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Brussels, 19 October 2006

LIFE-Environment 2006: Commission funds 50 innovation projects in 14 countries with €66 million

The European Commission has approved funding for 50 new environmental innovation projects in 14 countries under the LIFE-Environment programme 2006. These projects will demonstrate new methods and techniques for dealing with a wide diversity of Europe’s environmental problems. The projects are based in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom. They represent a total investment of €214 million, of which the EU will provide just under €66 million.

The Commission received 464 proposals for funding through the LIFE-Environment programme from a wide range of public and private sector organisations. The projects selected by the Commission will apply ground-breaking technology to solve environmental problems.

Projects aimed at reducing the environmental impact of economic activities (15) take the largest share of EU funding (approximately €24 million). Water management is the second most popular theme with 15 projects (€18.5 million). A further 14 projects deal with waste management, sharing around €15 million. Three projects address the reduction of the environmental impact of products and services (€5 million). Finally, three projects cover land-use development and planning (€3 million).

The LIFE programme

LIFE is the EU’s financial instrument supporting environmental and nature conservation projects throughout the EU, as well as in some candidate, acceding and neighbouring countries. Since 1992, LIFE has co-financed some 2,750 projects, contributing approximately €1.35 billion euros to the protection of the environment.

LIFE-Environment, which co-finances innovative pilot and demonstration projects, is one of three thematic components under the LIFE programme. The other two components, LIFE-Nature and LIFE-Third Countries, focus respectively on nature conservation and on environmental capacity building in countries bordering the Mediterranean and the Baltic Sea. For new projects approved under LIFE-Nature and LIFE-Third Countries, see press releases IP/06/1428 and IP/06/1429.


The current LIFE III programme finishes at the end of 2006. Thereafter a new programme, "LIFE+”, will run from 2007-2013 with a budget of approximately €2.1 billion. The LIFE+ proposal is currently undergoing its second reading in the European Parliament.

More information

See the annex for a summary of the new projects funded under LIFE-Environment. More information on each project is available at: and


Overview of 2006 LIFE-Environment projects by country

Austria – 2 projects - LIFE maximum funding 3.1 M€

Project “SPAS” (Sound and Particle Absorbing System) addresses the urban environment, targeting traffic pollution and improvements in air quality in the town of Klagenfurt. The project aims to demonstrate a technical measure enabling re-suspended particulate matter to be filtered where it occurs and to be reduced by 25%.

The “RAINMAN” project deals with water management. It focuses on improvements in wastewater management and treatment technologies for the retention and cleaning of urban rainwater runoff from a Vienna catchment area of over 20 km2.

Belgium – 4 projects - LIFE maximum funding 4.1 M€

“S.M.I.G.I.N” aims, through a participative approach, to promote more sustainable management via networking among more than 150 SMEs located in Belgium and France. Technical tools will be developed for collective management and a good practice guide and databases will be developed to encourage a more eco-friendly approach to business.

Two projects focus on water management.

“MULTIBARDEM”, implemented by the Flemish institute for technological research, will demonstrate a “MULTIBARRIER” as a sustainable and cost-effective approach to the prevention of groundwater contamination from leaking landfill and other contaminated sites.

“ECOTEC-STC” aims to demonstrate a 100% non-toxic, durable hull protection and anti-fouling system that generates zero emissions in the marine environment and produces heavy fuel savings of 3-8 %. The system will offer a substitute for the TBT (tributyl tin) based anti-fouling paints.

“CLEAN SITE” is a waste management project promoting recycling. It aims to demonstrate the economic and environmental feasibility of a selective collection system for plastic packaging waste in the construction sector.  The system will be managed and monitored using the latest information and communication technologies (ICT).

Denmark – 2 projects - LIFE maximum funding 6.7 M€

The water management project “TREASURE” is implemented by the Municipality of Silkeborg. It covers the treatment and re-use of rainwater running off from urban areas and roads in three urban areas located in Denmark, developing innovative technologies for the removal of pollutants. Removal efficiencies of 80-95% are expected for phosphorous, heavy metals and a wide range of organic micro-pollutants,

“DEMO SOFC” seeks to demonstrate cleaner and more efficient power generation using Solid Oxide Fuel Cells (SOFCs), thereby cutting greenhouse gas emissions. It will demonstrate the semi-industrial and low-cost manufacturing of SOFC cells and stacks. It will showcase the quality of SOFC components through the design and construction of a 50 kW SOFC power generating system operating on bio-fuel.

Finland – 2 projects - LIFE maximum funding 1.3 M€

The “VOCless pulping” project will target the reduction of harmful Volatile Organic Compound (VOCs) emissions from mechanical and semi-chemical pulping processes.

“STABLE” is a waste prevention project, which targets the treatment of Tributyltin (TBT)-contaminated dredged materials, a major problem for European ports.

