By Katsiaryna Serada – Research fellow & policy analyst at Tondo In December 2019, the EU launched a European Green Deal, a new sustainable economic growth strategy and policy agenda aimed at decoupling economic growth from the use of the primary natural resources and building a globally competitive, digitalized, low-carbon, climate – neutral, resource-efficient economy. A new growth strategy underscores the importance of the twin transformation – green and digital – to increase the global competitiveness of the EU industry, benefit the consumers and protect the environment. Despite the sweeping adverse economic impacts of the quarantine measures to fight COVID-19 taken worldwide, the European Green Deal is likely to sustain the increasing political pressures of reprioritization. First, positive short-time effects of the reduction of the GHGs emissions due to the global economic slowdown are likely to be off-set by the rebound effect of the economic stimulus policy packages aimed at supporting the industries, therefore, the commitment to achieve climate policy targets and goals remains valid. Second, the European Green Deal is framed as an industrial and economic strategy aimed at “stimulating the development of lead markets for climate neutral and circular products, in the EU and beyond” and enhancing European Single Market. The implementation of the European Green Dean is supported with the new comprehensive EU policy package that includes new European Industrial Strategy, European Circular Economy Action Plan, Biodiversity Strategy, SME Strategy, Farm to Fork Strategy. The Commission’s European Green Deal Investment Plan (EGDIP), a renewed sustainable finance strategy, to be launched in the third quarter of 2020, is to further scale up sustainable finance to meet the investment needs of moving towards greener and more circular economy. However, the European Regional Development Fund, LIFE and Horizon Europe will complement private innovation funding and support bringing innovative solutions to...
20 March 2020By Stefano Babbini – CEO at Mogu Mogu creates sustainable and innovative materials, mainly applied in the interior design sector, starting from the idea that it is possible to grow microorganisms, through a fungal fermentation, to structure materials that would otherwise not be consistent. Therefore, starting from these two elements, the fungal strains and the fibers, a line of products has been developed by optimizing the materials according to some process variables, as well as selecting the post-treatments to arrive at high-performance finished products.Mogu’s business model has evolved over time, leading the company to create a functional identity for its target market, interior design and green building. The pillars of Mogu, as shown in the following figure, are their basic technology (fungal fermentation), an approach particularly attentive to design, combined with a strong innovative component related to the bioeconomy sector.The sector where Mogu operates, is that of green building, which is growing at very significant rates, while the products it is targeting are precisely those of interior design, with a focus in particular towards the flooring and the acoustic sectors.The modular Mogu Floor flooring is positioned in a luxury and premium market segment for flooring; the product is the composition of two main elements: the soul made through fungal bio composites, according to a soft and flexible formulation, combined with a Bio PU in which biomass is drowned: this acts as a cover of the final product, generating a product that it is 98% bio-based. The added residual biomasses confer the specific pigmentation of the material, which thus has two upcycling components: the fibers recovered from the textile industry waste that are part of the core, and the filler that also characterizes the aesthetics of the product . This project was also financed by the European Commission through SME instrument...
6 March 2020By Giacomo Losio – co-founder of Taller delle terre Taller delle terre (TdT) is a non profit organization that aims to revolutionize the industry of ceramic setting up circular economy production processes. The problem TdT wants to face is connected with the idea of linear systems which are no longer sustainable for our finite planet seeing they are designed on the endless processes of extraction, production, distribution, consume and disposal (the Story of Stuff, 2007).In fact, looking at the interior design sector, both ceramic and stone production chains are responsible for such negative externalities in terms of natural resources exploitation, amount of waste sent to landfill, related environmental impacts and costs for disposal.According to Confindustria Ceramica, in Italy the ceramic market is worth 5,4 billion euro per year (2018) and about 4,572 operating quarries consumed more than 4,6 million cubic meters of soil (Legambiente, Rapporto Cave 2017).At the same time also the world stone industry is responsible for sending to landfill a big percentage of the extracted material, between 20 and 30, with an estimated operating cost about of approx. 30 euro per tonne (Knowledgshare, 2016).These two linear production chains have also considerable negative effects on the environment during all the production and consumption phases (transport, packaging and final disposal): high levels of energy and water consumption; waste production and CO2 emissions (Legambiente, Rapporto Cave 2016). As underlined by United Nation SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals), territories need to implement sustainability within 2030: the waste of resources and money can be contained only through innovative solutions that can generate positive effects in terms of environmental, social and economic development.Considering that in 2018, the 9% from the Italian ceramic industry revenues has been invested in new sustainable productions and green technologies, TdT developed a solution that meets these needs. The process TdT...
