Good Practice

Are you curious about eco-innovation? Maybe you have heard the term, but are not quite sure what it means for you--as a consumer; a business owner; a policy maker. At the EIO we not only observe what types of eco-innovation are happening across the EU and which countries and sectors are the most eco-innovative, but also identify future opportunities.

We believe that eco-innovation represents a chance for companies to save costs and to expand to new markets, and that implementation of resource-saving eco-innovations at the company level could contribute to greater structural shifts towards sustainability in Europe

The EIO is collecting examples of good eco-innovation practice from across Europe and beyond and bringing them together in our online repository. Examples are gathered from across all the EIO deliverables and span a wide range of topics including information on successful enterprises, clusters, specific technologies and services.

Each example demonstrates how it is possible to introduce new or improved products and services to market while at the same time reducing the use of natural resources and the release of harmful substances.

This interactive search tool allows you to search repository by either country, sector or innovation area, or simply to click through to get an idea of what is happening across the EU and beyond. To help foster knowledge exchange amongst the EIO community, we encouraging you to comment on the studies, share your experience and to place your vote to select the most highly regarded innovations.

Prototype advanced small downwind turbine

Leading_edge The design and development of a new advanced small wind turbine, the LE-600. The LE-600 is uniquely designed to make it catch the wind better, leading to improved performance and a greater capacity to generate energy. It has numerous applications from use in the marine industry, on road safety signs and military forward operating bases.

The LE-600 is uniquely designed to make harness the wind better leading to improved performance and a greater capacity to generate energy. It has applications in a range of areas, from use in the marine industry, on road safety signs and in military forward operating bases. It has already secured more than £7,000 of advance sales.

A regional eco-innovation grant has enabled Leading Edge Turbines to rapidly develop the LE-600 turbine, maximising competitive advantage and thereby improving growth and profit potential. This will help establish Leading Edge Turbines as a manufacturer of high quality small wind turbines supplying to a huge global market.

Leading Edge have already displayed the LE-600 prototype at the influential METS exhibition in November 2010 in Amsterdam and as a result have samples going out to the Caribbean. Through other contacts there are sales orders for Chile, Greece, Spain & Afghanistan. The company continues to have the intention for all assembly & sub-assembly to take place in the West Midlands and in a few years to build a stand-alone manufacturing unit in the area. They are also committed to using suppliers based within the region, wherever possible.

Economic performance

Leading Edge have already secured more than £7,000 of advance sales. Profits generated through sales of the LE-600 will create the cash and act as a catalyst for the development and growth of larger turbines, which will in turn fuel further growth of the company.

Social performance

It will create and safeguard further employment within the local rural community. Leading Edge Turbines are committed to using suppliers based within the region, wherever possible.

Environmental impact

Each LE-600 sold will, on average, save 568 kg of CO2 per annum. Based on estimated sales of 700 LE-600s over the next three years, over their 20-year lifetime these turbines will save 7,700 tons of CO2 – the equivalent to the annual emissions of 1,350 households.

Further information

www.leturbines.com

Image: Leading Edge Turbines Ltd © 

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Pre-treatment plant for food waste

SysavSysav has built a facility to process food waste into biogas and biofertilisers. Each year 25,000–30,000 tonnes of food waste from the region’s households, restaurants and food processing companies will be processed into a pumpable slurry in order to produce biogas, for cars and buses – and move society one step closer to a sustainable society with renewable transportation fuels. Sysav’s plant came into service in 2009. The technology for pre-treating food waste is still very much in its infancy, and several of the technical solutions at the plant cannot be found anywhere else. There is a huge potential of reducing emissions once this pre-treatment technique is fully developed.

Waste must be treated in such a way that the maximum environmental and social benefits are achieved, thus contributing to a more sustainable society. In a sustainable society, it is first and foremost important to minimise the production of waste. This is regulated within the European Union by the framework directive for waste, which requires member states to take measures to prevent the generation of waste. Member states are required to develop a waste reduction plan with the aim of reducing waste by 2020.

Waste management is prioritised according to a five-stage waste hierarchy: 1) Waste prevention, 2) Reuse, 3) Material recycling, 4) Recovery – for example energy recovery through combustion, and finally 5) Disposal. The European Union’s decisions establish the framework for Swedish waste management. One national environmental objective is that by the end of 2018 at the latest, a minimum of 50% of food waste from households, restaurants, catering kitchens and stores must be recycled through biological treatment. In 2011, 14,9% of  the food waste in Sweden was treated biologically in various compost and biogas plants. That  corresponds to 650,300 tonnes or 68,6 kg/person, and indicates an increase of 4,3% compared to 2010.

