Green growth and win-win strategies for sustainable climate action
The GREEN-WIN project will develop a major international transdisciplinary research collaboration to apply a solution-oriented approach targeted at increasing the understanding of links between climate action and sustainability and overcoming implementation barriers through win-win strategies.
The project will critically assess where and under which conditions win-win and in particular green growth strategies work in practice and where fundamental trade-offs must be faced.
We thereby focus on four critical barriers that have been identified by practitioners and policy makers. First, we develop transformative narratives highlighting opportunities in climate and sustainability action in order to contribute to overcoming cognitive barriers and empowering people. Second, we examine climate and sustainability finance policies and governance arrangements in order to contribute to overcoming financial barriers to mitigation and adaptation. Third, we substantiate the economics of green growth in order to contribute to overcoming economic and collective action barriers to de-carbonisation. Towards this end we introduce major innovations into the GEM-E3 computable general equilibrium model required to discover green growth strategies. These include developing a network-based model of technological diffusion, and introducing financial market constraints and adaptive expectations of agents. Fourth, we contribute to overcoming economic and institutional barriers through identifying win-win strategies, sustainable business models and enabling environments in three action fields of coastal zone flood risk management, urban transformations and energy poverty eradication and resilience. We embed all these activities within a sustained international dialogue involving stakeholders from policy, research, civil society and the private sector, and an open knowledge management and capacity building strategy to promote knowledge transfer and learning beyond the project lifespan.
The GROW Observatory (GROW) will create a sustainable citizen platform and community to generate, share and utilise information on land, soil and water resource at a resolution hitherto not previously considered. The vision is to underpin smart and sustainable custodianship of land and soil, whilst meeting the demands of food production, and to answer a long-standing challenge for space science, namely the validation of soil moisture detection from satellites.
GROW is highly innovative project leveraging and combining low cost consumer sensing technology, a simple soil test and a large user base of growers and plant enthusiasts to contribute individual soil and land data. It is designed to engage primarily individual growers and small-scale farmers across Europe, and to enable them to develop new wisdom and innovative practices through the collective power of shared and open data and knowledge.
Citizens contributing data will gain access to the first single-source comprehensive crop and watering advice service for individual and small-scale growers incorporating scientific and crowdsourced information. Moreover, they will develop ‘campaigns’ (coordinated sampling operations) around local needs and issues, to underpin smarter decision-making and implementation of policy objectives. GROW will actively identify and enable new and credible social and business innovation processes, creating potential new services, applications and markets. The outcome will be a central hub of open knowledge and data created and maintained by growers that will be of value to the citizens themselves as well as specialist communities in science, policy and industry. The GROW partnership will connect and scale to globally dispersed communities linked through digital and social platforms, and a wide range of additional citizen associations and NGOs in sustainable agriculture, gardening, food democracy and land management.
Holistic Innovative Solutions for an Efficient Recycling and Recovery of Valuable Raw Materials from Complex Construction and Demolition Waste
EU28 currently generates 461 million tons per year of ever more complex construction and demolition waste (C&DW) with average recycling rates of around 46%. There is still a significant loss of potential valuable minerals, metals and organic materials all over Europe.
The main goal of HISER project is to develop and demonstrate novel cost-effective technological and non-technological holistic solutions for a higher recovery of raw materials from ever more complex C&DW, by considering circular economy approaches throughout the building value chain (from the End-of-Life Buildings to new Buildings). The following solutions are proposed:
– Harmonized procedures complemented with an intelligent tool and a supply chain tracking system, for highly-efficient sorting at source in demolition and refurbishment works.
– Advanced sorting and recycling technologies for the production and automated quality assessment of high-purity raw materials from complex C&DW.
– Development of optimized building products (low embodied energy cements, green concretes, bricks, plasterboards and gypsum plasters, extruded composites) through the partial replacement of virgin raw materials by higher amounts of secondary high-purity raw materials recovered from complex C&DW.