28 February 2020Andrea Gulisano – CEO at Wave for Energy Andrea Gulisano began his speech by pointing out that 40% of the world population lives less than 100 km from the coast and that the possibility of having energy from the sea would not be such a remote and undervalued resource. The energy from the sea has many positive and some negative aspects; among the positive ones there is the high energy density, as it is a very concentrated energy, at about 20 meters from the surface the maximum power of the hence. Moreover, the energy from the sea is also very predictable, there are technologies that can predict the amount of resources and give inputs to tune the different technological systems and achieve maximum results. It also has a minimal environmental impact. Among the negative aspects there are: the complexity of the regulations for installation, the absence of incentives and the use of materials subject to high corrosion. Gulisano spoke of Wave for Energy, the Spinoff of the Turin Polytechnic, founded in 2010, which works to create energy technologies for a more sustainable world and which has recently started working in the open sea and not only in the laboratory. The spinoff deals with marine energy and has soon broadened its horizons, especially thanks to the collaboration with Eni and with the University of Edinburgh. Among the projects of Wave for Energy, we find “ISWEC“, a WEC (Wave Attenuator) technology, born in 2012, which consists of a 100kW device consisting of a gyroscopic system that interacts with a sealed hull producing electricity. Wave for Energy has subsequently created a full-scale system that can be used in a real environment: the sea, the goal is to reach an industrial and commercial system. In 2015 he started the project in Pantelleria where a...
21 February 2020By Maddalena Fava – Partner of Cooperativa Ziguele Every year, millions of tons of waste end up in the sea or in the port area; this phenomenon derives from: poor management and collection of waste, lack of infrastructure, little knowledge about the serious consequences on the natural habitat.Since the 1970s, the scientific community has been paying attention to this phenomenon, known as “marine litter“: “any durable material produced by man and abandoned in the marine environment; waste resulting from human activities whose destiny is to accumulate in the marine environment”. Fishing, aquaculture and recreational waste includes special waste (batteries, motor oils), organic waste (undersized species, waste), waste collected at sea (plastic, glass, paper and cardboard, fabric, wood, ferrous material).Currently, in the ports, this waste has a disorganized management: no space is available for storage and there are no operating methods for disposal. The reuse practices of the organic fraction are completely absent. Because of this, fishermen who collect waste from the sea, not finding suitable structures on the ground, abandon them back into the water, helping to increase environmental problems even in port areas. PRiSMa-Med is a cooperation project funded on the Interreg Maritime program, born precisely to combat these problems.The project involves several public and private partners located in three Italian regions, Liguria (Liguria Region, TICASS Scrl), Tuscany (Tuscany Region, Gestimar Scpa, CIRSPE) Sardinia (FLAG North Sardinia, Union Comuni Alta Gallura), and Corsica (Chamber of Commerce of Ajaccio and Southern Corsica).The objective is the characterization of the waste produced by fishing activities or collected at sea and to reinsert them in the production cycle through feasibility studies of recovery chains. We want to contribute to the reduction of waste and waste deriving from fishing, aquaculture and therefore from ports. To do this we need a system of governance, integrated...
