De-salinisation and dye-sensitised solar winners at EU Green Week awards

European Environment Commissioner presents first prize to SOL_BRINE. Image: @LIFE_Programme Twitter
European Environment Commissioner presents first prize to SOL_BRINE. Image: @LIFE_Programme Twitter

A project dealing with concentrated brine disposal and a dye-sensitised solar cell project are the winners at an EU Green Awards ceremony in Brussels this week (30 May), part of EU Green Week.

Fifteen project nominees were selected across three categories of climate action, environment, and nature and biodiversity, and were made up of the most successful LIFE projects, the EU’s funding instrument for the environment and climate action since 1992. The projects have gone on to employ many people in the green economy across Europe.

Dye-sensitised solar and sustainable agriculture

The winner in the Climate Action category was Dyemond Solar, which has made environmental improvements in solar cell manufacturing with non-toxic dye-sensitised solar cells. The project has since become Exeger, a company employing 49 people who have built the world’s largest factory to produce the cells. The technology allows them to be made in any colour, shape or weight, allowing them to be integrated into any rooftop.

Runners-up were the AgriClimateChange project, which has developed a tool to calculate greenhouse gas emissions and energy use on farms, used to demonstrate practices that reduced emissions without affecting farm productivity. It helped to raise awareness of sustainable land use among European farming stakeholders, and has since become AgriAdapt, a project on the adaptation of typical EU farming systems to climate change.


Salt and bread

The winner of the Environment category was SOL-BRINE, an enterprise developing a solar–driven brine treatment system to address the environmental impact of brine disposal from de-salination plants. Disposal of concentrated brine is estimated to be twice as salty as seawater, causing significant pressure to aquatic organisms. Sealeau, the company that came out of the project now works with industry.

Runners-up were BREAD4PLA, a project that has been turning waste bread from bakeries into biodegradable packaging (Poly-Lactic Acid biopolymer) to be used again in bakery packaging.

EU Green Week is Europe’s biggest annual conference on environment policy, bringing together participants from government, industry, non-governmental organisations, academia and the media for a unique exchange of ideas and best practices. This year the focus is on how EU environmental policies are creating green jobs and contributing to economic, sustainable and socially responsible growth in the EU.

Activities include events and actions taking place across Europe with live and ‘virtual participation in a wide range of on-line and social media activities. EU Green Week runs from 29 May — 2 June 2017. For more information, visit the website.

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