These solutions will be demonstrated in demolition projects and 5 case studies across Europe. Moreover, the economic and environmental impact of the HISER solutions will be quantified, from a life cycle perspective (LCA/LCC), and policy and standards recommendations encouraging the implementation of the best solutions will be drafted.
HISER will contribute to higher levels of recovered materials from C&DW from 212 Mt in 2014, to 359 Mt in 2020 and 491 Mt by ca. 2030, on the basis of the increase in the recovery of aggregates, from 40% (169 Mt) to more than 80% (394 t) and wood, from 31% (2.4 Mt) to 55% (5 Mt);. Similarly, unlocking valuable raw materials currently not exploited is foreseen, namely some metals and emerging flows.
Integrated Climate forcing and Air pollution Reduction in Urban Systems
ICARUS will develop innovative tools for urban impact assessment in support of air quality and climate change governance in the EU. This will lead to designing and implementing win-win strategies to improve the air quality and reduce the carbon footprint in European cities.
An integrated approach will be used for air pollution monitoring and assessment combining ground-based measurements, atmospheric transport and chemical transformation modelling and air pollution indicators derived from satellite, airborne and personal remote sensing. The ICARUS methodology and toolkit will be applied in nine EU cities of variable size, socio-economic condition and history. Technological and non-technological measures and policy options will be analyzed and proposed to the responsible authorities for air pollution and/or climate change at the city level.
Based on the advanced monitoring and assessment tools outlined above, a cloud-based solution will be developed to inform citizens of environment-conscious alternatives that may have a positive impact on air quality and carbon footprint and finally on their health and motivate them to adopt alternative behaviours. Agent-based modelling will be used to capture the interactions of population subgroups, industries and service providers in response to the policies considered in the project. Thus, social and cultural factors, socio-economic status (SES) and societal dynamics will be explicitly taken into account to assess overall policy impact. Our findings will be translated into a web-based guidebook for sustainable air pollution and climate change governance in all EU cities. ICARUS will develop a vision of a future green city: a visionary model that will seek to minimize environmental and health impacts. Transition pathways will be drawn that will demonstrate how current cities could be transformed towards cities with close to zero or negative carbon footprint and maximal wellbeing within the next 50 years.
IMproving PRedictions and management of hydrological Extremes
For a better anticipation on future high impact hydrological extremes disrupting safety of citizens, agricultural production, transportation, energy production and urban water supply, and overall economic productivity, prediction and foresighting capabilities and their intake in these strategic sectors need to be improved.
IMPREX will improve forecast skill of meteorological and hydrological extremes in Europe and their impacts, by applying dynamic model ensembles, process studies, new data assimilation techniques and high resolution modeling. Novel climate change impact assessment concepts will focus at increasing the realism of relevant events by specific high resolution regional downscaling, explore compounding trans-sectoral and trans-regional risks, and design new risk management paradigms. These developments are demonstrated in impact surveys for strategic economic sectors in a set of case studies in which local stakeholders, public organizations and SMEs are involved. A pan-European assessment of risk management and adaptation strategies is applied, minimizing risk transfer from one sector or region to another. As a key outreach product, a periodic hydrological risk outlook for Europe is produced, incorporating the dynamic evolution of hydro-climatic and socio-economic processes. The project outreach maximizes the legacy impact of the surveys, aimed at European public stakeholder and business networks, including user-friendly assessment summaries, and training material.
The project responds to the call by targeting the quality of short-to-medium hydro-meteorological predictions, enhancing the reliability of future climate projections, apply this information to strategic sectoral and pan-European surveys at different scales, and evaluate and adapt current risk management strategies. With its integrative approach, IMPREX will link current management decisions and actions with an emergent future.”
Ground Truth 2.0 – Environmental knowledge discovery of human sensed data
Ground Truth 2.0 delivers the demonstration and validation of six scaled up citizen observatories in real operational conditions both in the EU and in Africa. It will strengthen the full feedback-loop in the information chain from citizen-based data collection to knowledge sharing for joint decision-making and cooperative planning.