13 February 2020By Michele Grassi – CEO & CTO of 40South Energy and Element Works Michele Grassi begins his speech by introducing 40South Energy, a project born in 2007, and Elements Works, a project born in 2014. The focus of 40South Energy is to produce renewable energy from sea waves. Over the years Elements Works has adopted a sustainable approach to the resources of the sea, including one called Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) whose goal is to establish a circular approach to the marine environment. In this sector it is possible to interact with various stakeholders, including those involved in fishfarming. Data collection is also essential to have a complete picture of the environment in which you operate. We need to move towards a continuous and punctual knowledge and data collection, which at the moment is lacking. The tools that can be used at the moment are sensors that are separated by large distances that only give a partial collection of information; then there are simulations like those of Aeneas; the collections on the spot field are not enough. Sea energy is different from wind energy; it is more distributed and predictable.In 2005, Grassi had the idea of a new approach to convert sea waves into electricity. This idea has become a project, and after about 10 years it has produced a machine called H24, so called because it can work 24/24. The first prototype of this machine was installed in Marina di Pisa. This technology is particularly useful for efficient dispatching and for isolated networks.Microgrids need less energy and generally have to bear higher costs per kWh, up to 0.50 cents per kWh and even more. In this context, machines with greater capital and management costs can be exploited, and commercial installations can be made, which are self-financed thanks to...
7 February 2020By Thomas Lamberti – CEO of H2Boat Thomas Lamberti started his speech by introducing the current ecological situation, underlining that thanks to the abundance of energy provided by fossil sources, mankind has experienced unprecedented growth, thanks to a rapid but not sustainable economic development based on a linear model of continuous growth. The cycle of oil formation and its consumption travel on two incredibly different time scales. Furthermore, the rapid release of fossil CO2 has brought the planet into the Anthropocene era, characterized by strong ecological imbalances. The future of humanity will require more and more energy, but in a sustainable way, within a circular economy approach. Lamberti then continued his discussion focusing on the importance of hydrogen as a new source of energy; he explained that the hydrogen energy is among the most promising solutions for storing energy produced from renewable sources. H2Boat, is a spin-off of University of Genoa, born within the Department of Mechanical Engineering DIME and they work together on the technology transfer. H2Boat was born out of the desire to concretely realize its ideas at an industrial level, always maintaining the innovative and enterprising spirit that characterizes the university activity.Among his projects, Lamberti is researching and developing innovative solutions in order to introduce hydrogen technology on the market and make it available in every sector and to engineer energy systems for sailboats and motorboats, with the intention to start a successful entrepreneurial initiative able to contribute to the clearance of fuel cell and hydrogen technology in the nautical/naval world and beyond. The launch product of H2Boat is the Energy Pack, an energy storage system produced from renewable sources for sailboats. H2Boat Energy Pack is a system that uses hydrogen technology for autonomous pleasure boats – in particular sailboats – from the on-board electrical needs point...
29 January 2020By Giovanni Perotto – Engineer and Researcher at IIT Giovanni Perotto, Engineer and Researcher at the Italian Institute of Technology, focused his speech on smart materials and bioplastics, presenting a very interesting speech on technologies developed to convert plant residues into bioplastics. In Europe in 2016, 55 million tons of vegetable waste was produced. This waste is unfortunately thrown, composted or incinerated, all solutions with low added value when not expensive.Perotto explained how in a simple carrot there are materials that nature has engineered for the function that the vegetable must carry out: growing, having a structure, working as long as it is needed and then being reintegrated into the environment once its use is over. The macromolecules inside the carrot like cellulose, pectin, lignin and hemicellulose, have the function of supporting the various parts of the vegetable.The focus of the research being carried out regards the ability to harness these properties to produce short-lived objects (single use, packaging) instead of using plastic. The aim is to obtain solutions to be used as an alternative to common plastic, making entire supply chains such as packaging and disposable plastic more sustainable from an environmental point of view. At the same time this will improve the economic sustainability of the food supply chain, turning all the plant biomass, that is currently being disposed, into a resource. These are the focus areas of his research at the Smart Materials laboratory of the Italian Institute of Technology: the development of technologies necessary to carry out this conversion and the work on vegetable waste materials in order to obtain a suitable performance and to facilitate the implementation of new Circular Economy systems.The goal is to convert what is available as a waste from the food industry, but to achieve this we need to get the...