In order to meet this environmental objective, Sysav built a facility for receiving and processing food waste to produce biogas and biofertilisers. Each year 25,000–30,000 tonnes of food waste from the region’s households, restaurants, and food processing companies will be processed into a pumpable slurry in order to produce both biofertilisers to be used on farming land and  biogas, for cars and buses – and move society one step closer to a sustainable society with renewable transportation fuels.

Sysav’s plant came into service in 2009. The technology for pre-treating food waste is still very much in its infancy, and several of the technical solutions at the plant cannot be found anywhere else. Sysav’s plant can receive three main types of food waste: pumpable liquid food waste (e.g. waste from disposal grinders and fat separation sludge), pre-packed liquid food waste (e.g. milk and juice in cartons), and separated solid food waste (standard, separated food waste from households, restaurants and large-scale kitchens).

The pre-treatment plant was designed with three treatment lines and is monitored and controlled from a control room. There are two operators on site to manage and monitor the pre-treatment plant. The pre-treated food waste then leaves Sysav in the form of pumpable slurry. This slurry is transported to a biogas plant where both biofertilisers and a renewable transportation fuel, biogas, is produced through digestion.

Barriers and drivers

One of the key drivers of this eco-innovation is Sweden's national environmental objective saying that at least 50% of all food waste need to be recycled through biological treatment by the end of 2018. This objective, based on the fact that society needs to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels in order to cut emissions and to secure a longterm energy supply, has pushed the development forward. In addtion, Sysav's overall goal is to recycle as much waste as possible (either as material or energy) in order not to let it go to landfill.

Economic performance

By reusing already existing materials locally (in this case food waste) instead of extracting fossil fuels far away, both material and transport costs go down. However, the total cost for biogas does not necessary go down since one needs more biogas than fossil fuels in order to extract the same amount of energy.

Social performance

Three main positive impacts can be identified. First, producing biogas from food waste reduce our dependence on finite resources and therefore contributes to secure a longterm energy supply. Second, reduced emissions from traffic greatly improves the air quality in the local environment in cities and other trafficed areas. Third, most people's wellbeing increase when knowing that the food waste produced is not wasted, but reused effectively. A potential negative impact might be that traffic will increase as a result of people driving more when they no longer use fossil fuels and therefore consider driving to be environmentally friendly.

Environmental impact

An increased use of biogas as a fuel reduces our dependence on oil, which is important both for the environment and for securing the energy supply in the long term. If 35% (322,000 tonnes) of Swedish food waste from households were to be used as substrates for biogas production (anaerobic digestion), 34 million litres (0.3 TWh) of gasoline could be replaced. This corresponds to the annual consumption of about 28,000 cars and a reduction of 164,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions (0.3% of carbon dioxide emissions in Sweden). Today, only 6% of the food waste from households (about 55,000 tonnes of food waste), is utilised for biogas production. The potential is much higher and is estimated to be 11 TWh of biogas, which can replace over 12% of the fossil transportation fuels. Estimates show that replacing fossil transportation fuels by biogas reduces the carbon dioxide emissions per unit of energy by 90%. Moreover, the end residue from the pre-treatment process is used to produce electricity and district heating.

The production of biofertilisers gives environmental benefits too. Biofetilisers, which contain micro-organisms and humus, can replace the use of commencial fertilisers that are negative for the soil and the ecosystem.

Further information

www.sysav.se

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Qbiss Air

Trimo_SLOVENIA Qbiss Air is a thin, sustainable and efficient building envelope composed as a unique multi-chamber, gas-filled core integrated with exterior and interior skin, suitable for all building types, including high-rise buildings. It provides exceptional thermal and sound performance and is beneficial to the people, environment and business. Environmental performance is strongly derived from great recyclability, less use of resources and materials, energy savings and low CO2 emissions. Qbiss Air is up to three times thinner than a traditional (conventional) construction system and thereby increases the net usable space within a building for no increase in external volume.