France – 7 projects - LIFE maximum funding 8.5 M€

Four projects address water management issues.

Three of these will examine the impact of agricultural and forestry practices on water quality in the context of the EU Water Framework Directive[1]. “CONCERT’EAU” seeks to reduce the levels of nitrate and pesticides in the Gascogne river basin by developing an integrated management approach based on a collaborative technological platform and involving all of the key stakeholders. "ArtWET” seeks to reduce the level of pesticides in surface waters by demonstrating a range of vegetation based treatment systems (vegetated ditches, artificial and natural wetlands, forest plots). "ISONITRATE” seeks to improve the management of nitrates by promoting isotopic monitoring, which provides more accurate data on the sources and impacts of nitrate pollution. .

“MARECLEAN” will deal with improvements in wastewater management, targeting risk-based reduction of microbial pollution discharge to coastal waters.

Three projects address focus on recycling.

“ARFVALORMAT” proposes an innovative solution for the recycling of industrial and institutional waste rich in mineral resources (eg. sludge from water treatment, paper manufacturing and food-processing). The beneficiary aims to produce binders from this waste, much of which is currently sent to landfill.

“BASHYCAT” focuses on regenerating and recycling spent catalysts, specifically NiMoV catalysts used in the hydro treatment and desulphurisation of crude oil in refineries and DeNox catalysts used in the treatment of gas emissions in power stations using coal and heavy-fuel oils.

“VITRIFLASH” will develop an industrial pilot plant for the vitrification of “REFIOM” (residues from domestic waste incineration smoke cleansing) and the subsequent recycling of products obtained from the process.

Germany – 12 projects - LIFE maximum funding 15.3 M€

Four projects seek to mitigate the environmental impact of economic activities – three of which also aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“INSU-SHELL” will develop eco-friendly elements for use in building facades. The project will demonstrate the economic and eco-friendly use of concrete, combined with thermally-insulated textile reinforcements, on a façade of a new public building at the INNOTEX textile research centre at RWTH Aachen University.

“INES-110” will develop and demonstrate a superconducting fault current limiter prototype for the European high-voltage grids (90-123 kV), and as an intermediate step, for the medium voltage grids (10-30 kV).

“WINTECC” will develop and demonstrate an innovative wind propulsion technology for cargo vessels.

“ZEM/SHIPS”, run by a German-Czech partnership, will develop the first hydrogen and fuel cell powered ship (with a capacity to carry around 100 passengers). The zero emissions system will be tested in Hamburg.

Three projects address water management issues.

“FLOODSCAN” will develop new technology for fast, precise and cost-efficient hydraulic modelling for flood prevention and control (river basin management).

“IWPM” will demonstrate improved wastewater management and treatment technologies via an innovative system to increase the quality of effluent and reduce costs.

“Moveable HEPP” will develop a pilot transportable hydroelectric power plant in the river Kinzig (a Rhine tributary). The aim is to showcase an optimised use of hydropower as well as significant ecological improvements, notably for salmon, of the river.

Four projects cover waste management.

“LOTECOTEC” will demonstrate an efficient alternative for the environmentally-sound disposal and recycling of sludge derived from sewage treatment plants.

“CONWASTE” deals with the conversion of waste for use in sealing and covering old industrial landfills. The project will demonstrate the feasibility of this process at pilot landfill sites at Leuna and Schopaua.

“SLUDGE2ENERGY” aims to demonstrate the decentralised reuse of sewage sludge for efficient energy generation in waste water treatment plants (WWTP). A demonstration plant will be installed at the WWTP plant in the city of Straubing.

“PVClean” aims to reduce the use of freshwater through the introduction of innovative filtration in the S-PVC production process.

“PARFUM” examines the impact on air-quality in urban environments of freight and heavy duty vehicles. The project will test real-life impacts of technology and policy innovations in the urban transport sector to reduce air pollution (focusing on particulate pollution).

Greece – 1 project - LIFE maximum funding 0.93 M€

“GREEN BANKING 4 LIFE”, examines the environmental impact of products and services in the financial sector. The project will focus on the development of green products by the beneficiary, a Greek bank, and its associates. As well as producing a guide for the better management of resource consumption, the project will reduce their CO2 emissions, increase their recycling of products, reduce their water consumption and encourage the use of green products in its branches.

Ireland – 1 project - LIFE maximum funding 0.95 M€

“CleanWood” addresses waste management. The project will demonstrate the environmental and competitive advantages of processing waste ‘dirty’ wood in order to recover up to 80% for recycling. The aim is to recover all foreign materials and contaminated wood from recycled packaging waste and construction and demolition material.

Italy – 7 projects - LIFE maximum funding 7.2 M€

Three projects seek to mitigate the environmental impact of economic activities.