14 January 2020By Tiziana Monterisi – RiceHouse CEO RiceHouse is a start-up born in 2016 that tackles the problem related to the construction building sector, that in EU is responsible for 40% of energy consumption, 36% of CO2 emissions and it generates 1/3 of all waste. The problem is widely acknowledged, and EU is setting clear guidelines for a resource-efficient and sustainable circular economy, with the vision of a decarbonised building stock by 2050. In addition, the UN SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) objectives for 2030 are focusing on sustainable cities, responsible consumption, renewable energy and action on climate change. The company produces 100% natural building materials and finishing’s, that derive from by-products from rice cultivation and production. RiceHouse uses raw products such as rice straw, husk and bran, introduces them into the construction cycle and at the end of their service life they return in a circular way to the natural cycle. RiceHouse in an innovative way coordinates and controls a short supply chain, creating new economics from the field to the construction site. The company strongly believes that turning organic waste into a source of value is a key feature of the circular economy and from several years promotes the use of rice by-products from short supply chain. All products developed from the company are highly efficient in terms of energy, 100% natural, formaldeide free and made in Italy. Sustainable and green construction trend is growing fast with a prediction to increase 12% by 2026, with a total value of 254 b€ (50% in Europe). It clearly emerges that the value proposition of Ricehouse has all the features to satisfy the needs of the future demand: it proposes an offer in an economic sector in a phase of change that is based on values already incorporated and shared in different sectors...
26 November 2019By Gianmaria Sannino – Senior Researcher at ENEA Gianmaria Sannino opened his speech during ReThink – Circular Ocean Forum in Genoa, with a brief and current introduction concerning the correlation between climate change and sea-level rise, explaining how the oceans absorb heat and they expand by increasing their volume. In addition to melting glaciers, in fact, the oceans’ temperature increase, is the second reason that causes the raising of the level, which is among the causes of the disaster that took place in November in Venice. The sea can also be exploited as an intelligent energy source, Sannino showed a quote by Joseph Conrad from the book Typhoon, which says “… he had never seen the immeasurable force and excessive anger, the anger that passes and runs out without ever subsiding – the anger and fury of the irritated sea”, which turns out to be a fictionalized definition of what marine renewable energy is. Even Victor Hugo already in 1874, with a quote taken from the novel “Novantatrè”, emphasizes how the sea is a source of energy that the earth should make use of: “Think of the movement of the waves, the ebb and flow, the coming and going of the tides. What is the ocean? a huge lost force. How stupid the earth is, not to use the ocean! “ The global marine energy potential can be a very powerful resource, it is estimated that the amount of marine energy we can extract is equal to 1,200 TWh / year, while the global wave is estimated to be 29,500 TWh / year, these data are surprising if we consider that the current global electricity demand is 25,600 TWh / year. It would be easy to ask why it is not exploited, the first reason is that this energy is not distributed...
20 November 2019Plastic offset is here. Here’s how to do it right by Peter Wang Hjemdahl (Co-Founder, rePurpose Global) A new paradigm is entering the environmental zeitgeist, and that paradigm is plastic offset. So what is it really, and how could it stem the global tide of plastic pollution? Put simply, for every dollar contributed by a polluter, a certain amount of plastic waste would be intercepted from the environment on your behalf as an individual or a company. All across the developing world, waste management social enterprises have popped up to provide ethical & efficient solutions to our plastic epidemic, yet they are often underfunded and left unable to scale. Inspired by carbon credit, plastic offset is a transformative way of funding these innovations to accelerate our transition towards a circular economy. Just like carbon, there are as many ways to do plastic offset wrong as ways to do it right. With the complex relationship between consumer responsibility and producer accountability, generating a truly meaningful impact is challenging yet entirely possible. From the landfills and alleyways of Mumbai to corporate headquarters in New York, we spent years understanding both local needs and the global systems that govern our waste. Here are 3 principles we have distilled on how to do plastic offset, right. Principle 1: Hit the problem where it hurts Anywhere in the developing world, if you pay attention to the kinds of plastic that are actually littering our streets, beaches, and landfills, you will notice a trend – it’s dominated by low-value plastic like to-go containers, candy wrappers, and plastic bags. These materials are classified as low-value plastic because they are extremely difficult to recycle. Shanghai, Cairo, New Delhi, Nairobi, Jakarta – a vibrant informal recycling industry do exists in cities worldwide and employs tens of millions of workers who...