Thin, sustainable and efficient Qbiss Air building envelope aims to be a breakthrough for the building sector, a solution that will allow buildings to be built in a more environmentally friendly, economical manner and benefits which will continue to be delivered through the entire life cycle of the building, through greater recyclability, less use of material resources and the lower energy cost it will consume and associated savings in CO2 emissions. Qbiss Air is a global innovation with unique, a high performance, multi chamber, gas filled insulating core, which not only provides the highest insulating efficiency but also enables a much thinner product. The basic element of Qbiss Air is unitized and consist of gas filled insulating core, integrated substructure, exterior and interior skin, made either of glass, high pressure laminate or reinforced gypsum plate, bringing warmth and comfort to the interior. Excellent sound insulation, proven thermal stability and fire resistance make Qbiss Air an advanced building envelope solution for comfortable environment.

Qbiss Air system is three times thinner than conventional building systems, bringing economic benefits relating to higher net usable internal building space. The Qbiss Air system enables fast and simple installation covering floor-to-floor distance, short construction time, and low-risk build for earlier commissioning and therefore faster return on investment. The lightness of the Qbiss Air curtain wall system is of great advantage when constructing high buildings. The Qbiss Air uniforms large glazed or other material selection surfaces without any interruptions of traditional frames or any other supporting or fitting system that are commonly used by other glazing systems or built-up constructions. Qbiss Air building envelope system is pioneering the way to a more sustainable future of construction across Europe and beyond.

Barriers and drivers

The EU and national policies along with market demands for new buildings and the renovation of old buildings have seen the emergence of a number of key points – buildings have to be more environmentally friendly, economic, comfortable and productive. The building envelope occupies a special position within the strategies of sustainable design and construction. The Qbiss Air system is a thin, complete wall solution that is three times thinner than conventional construction systems yet with exceptional technical performance, including thermal insulation value down to 0.27 W/m2K.

There are no major market barriers related to the roll-out of the innovative Qbiss Air system across Europe and beyond. The advanced Qbiss Air system was recognised as a revolutionary new building “concept” as a highly effective multi-chamber gas-filled system, highly recyclable (96 %), with low carbon dioxide footprint (from 39 to 70 kg /m2, based on LCA analysis) and requiring no aluminium frame. Obstacles that could arise relate primarily to the uniqueness of the Qbiss Air system and that it is new and different to what the different target groups (architects, investors, construction companies, etc.) are used to. Being “close” to the customer and providing all the support, including technical information, is the best way to achieve market breakthrough with the innovative Qbiss Air system.

Economic performance

Sustainable and efficient Qbiss Air system aims to be a breakthrough for the European and global building sector. Due to the development towards sustainable and environmentally friendly construction, this product represents one of the leading future products of the company in Slovenia and especially abroad.

Social performance

Qbiss Air is a product following the vision of Trimo – to be a socially responsible company. From the beginning, sustainable development has been central to Trimo’s operations and represents one of the foundations of Trimo’s organisational culture and mission. Trimo chooses preferentially for environmentally and people-friendly products, production programmes and technologies. The company is also actively spreading the culture of a responsible attitude towards climate change in Slovenia and Qbiss Air will therefore have an important impact on the way how the society perceives and advances towards sustainable and environmentally friendly construction.

Living comfort with high air quality, optimal natural light inside the Qbiss Air enveloped building will be a very good platform for working and living conditions as well as contributing to health.

Environmental impact

Sustainable and efficient Qbiss Air is a solution that will allow buildings to be built in a more environmentally friendly, economical manner. Benefits will be delivered through the entire life cycle of the building:

• 96 % recyclability the Qbiss Air system means less waste and therefore less landfill;

• with low embodied energy and low carbon dioxide emissions per unit it will contribute to lower global warming potential (GWP) and therefore climate change;

• high insulation level of the Qbiss Air system means less energy is needed for heating and climate regulation, which means lower use of resources and additionally less raw materials and water (no aluminium framing, concrete / cement). It will contribute to the lower consumption of raw materials by weight compared to other construction systems;

• with high insulation level of the Qbiss Air building envelope less heat is lost through the building envelope and lower energy bills will be strongly beneficial to the investors and occupants as well as for the natural energy resources (oil, gas) preservation.