The project focuses on environmental indicators in urban and rural areas related to spatial planning issues, with a specific focus on flora and fauna as well as water availability and water quality for land and natural resources management. This is supported by an innovative web-based service for worldwide mapping and updating of land use. The overall objectives of Ground Truth 2.0 are to implement sustainable citizen observatories for the demonstration of their societal and economic benefits, and the global market uptake of the Ground Truth 2.0 concept and enabling technologies.
The trans-disciplinary Ground Truth 2.0 approach consists of a multi-actor innovation process to combine the social dimensions of citizen observatories with enabling technologies so that their customisation and deployment is tailored to the envisaged societal and economic impacts of the observatories. The demonstration cases (4 EU and 2 African) cover the full ‘spectrum’ of citizen-sensed data usage and citizen engagement, and therefore allow testing and validating of the concept and technologies, and evaluation of their impacts under a range of conditions. The Ground Truth 2.0 consortium presents a good mix of industry, SME, NGO, government, research and academia to ensure the roll out and uptake of the observatories. Ground Truth 2.0 is coordinating and interacting with other relevant initiatives, such as GEOSS, INSPIRE as well as the sister projects funded under the same call (namely GROW, SCENT and LANDSENSE) to create mutual synergies.
HEritage Resilience Against CLimate Events on Site
HERACLES main objective is to design, validate and promote responsive systems/solutions for effective resilience of CH against climate change effects, considering as a mandatory premise an holistic, multidisciplinary approach through the involvement of different expertise (end-users, industry/SMEs, scientists, conservators/restorators and social experts, decision, and policy makers).
This will be operationally pursued with the development of a system exploiting an ICT platform able to collect and integrate multisource information in order to effectively provide complete and updated situational awareness and support decision for innovative measurements improving CH resilience, including new solutions for maintenance and conservation. The HERACLES effectiveness will be ensured by the design and validation of manageable methodologies also for the definition of operational procedures and guidelines for risk mitigation and management. It will be validated in two challenging test beds, key study cases for the climate change impact on European CH assets.
The strength of HERACLES solutions is their flexibility in evaluating a big quantity of different information that can be changed and tailored to the specific CH assets needs, guaranteeing in that way a general applicability. In this context, a fundamental role will be played by end-users, which will be active part in the project activities. HERACLES system will be designed and developed by accounting for the economic sustainability and future acceptance by the market and for the social and economic impact for public and local communities while respecting the integrity of CH and the value it hold for communities. Effective technological transfer of HERACLES outcomes to large companies, SMEs and end users, suitable dissemination, communication, education and training activities are also organized to disseminate vision and progresses obtained to different communities, in a vision of wide audiences awareness.
New geomodels to explore deeper for High-Technology critical raw materials in Alkaline rocks and Carbonatites
Five of the 20 raw materials identified by the European Commission as critical are commonly found in association with alkaline rocks and carbonatites (heavy and light rare earth elements, niobium, fluorspar, and phosphate).
Other elements increasingly important for ‘hi-tech’ applications, and found in these rocks include hafnium (Hf), tantalum (Ta), scandium (Sc) and zirconium (Zr). In fact, there is a greater chance of a carbonatite complex having resources economic to mine than any other rock type (about 20 active mines in ca. 500 known carbonatite complexes).
Less than 3% of critical raw materials supply is indigenous to the EU. However, deposits are known and exploration is ongoing in parts of northern Europe. In central and southern Europe the presence of abundant alkaline volcanic rocks indicates the likelihood that deposits exist within about a km of the surface.
This project will make a step-change in exploration models for alkaline and carbonatite provinces, using mineralogy, petrology, and geochemistry, and state-of-the-art interpretation of high resolution geophysics and downhole measurement tools, to make robust predictions about mineral prospectively at depth. This will be achieved through studies at seven key natural laboratories, combined with Expert Council workshops. The results will be incorporated into new geomodels on multiple scales.
