indorama, and EPRO is

Case study 12: Black Bear: Bringing the circular economy to tyres
Clara Song, International Business Development Manager, Black Bear Carbon

Black Bear has developed innovative technology to extract carbon black (CB) from waste tyres, to produce high quality grades of CB that can be used as replacements of even better quality than existing CB. Almost everything that you see around you that is black in colour has CB in it. CB is traditionally produced from oil, emitting CO2 and polluting the environment. Each plant we build saves more CO2 than one million trees can consume!
We are ramping up production at our first plant in the Netherlands, and are now working on rolling out internationally, bringing a high value, circular solution to a significant global waste problem.

Case study 13: The first on-site mobile solution for complete synthetic grass recycling and materials reuse – ARENA concept, Estonia
Martin Kärner, Board Member, Sports Installations Board member & CEO, Advanced Sports Installations Europe AS

Today, there are already more than 20,000 synthetic grass sporting fields in Europe alone. Europe already accounts for almost half of all synthetic grass fields in the world and by 2020, the number of 3G grass installations is expected to increase by 50% and in long-term reach up to 125,000 fields in EU. Currently, 90% of used synthetic grass is just landfilled, creating already over 600,000 tonnes of mixed wastes in Europe each year.
ASIE have addressed this user need by developing an ARENA concept for complete on-site synthetic grass recycling. The unique ARENA concept combines innovative synthetic grass removal and recycling equipment, effective supply chain management and environmentally sustainable service model.

Case study 14: The successful financing journey of a green Swedish startup, Sweden
Gustav Röken, Chief Financial Officer, Exeger Sweden AB and Alexandre Askmo, Business Developer, Exeger Sweden AB

Exeger was founded in 2009 on an idea that a new, more sustainable kind of solar cell could be mass produced to compete with the traditional solar cells available today. We have built the world’s largest screen printing factory for production of solar cells in the city center of Stockholm. 
Exeger has been financially backed by industrial partners who saw the potential in the integration of the solar cell into their business models. We have received government grants and loans from VINNOVA, the EU-LIFE+ programme and the Swedish Energy Agency. We are now looking to the EIB and EFSI to finance our second large-scale factory in Europe for global roll-out of our solar cells.

Case study 15: DSM-Niaga® Technology: products that can be reused again and again. Niaga, the 100 % recyclable carpet, The Netherlands
Ward Mosmuller, Director EU Affairs, Royal DSM N.V.

Many everyday materials are complex combinations; take carpet: full of different kinds of substances you want to avoid in your home (bitumen, latex). Complete carpet recycling seems impossible, though the need is evident: 1.5 billion m2 of carpet is wasted every year.

DSM-Niaga outsmarts complexity and enables full reuse. Niaga carpets are fully recyclable through smart material choice at the design phase. One material and a modular set-up: simple, safe, recyclable. Niaga: a highly innovate concept that makes decorating houses more sustainable. Why incinerate or use landfill when we have simple, safe and fully circular solutions?