“VOICE” – Vegetable Oil Initiative for a Cleaner Environment – is an initiative to cut greenhouse gas emissions, demonstrating the use of pure vegetable oil in decentralised energy generation and transport.

“Seq-Cure” also aims to cut greenhouse emissions. Its main aim is to show how organic residues (sewage sludge, manure) can be used in the agricultural production of plant biomass intended for the generation of renewable energy.

“MEIGLASS” aims to reduce the environmental impact of glass recycling and of the manufacture of glass containers. The project will demonstrate the environment benefits and cost efficiency of an innovative process, “SASIL”, developed by adapting sophisticated natural mineral treatment processes to cullet (broken or waste glass returned for recycling).

Two projects deal with the prevention of waste.

“FFR” –Forget Fibreglass Reinforced – aims to design and develop recyclable polymers as alternatives to the use of fibreglass in the manufacture of large containers (tanks and cisterns).

“UME” – Ultrasound Micro-cut Eco-sustainable – seeks to eliminate waste sludge and water used in the cutting and grinding of ceramic and natural slabs. The project will introduce a processing method involving an innovative ultrasonic dry cracking system.

Two projects addresses water management.

“ASAP” aims to develop and implement a process to reduce groundwater pollution in the city of Pisa. Acting on the water distribution network, the project will contribute to the restoration of aquifers, will promote the sustainable use of water and prevent groundwater contamination.

“Kolisoon” promises a new method for the analysis of E. coli bacteria in wastewater effluent. The main purpose is to develop and set up an automated, online early warning self-control device suitable for E-coli detection, and then to promote this new method.

Luxembourg – 2 projects - LIFE maximum funding 5.2 M€

Both projects seek to reduce the environmental impact of economic activities, and will contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

“EFFERNERGY” will focus on improving the energy efficiency of existing buildings by demonstrating two new membranes. The first will combine radiation heat loss reduction and weather-proofing and can be used in the roofs and walls of buildings to improve their thermal insulation. The second "easy-to-install" membrane can be used inside walls, floors and ceilings to reduce heating and cooling energy consumption.

“BIO TYRE” will demonstrate a tyre with a 30% lower rolling resistance, using bio fillers made from renewable materials and a new design.

The Netherlands – 3 projects - LIFE maximum funding 3.4 M€

The “WET” - Wastewater and Effluent Treatment - project targets the removal of priority substances in municipal waste water treatment plants. Their removal will be demonstrated at a full-scale installation. The goal is to achieve water quality well ahead of the EU Water Framework Directive standards to be met by 2015.

The “Brine Recovery” project aims to demonstrate substantial savings in raw materials and energy in the production of polycarbonate by the recovery of brine. This new technology will be demonstrated at full-scale for the first time at Bergen op Zoom.

The “Green Bearings” project aims to showcase the green potential of a number of strategically-chosen types of bearings incorporating innovative technologies. Demonstrations will be carried out in test-rigs and in customer applications, as well as virtually.

Spain – 4 projects - LIFE maximum funding 5.1 M€

Two projects aim to reduce the environmental impact of economic activities.

“ES-WAMAR” aims to improve the management of waste from pigs by implementing and developing an integrated model at three Aragón sites: Tauste, Maestrazgo and Penarroya.

“BioSOFC” aims to showcase, at four facilities, the energy savings and other environmental and economic benefits of using a Combined Heat and Power system using two 5 kW solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) fed with biogas. The biogas will come from the anaerobic digestion of the organic wastes produced in a slaughterhouse and different landfills.

Two projects deal with waste management.

“ReLiStoP” will eliminate the use of polluting resins and toxic solvents in the decoration of ceramics. The aim is to substitute such products with eco-friendly and natural raw materials. 

“CLEAN” will promote sustainable recycling, demonstrating at an industrial scale, the recycling of laminates from used drink cartons into energy and aluminium. 

Sweden – 1 project - LIFE maximum funding 1.2 M€

“BIOAGRO” aims to develop an innovative method to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and waste in the agriculture sector – producing high-quality agro-fuel pellets from grain and waste from grain, seeds and grass.

United Kingdom – 2 projects - LIFE maximum funding 2.4 M€

Both projects deal with water management.

“MR MoToWFO” addresses important aspects of the incorporation of the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD)[2] objectives into the management and planning of "managed realignment sites”, which are increasingly used as part of sustainable flood risk management strategies.

The “Bringing the OpenMI-Life” project also supports the implementation of the WFD. It aims to make an integrated approach to water management feasible using an innovative Open Modelling Interface and Environment – the “OpenMI”.  

[1] Directive 2000/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2000 establishing a framework for Community action in the field of water policy.

[2] Directive 2000/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2000 establishing a framework for Community action in the field of water policy.

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