Further information

Qbiss Air received the Golden Award for Best Innovation in 2011. Available at: http://www.trimo.eu/news/news-32/qbiss-air-received-the-golden-award-for-best-innovation-in-2011/

Qbiss Air brochure. Available at: http://www.trimo.si/media/qbiss-air-brochure-en_21332.pdf

Nomination for the WAN award - Product of the year. Available at: http://www.worldarchitecturenews.com/index.php?fuseaction=wanappln.projectview&upload_id=20127

Qbiss.Air webpage. Available at: http://www.qbiss.eu/thin-and-energy-efficient-building-envelope/

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Tri-dimensional water 'catchers' for fog, dew and rainfall, NRP 3.0 and Gran Garoé

NRP The tri-dimensional fog 'catchers' (fog, dew and rainfall) are simple systems, efficient and sustainable for obtaining high quality water, destined to supply rural communities and other areas with scarce or expensive water supply, as well as for research and application in other areas.

The fog catchers are produced in two different 'generations' of models: the NRP 3.0 and the 'Gran Garoé'.

Due to its special tri-dimensional design, the NRP 3.0 'catchers' allow to face the winds through a large catchment surface occupying minimum space, with great stability and durability, and not being influenced by changes in wind direction. The inner layers in the catchers produce internal turbulences that generate a greater number of collisions between drops that form the mist, and thus increasing the levels of capture. In addition, this allows nightime condensation (dew) and collect rain optimally.

Montes Verdes has recently designed a catcher able to generate quantities of water that are big enough to be integrated in larger projects: the 'Gran Garoé'. The objective of the 'Gran Garoé' is to get integrated into large public and private cooperation and development projects in order to help and improve water and/or energy supply and production in isolated areas, in rural areas, or in natural environments. It has also a tri-dimensional structure, and it is additionally modular. It is possible to extend and adapt to different terrains and also to different water and energy needs. Moreover, the design of the 'Gran Garoé' allows to install on top generators o clean energy (solar panels and small wind generators). A 'Gran Canoé' catcher has an average production performance of 1,000 liters of water a day in optimal conditions.   

In combination, it is possible to assemble the different types of catchers into 'water gardens'. For instance, in a garden of about 5,000 m2 it is possible to produce 275,000 liters of water a day. Used in complement for the improvement of quality of existing water (in a proportion 1:3), it is possible to supply a population of 10,000 inhabitants, increasing the quality and the quantity of water, and reducing costs and environmental damage.    

The catchers have been specially designed to sustain its vertical structures and for the collection, decantation and filtration of the collected water, avoiding in this way additional water loss outside the catcher's structure.

The water obtained through the catchers can be used in many remote areas or sectors with water supply problems, such as:

- Forestry. Supply of forestry depots, reforestation, monitoring centres, shelters, recreational areas, etc.

- Agriculture. Having access to water on the spot, suitable for creating a small water reserve; helping in combating heat waves and droughts in rainfed crops, all without the need of major infrastructures and the storage of irrigation water.

- Livestock. Supply of domestic or wildlife watering systems.

-Human. Provide water supply to isolated areas or in near sites; water supply for cleaning and consumption (i.e. for consumption it is necessary to sanitise the water stored).

Barriers and drivers

Very specific niche market, focusing on isolated rural areas.

Economic performance

The NRP 3.0 have minimal maintenance costs, and they do not require complicated installation works.

Social performance

The fog catchers contribute to the increase in the quality of life of population living in isolated areas.

Environmental impact

The fog 'catchers' do not require energy or generate waste. They can help in protecting forests, support the agriculture and livestock sector, and reduce the overexploitation of current water resources, particularly groundwater.

The technology can be further used for:

- Energy production. By getting water in altitude, it is possible to insert into the pipes through gravity small hydro-turbines for the production of clean energy.

- Water treatment. Through mixing, it is possible to improve low quality water. 

Further information

http://www.montesverdes.es/

http://www.montesverdes.es/athanor.pdf (in Spanish)

http://www.montesverdes.es/entrevista%20el%20dia.pdf (in Spanish)

Pictures source:

http://ecococos.blogspot.be/2012/05/atrapanieblas-un-sistema-tradicional-de.html

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Fast internal circulating fluidized bed steam gasifier

BOSIO_2_Slovenia A fast internal circulating fluidized bed (FICFB) steam gasifier converts solid fuel in the fluidized bed of catalyst with superheated water steam into a new and clean alternative gaseous fuel. This kind of system produces synthesis gas with the high consumption of H2 and caloric value up to 12MJ/Nm3. Key innovation is the dividing of gasification and combustion zones, so that the syngas and flue gases exits gasifier separately. A catalyst that circulates in the system, besides catalysing chemical reaction, acts also as a heat carrier between the zones. It contributes to the higher decomposition of the tars as being side products of thermal cracking of the fuel, i.e. pyrolysis in the reactor.