By Giacomo Losio – co-founder of Taller delle terre
Taller delle terre (TdT) is a non profit organization that aims to revolutionize the industry of ceramic setting up circular economy production processes.
The problem TdT wants to face is connected with the idea of linear systems which are no longer sustainable for our finite planet seeing they are designed on the endless processes of extraction, production, distribution, consume and disposal (the Story of Stuff, 2007).
In fact, looking at the interior design sector, both ceramic and stone production chains are responsible for such negative externalities in terms of natural resources exploitation, amount of waste sent to landfill, related environmental impacts and costs for disposal.
According to Confindustria Ceramica, in Italy the ceramic market is worth 5,4 billion euro per year (2018) and about 4,572 operating quarries consumed more than 4,6 million cubic meters of soil (Legambiente, Rapporto Cave 2017).
At the same time also the world stone industry is responsible for sending to landfill a big percentage of the extracted material, between 20 and 30, with an estimated operating cost about of approx. 30 euro per tonne (Knowledgshare, 2016).
These two linear production chains have also considerable negative effects on the environment during all the production and consumption phases (transport, packaging and final disposal): high levels of energy and water consumption; waste production and CO2 emissions (Legambiente, Rapporto Cave 2016).
As underlined by United Nation SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals), territories need to implement sustainability within 2030: the waste of resources and money can be contained only through innovative solutions that can generate positive effects in terms of environmental, social and economic development.
Considering that in 2018, the 9% from the Italian ceramic industry revenues has been invested in new sustainable productions and green technologies, TdT developed a solution that meets these needs.
TdT answers to specific SDGs (SDG8, SDG9; SDG12) developing eco-friendly materials suitable for the whole ceramic sector. The process of mixing natural materials with by- products collected from firms working building materials, gave birth to ‘MAT-TER’: a material (MAT) that comes from the earth (TER) and at the end of its lifetime goes back to the earth without harnessing our environment.
This sustainable ‘body clay’ is made in-house, by mixing different quantities of natural clay and stone by-products collected locally. It can be used in many fields: form arts and crafts (for examples tableware and sculptures), to the industrial applications (interior and external coverings).
The solution, with the potential to transform linear production processes into local and circular value chains, can be scaled up through a network of stakeholders: industrial designers, producers, manufactories, retailers and players managing the entire process.
In October 2018, the architect Martina Geroni opened an artistic and artisanal lab in Lodi, producing and selling tableware made at the wheel. In order to make the production process sustainable, she developed a circular economy project with the urban planner Giacomo Losio. Together they gave birth to Taller delle Terre.
TdT tested and mixed lots of various materials in different conditions, till the creation of MAT-TER, the new ‘circular’ ceramic material, thought to be worked and transformed in useful or artistic objects, from tiles to tableware, from decorations to sculptures.
After developing some performing prototypes, the first tableware collection has been named ‘CASCARA’ (like the fruit’s peel) in honour of the process that makes new goods, valuing natural scraps of the drupe fruit.
During 2019, TdT project gained several acknowledgements and awards.
After being selected among the ten Italian finalists of ‘Bionike Award’ on female entrepreneurship in April, a first grant has been given by ‘Fondazione Alamo’, which supported TdtT, making possible an increasing of the production and the continuation of research and development experiments.
In June at ‘La Scala di Milano’ theatre, ‘Milano-Monza-Lodi Chamber of Commerce’ awarded TdT for ‘the best enterprise video’.
A special prize at ‘Welfare che impresa’ national competition has been given to Taller delle terre in July, which led to the incubation at ‘PoliHub Innovation Distric and Startup acelerator’ in Milan (since November) and to a reward from Fondazione Snam.
After becoming a non profit organization at the beginning of 2020, Taller delle terre is nowadays looking for funds to scale up the solution.