Brussels, 19 September 2005
The European Commission has approved funding for 89 environmental innovation projects in 17 countries under the LIFE-Environment programme 2005. These projects will demonstrate new methods and techniques for dealing with a wide diversity of environmental problems, thus contributing to improving Europe’s environment. The projects are led by ‘beneficiaries’, or project promoters, based in Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom. They represent a total investment of €220 million, of which the EU will provide €71 million
Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas said: “LIFE-Environment supports the development of ever more efficient and innovative technologies to tackle environmental issues. These innovations also contribute to achieving the EU’s competitiveness and growth goals.”
This year, the Commission received 534 proposals for funding through the LIFE-Environment programme from a wide range of public and private organisations. The Commission selected 89 of these projects, all of which will apply ground-breaking technology to solve environmental problems.
Waste management takes the lead this year in terms of the number of projects selected (31) and of the EU funding allocated (€ million, representing 39% of the total). Minimising the environmental impact of economic activities is the second most popular theme with 22 projects (€17 million). Almost one fifth of the EU funding (€14 million) will be allocated to 17 projects dealing with the sustainable management of groundwater and surface water. Twelve projects deal with sustainable land-use development and planning and will share around €9 million (i.e. 10%) of the EU funding available. Finally, seven projects address the reduction of the environmental impacts of products and services (€5 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 acceding, candidate, and neighbouring countries. Its objective is to contribute to the development and implementation of EU environmental policy by financing specific actions. Since 1992, LIFE has co-financed some 2 500 projects, contributing €1 500 million to the protection of the environment.
LIFE-Environment, which finances innovative pilot and demonstration projects, is one of three thematic components under the LIFE programme. The other two components are LIFE Nature and LIFE Third Countries.
LIFE Nature focuses on contributing to the implementation of the EU directives on the conservation of wild birds and on wildlife habitats, in particular the Natura 2000 network of conservation areas established by the latter directive.
LIFE Third Countries helps countries bordering the Mediterranean and the Baltic Sea build up their capacity for environmental protection. For projects approved under LIFE Nature and LIFE Third Countries, see press releases IP/05/1155 and IP/05/1156
The current LIFE programme (“LIFE III”) finishes at the end of 2006. The Commission has proposed a new programme called “LIFE +”, which would run from 2007-2013 with a budget of €2190 million. The proposal is currently under discussion in the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament.
See the annex for a summary of the 88 projects funded under LIFE-Environment. More detailed information on each project is available at:
Overview of LIFE-Environment projects 2005 by country
Belgium – 2 projects
Both projects deal with water management. In the first, best practice management guidelines for the safe use of pesticides will be implemented to prevent surface and groundwater from pollution.
The second will demonstrate that a technique known as ‘on site metal precipitation’ is a sustainable solution for cleaning groundwater contaminated with non-ferrous metals.
Denmark – 6 projects
Two are water management projects. One aims to reduce nitrogen and phosphorus losses from agricultural activities in the Odense river basin, in line with the EU Water Framework Directive  objectives.
The second concerns the integrated protection of surface and groundwater in three agricultural regions in mid-eastern Jutland.
Two projects seek to mitigate the environmental impact of economic activities. The first is a pilot study to test the use of innovative ‘bio-covers’ to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from landfills.
The second will demonstrate the environmental, safety and commercial benefits of a prototype refrigeration system for supermarkets and similar applications using carbon dioxide as the refrigerant.
In the field of waste management, one project aims to re-use wastewater sludge from incineration in the production of concrete. The second will test the suitability of using waste and sewage sludge as a raw material in stone wool production plants in Denmark, France, Germany and the UK.
Estonia – 1 project
The project aims at minimising the environmental impact of economic activities. It will demonstrate that pig manure can be processed fully to produce energy and secondary raw materials (water and fertilizer), using a new technology that includes the fermentation of manure, processing of bio-gas into ‘green’ energy and heat, and the full separation of recyclable and non-recyclable components.
Finland – 2 projects
Both projects deal with waste management. One examines recycling opportunities for waste from electrical and electronic equipment, in line with EU legislation  , with a particular emphasis on rural areas.
The second targets households, schools and day-care centres in Helsinki, with a view to increasing awareness and ensuring the amount of waste produced does not exceed 2003 levels.