The key innovation and basic idea of the fast internal circulating fluidized bed (FICFB) steam gasifier developed by Bosio is the dividing of gasification and combustion zones, so that the syngas and flue gases exits gasifier separately. A catalyst that circulates between the gasification and combustion zone, besides catalyzing chemical reactions, acts also as a heat carrier between the zones and contributes to a better decomposition of the tars, i.e. the side-product of the thermal cracking of the fuel (pyrolysis in the reactor).

Fuel is dosed in the reactor and gasifyed at a high temperature in the presence of superheated water steam. The method of adding water steam at a high temperature to the carburetion process enables to produce gases with the low share of nitrogen, i.e. ballast gases. Overheated water steam (>500 °C) is pneumatically conveyed to the reactor in order to create a fluidized bed with fuel and catalyst parts. When hard fuel enters the reactor through the screw transporter, the process at high temperature starts. High temperature and inert atmosphere are the two conditions needed for pyrolysis. Charcoal, tars, synthesis gas and other products are formed in the process.

In the fluidized bed the hot parts of material are mixing. Due to the superheated water steam and solid fuel, gasification starts. In the reactor the endothermic reactions prevail.  Having a look at the processes in the reactor, we see that the reactions take place on the surface of catalyst parts. Diameter of these parts is approximately 400-600 microns. Catalyst performs two functions – firstly, it catalyses the reactions, improves the quality of synthesis gases and decreases the production of tars, and secondly, it transmits the heat from the combustion chamber to the gasification chamber. Due to losses during the process the catalyst has to be reintroduced during the process.

Catalyst along with the coal is fluidized and transported to the combustion chamber, where coal burns and the hard parts of the catalyst warm up. Exothermic reactions in the combustion chamber produce energy needed for the gasification process. Therefore the catalyst exits the combustion chamber having much higher temperature than at its entrance. Temperature in the combustion chamber namely reaches 1100°C.

Catalyst circulates in the combustion chamber and due to air presents the organic particles burn and form flue gases. Hard parts are separated from flue gases in the cyclone. Particles are then transported via siphon back to the reactor and flue gases continue their way through the cleaning system. Siphon between the chambers enables to separate the synthesis and flue gases. Latter are then separately cleaned and treated. The material, however, has to be fluidized in the siphon in order not to stop the processes. Therefore combined oil-gas burners have been built in that enable to add the needed activation energy to the process.

Barriers and drivers

The FICFB gasifier presents technologically a complex challenge – to proceed with the development of the innovation from the pilot phase to the industrial level and introduce it to the market, substantial financial mean are needed. The current financial crisis makes it much more difficult to find or acquire appropriate and needed financial means for further development of such a technologically complex project.

The only reason why Bosio continues with the development of gasifier in spite of financially unfavourable times is because of large interest for these kind of technologies in world markets and changes in the world politics connected with the solution of waste problems (waste --> energy).

Economic performance

These kinds of technologies are not available in Slovenia, meaning that national market will only be created and also markets abroad will be entered with this new technology.

The aim is to develop small units with 250 kW-5MW of power with the use of renewables. Such systems are more attractive, easier to invest and install (regions, cities, villages, companies etc.). Cogeneration systems in Slovenia are being progressively introduced in the energy sector, however, only gas-based. There are no co-generation units that would be based on hard fuel (waste), what represents a niche that Bosio aims to enter.

Social performance

Introduction of such technologies would lead to energetically independent regions with a closed life circle of waste processing. On one hand they would be able to resolve waste issues, on the other hand they would benefit from renewable energy or energy from waste (waste --> energy). In order to make our way of living more sustainable and at least preserve the level of welfare such solutions are indispensable.

Environmental impact

This project has distinctive environmental goals – it enables the production of energy from waste in an environmentally friendly way. It does not directly influence the extent of waste we produce, however, it enables that this waste is effectively used to produce heat and electrical energy thereby solving waste issues many societies face today. Besides this the project allows for an upgrade to produce renewable synthetic fuel either in the liquid form or as methane or hydrogen for fuel cells.

Further information

http://www.bosio.si/en/


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