ENEA, the Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development, is carrying out research into lithium-sulphur batteries to make them more competitive.
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AIMPLAS, the Plastics Technology Centre, will host the seventh edition of its International Seminar on Biopolymers and Sustainable Composites on 4 and 5 March 2020 in Valencia.
The Italian Phosphorus Platform was set up to mirror the European Sustainable Phosphorus Platform, following an agreement between ENEA, the platform manager, and the Italian Ministry of Environment. This platform aims to reach national self-sufficiency in the Italian phosphorus supply with a circular approach.
Phosphorus a European critical raw material, with Europe being almost completely dependent on third countries for its supply (phosphate rock: 81%, phosphorus: 100%), and its end-of-life recycling rate is very low (phosphate rock: 17%, phosphorus: 0%) (source: 2017 list of Critical Raw Materials).
The platform features 4 working groups: market, technologies, legislation and good practices. More information on good practices in phosphorus recycling is available here (in Italian).
From seafood waste to food packaging: CuanTec develops a new circular and compostable bioplastic made with chitosan
CuanTec is a Scottish blue biotech company that replaces plastic with natural alternatives. Sourced from waters of the Atlantic, CuanTec takes waste from fisheries and obtains the natural biopolymer chitin. Their process uses biology rather than chemistry to create chitin and chitosan of high quality and purity, which are in demand for over 3,000 industrial uses around the world.
Over the last few years the concept of chemical recycling has been promoted by industry as a potential solution to help curb plastic pollution and waste management as a whole. This Zero Waste Europe report looks into the knowledge available as well as the state of implementation of such technologies in the European context.
Mechanical recycling is a mature industrial process, well established and expanding in Europe. Plastics cannot however be endlessly recycled mechanically without reducing their properties and quality. Besides, not all plastic types can be mechanically recycled. These limits set challenges for plastics recycling and show the need for significant improvements in the end-of-life management of plastics.
Since decades, innovators test gasification and pyrolysis for alternatives to waste to energy incineration with very limited results due to the energy balance and the environmental impact. In general, more information is needed about the environmental performance of chemical recycling technologies, as this industry is in its infancy and most plants are mere pilots. The roll-out of such technologies at industrial scale can only be expected from 2025-2030, an important factor when planning the transition to a Circular Economy and wider decarbonisation.
The right policy framework must accommodate chemical recycling as complementary to mechanical recycling while ensuring that carbon stays in the plastic, thus not being released into the environment. Therefore, allowing plastic to fuels to be considered chemical recycling risks creating a loophole in EU Climate and Circular Economy legislation.
With Sika's adhesive, conveyor belts can be repaired on-site to save resources and increase longevity
Sika has developed a high-performance elastomer for the clean repair of the rubber substrate of conveyor belts and industrial rubber elements. This "liquid rubber" enables on-site repair and lengthens the product life of used belts.
On 23 September 2019, the Slovene Business & Research Association will organise a conference in Brussels to present and share best practices in business-research collaboration for bio-circular business models.
The EU faces multiple challenges (climate crisis, environmental disasters, a lack of competitiveness, falling behind in the digital race, etc.) that it will need to address if it is to ensure long-term sustainable prosperity for European citizens. At the same time, there are two ongoing transitions – the creation of a circular economy and the digital transformation – that could provide the means to address these challenges, if they are managed well.
As the EU and national policymakers are making significant efforts to promote a circular economy on the one hand and a digital economy on the other, Annika Hedberg and Stefan Šipka, together with Johan Bjerkem, argue that it is time to align the agendas as a means to achieve greater sustainability and competitiveness.
- demonstrates what digitalisation means in the context of a circular economy;
- considers what a greater focus on sustainability would mean for the digital transition;
- examines the role of the EU policy framework, tools and initiatives in steering a (digital) transition towards a (digital) circular economy and makes recommendations for EU institutions for the next five year.
It suggests that the EU must:
- think systemically, define a vision and act;
- provide an adequate governance framework and economic incentives for a (digital) transition to a (digital) circular economy;
- encourage collaboration across European society and economy as well as globally, and empower its citizens to contribute to the transition.
This Discussion Paper builds on the findings of the EPC’s "Digital Roadmap for a Circular Economy" project of 2017-19 and paves the way for a more extensive final study, scheduled to be published in the late autumn of 2019.
The project has been supported by Aalto University and the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke) (members of Helsinki EU Office), Central Denmark region, Climate-KIC, the Estonian Ministry of the Environment, Estonian Environment Investment Centre, HP, Orgalim, the province of Limburg, UL, Fondazione Cariplo and Cariplo Factory.
Adhesives industry: water-soluble adhesives facilitate return and reuse bottle schemes and end-of-life recycling
Türmerleim is a company that produces adhesives, including for reusable bottles. Its adhesives have a high level of alkaline solubility, making them easy to remove and so promoting the reuse and recycling of bottles.
REDEL is an energy provider in Italy. Its activities comprises decommissioning outdated energy installations (de-risking), generating a vast amount of discarded power cables. The PVC Upcycling project aims to initiate a circular model for reclaiming resources by:
- de-manufacturing: recovering the PVC of electric cables coming from decommissioned energy plants;
- re-manufacturing: recycling of the same PVC in products with low environmental impact.
Along with PVC, copper and aluminium are also reclaimed and turned into metal granules for new production purposes.
LaverVert is an organic detergent whose ingredients are 100% natural, with a circular cleaning agent. It is produced with wood ash recycled from industrial pellet stoves, reviving a traditional practice to use wood ash for its ability to bind with fats in creating an all-natural soap.
Enea has designed the first Italian industrial symbiosis platform, as a tool to facilitate the process.
The ENEA methodology is based on a "horizontal" network approach, with the aim of creating synergies and closing the loop between supply and demand for various resources.
The Platform is based on:
- an expert structure that identifies possible solutions of industrial symbiosis
- a complex information structure, also georeferenced, which describes the territory, its structures, the interlocutors and available resources
- a network that connects different interlocutors
- a web interface.
Among other activities and services, Symbiosis is able to send to to each company individual reports containing information on potential matches of interest. It is also developing operating manuals for industrial symbiosis.
ecoHORNET develops multi-system burner with ecological combustion procedure to create pyrolysis gas, oil and biochar
ecoHORNET, a Romanian SME, has developed a recycling station that uses pyrolysis technology to transform industrial biomass, household waste and sewage sludge into bio-gas, bio-oil and biochar in addition to creating thermal energy for hot water and air generators.
Mater-Biotech - the first world industrial plant for the production of bio-butanediol from renewable sources
Inaugurated in 2016, Mater-Biotech is the first world industrial plant for the production of 1.4 bio-butanediol (BDO) directly from sugars, paving the way for the production of new chemical intermediates from renewable sources.
Mater-Biotech is the result of the reconversion of a decommissioned site that Novamont acquired in 2012, in a logic of territorial regeneration and enhancement of previous skills and expertise. The plant was designed to reuse the by-products for its energy needs, thus optimizing the life cycle of the entire process.