France – 11 projects
One water management project will reduce water pollution from pesticides by improving crop protection practices through an improved control of the pesticide volume from sprayers. Experience will be shared with Italian and Spanish partners.
Three projects address clean technologies. One will demonstrate a mechanical - and eco-friendly - alternative to the chemical milling of complex shaped panels used in the aeronautical and space industries.
The second aims to develop a clean technology for textile finishing processes, based on electrofloculation.
The general objective of the third project is to reduce the amount of CO2 emitted during the drying process of ceramic terracotta based products by 30%.
Six projects cover waste management. The first will contribute to the design, development and validation of innovative lead-free industrial assembly lines, and study the reliability of new lead-free alloys in compliance with the European directives on waste of electrical and electronic equipment2 and on restrictions on the use of hazardous substances (RoHS)  in such equipment.
The second project will develop a process for the management of end-of-life aircraft. Despite the growing number of retired airplanes (some 250 per year), no recognised process exists for decommissioning aircraft in safe and environmentally responsible conditions.
The third project, located in the Department of Deux-Sèvres, aims at reducing waste by setting incentives for the population and economic actors at all stages of the consumption cycle.
The fourth will demonstrate the technical feasibility of introducing ultrasound technology to reduce the production of sludge in a wastewater treatment plant.
The fifth will demonstrate the feasibility of an innovative technology for recycling lithium ion batteries, primarily used to operate mobile phones, laptops, cameras, toys, etc.
The sixth will substitute lead with other alloys in order to produce “green” electronics for aeronautical and military communication systems. This will enable compliance with the RoHS directive3, which bans use of lead in electronic equipment from 1July 2006.
The last French project concerns air quality management and will set up an air sampler using a new approach to monitoring pollen in the air. Instead of quantifying pollen grains by their morphology, on-line antigenicity/allergenecity measurements will be used.
Germany – 6 projects
Two projects concern water management. The first will take an integrated approach to reduce diffuse pollution from agriculture, in support of the Water Framework Directive 1 .
The second focuses on improvements in wastewater treatment technologies by using an innovative technology to transfer the organic constituents of sewage sludge into a soluble form, suitable for the production of biogas.
Two projects deal with clean technologies to help reduce the environmental impact of economic activities. One will show the technical and environmental effectiveness of a new inorganic binder used for the casting of aluminium engine blocks. The process should reduce energy costs to about 30% and substantially reduce waste.
The second concerns the pre-treatment of wool in yarn production. The main goal is the elimination of emissions of absorbable organic halides (AOX) and a significant decrease in the use of chemicals in the cleaning process, through a sustainable plasma pre-treatment process.
One project addresses waste management and prevention by setting up a training programme for lead-free soldering in Europe’s electronics industry.
A sixth project seeks to reduce environmental impacts in the steel industry, where currently hazardous acids are used for the de-scaling of cold rolled plates. A new chemical-free process will be used, based on high-pressure vacuum technology.
Greece – 4 projects
A first project addresses land-use development and planning by introducing a participative approach to an ambitious plan for the socio-environmental regeneration of the Elefsina Bay urban area by the year 2020.
A second, relating to air quality management, aims at developing an integrated system for assessing, monitoring and managing air pollution in Kozani Prefecture (Western Macedonia), the location of the country’s largest lignite-fired power plant.
The third relates to the environmental impact of products and services and will implement a sustainable construction concept through an integrated product policy approach involving all stakeholders.
The last project addresses water management by developing a toolbox of environmentally friendly technologies for the minimisation of non-point source pollution from agricultural lands. The technologies will be integrated in the management plan of the Evrotas river basin and its coastal zone.
Hungary – 1 project
The project, covering water management, assesses the scale of arsenic contamination in groundwater in the southern part of Hungary. It will develop a pilot management plan, incorporating a new arsenic removal technology.
Ireland – 2 projects
Both projects concern waste management. One will develop a demonstration tool for designing components and sub-assemblies in the automotive sector that incorporate environmental compliance requirements, particularly with respect to the End of Life Vehicles Directive  .
The second will demonstrate the environmental and competitive benefits of a pallet block that re-uses tyre-derived waste materials in combination with sawmilling residues and woodchip from discarded pallets.