In contrast to known deposits, Europe is well endowed with expertise. The project brings together industry partners involved in exploration, geophysics and environmental assessment with two geological surveys, a major museum and five universities. The results will make Europe the world leader in this specialist area. They will give the four SME industry partners world-leading expertise to develop and expand their businesses, transferring their business expertise from Africa to Europe. The project will help give European ‘hi-tech’ industry the confidence to innovate in manufacturing using critical raw materials.
iMETland: A new generation of Microbial Electrochemical Wetland for effective decentralized wastewater treatment
“iMETland project aims to construct and validate a full-scale application of a eco-friendly device to treat urban wastewater from small communities at zero-energy operation cost.
Our concept comes from the integration of Microbial Electrochemical Technologies (MET) with the biofilters used in constructed wetlands. iMETland outperforms classical biofilters from constructed wetlands by using electroactive bacteria in combination with an innovative electroconductive material to achive depuration rates that are 10-fold higher than classical techniques. On top of that, the low biomass yield generated under electrogenic conditions avoids any bed colmatation. Wastewater will be also converted into pathogen-free water suitable for irrigation by using an electro-oxidative methodology. Furthermore, the unique conversion of sewage treatment into electric current by electricity-producing bacteria makes such a process an internal reporter of the biological depuration process. So thus, it can be used as output signal to control the process and can easily inform the operator through ICT tools, converting the depuration in an interactive process between device and a smart-phone in end-user´s hands.
iMETland try to fill the gap that was sharply identified by the programme topic: WATER-1-2014/2015: Bridging the gap: from innovative water solutions to market replication. Our solution has already passed both research and pilot scale and is ready to try a full-scale demonstration to accelerate the market uptake. The multidisciplinary nature of iMETland makes it to fit well with the “water and wastewater treatment “priority of the EIP-water. Moreover, the coordinator of iMETland consortium is also the Technical Manager of a recent ACTION GROUP at EIP-WATER called “MEET-ME4WATER, Meeting Microbial Electrochemistry for Water”. This AG focuses on overcoming the barriers to scaling up and demonstrate microbial electrochemical technologies (METs) and bring them faster to the market.”
Innovative Eco-Technologies for Resource Recovery from Wastewater
“Taking into account the current global water scarcity and the expensive operation and maintenance cost of wastewater treatment, INCOVER concept has been designed to move wastewater treatment from being primarily a sanitation technology towards a bio-product recovery industry and a recycled water supplier.
A wastewater specific Decision Support System methodology will be tailored to the INCOVER technologies and provide data and selection criteria for a holistic wastewater management approach
Three added-value plants treating wastewater from three case-studies (municipalities, farms and food and beverage industries) will be implemented, assessed and optimised concurrently. INCOVER plants will be implemented at demonstration scale in order to achieve Technology Readiness Level(TRL) of 7-8 to ensure straightforward up scaling to 100,000 population equivalents (PE). INCOVER added-value plants will generate benefits from wastewater offering three recovery solutions: 1) Chemical recovery (bio-plastic and organic acids) via algae/bacteria and yeast biotechnology; 2) Near-zero-energy plant providing upgraded bio-methane via pre-treatment and anaerobic co-digestion systems; 3) Bio-production and reclaimed water via adsorption, biotechnology based on wetlands systems and hydrothermal carbonisation. To improve added-value production efficiency, INCOVER solutions will include monitoring and control via optical sensing and soft-sensors
INCOVER solutions will reduce at least a 50% overall operation and maintenance cost of wastewater treatment through the use of wastewater as a source for energy demand and added-value production to follow UE circular economy strategy. In addition, strategies to facilitate the market uptake of INCOVER innovations will be carried out in order to close the gap between demonstration and end-users
An estimated turnover of 188 million€ for INCOVER lead-users is expected after the initial exploitation strategy of 5 years implementing 27 INCOVER solutions”