Italy – 15 projects
Five projects aim at minimising the environmental impact of economic activities by reducing greenhouse gas emissions or developing best available techniques (BATs). One will develop a demonstration site for energy generation by a new technology for producing bio-carbon from biomass.
The second will test techniques for capturing carbon dioxide emissions from a municipal solid waste landfill with a view to developing options for wider replication of the process.
The third will demonstrate how to control the humidity of air at atmospheric pressure without cooling, a technique that significantly reduces energy consumption in the cooling equipment used in a wide range of industries.
The fourth deals with the recovery and re-use of waste from tannery processes through the purification and re-use of wastewater, and the extraction of useful substances.
The fifth will evaluate the applicability of reference BATs for small and medium-sized enterprises in the textile industry through the construction of a demonstration plant.
Two further projects deal with reducing the environmental impact of products and services. The first aims at eliminating the use of dangerous substances for the setting of decorations and designs on ceramic bodies.
The second will develop techniques for the identification and monitoring of contamination by GMO products in agricultural production, and define standards for the segregation and preservation of non-GMO products along the supply chain and in food production.
Three projects concern sustainable land-use development and planning. One will combine the Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) with other green accounting systems to obtain an integrated approach to environmental management in four pilot cities.
Two other projects will develop eco-friendly transport systems, one by setting up a centre for eco-friendly city freight distribution in the historical centre of Lucca, and the second by developing tools for integrated planning and control of goods transport in urban areas.
Two projects aim at improving water management by developing new water treatment technologies. One will develop a prototype to demonstrate a new eco-friendly method for treating wastewater.
The second concerns the treatment of storm water runoff before it enters receiving water bodies such as drains, rivers and harbours.
The last three projects focus on waste management. Two deal with sludge treatment from the ceramic and marble industry.
The third aims at fine-tuning and extending the results from a previous LIFE-Environment project which dealt with the recycling of oil-mill effluents.
Luxembourg – 1 project
The project will implement a new drying system for wood-based panels, resulting in a substantial decrease in emissions of volatile organic compounds, CO2 and carbon monoxide during their production and use.
Netherlands – 7 projects
Three Dutch projects deal with waste management. One will test a closed-loop blanching technology, which is more eco-friendly than hot water blanching, the technique commonly used for the manufacture of potato products.
The second will convert bottom ash from waste incineration into high-grade secondary raw material that will find a ready market in the concrete, calcium-silicate brick and metallurgical industries.
The third will demonstrate the feasibility of recycling old roofing felts made of bitumen.
A fourth project concerns sustainable urban development and will reduce noise and related nuisance by at least 25% around port industrial areas through a noise mapping and management system and a corresponding good-practice guide, in line with the Noise Directive  .
The fifth focuses on reducing the environmental impact of high voltage power lines. It will set up a new type of high voltage power line with a reduced magnetic field.
The sixth deals with reducing greenhouse gas emissions, in this case
hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) from fridges, by using a CO2-based refrigeration system.
The last project concerns sustainable water management, particularly in the horticulture sector, and will significantly reduce the need to use pesticides on plants through a system of crop monitoring.
Portugal – 2 projects
Both projects concern waste management. One aims at increasing the rate of recycling of mixed plastics, rubber and beverage cartons with a view to designing new products for use on roads.
The second focuses on the re-use of frying oils to produce bio-diesel for the municipal vehicle fleet of Oeiras.
Romania – 1 project
In Romania, an air quality management project will identify air pollution sources in and around Bucharest and provide authorities and the public with information on air pollution levels.
Spain – 16 projects
Three project focus on water management. One will define an integrated management model for dealing with liquid waste from the plating industry.
The second will develop combined irrigation and fertilisation techniques with the aim of decreasing soil and groundwater pollution and improving productivity.
The third will demonstrate the use of an automated irrigation system in the “El Vicario” Irrigation Community (Guadiana).
Three projects address land-use development and planning. The first aims at promoting sustainable mobility in six industrial estates through the establishment of management mechanisms and the promotion of public transport, cycling and car sharing.
The second deals with soil protection in Mediterranean areas with high erosion rates. It will demonstrate the benefits of cultivating new varieties of almond trees able to cope with the harsh conditions.
The third aims at defining a mountain viticulture sustainable management system in order to reduce the environmental impacts of this activity on landscape, soil and water resources.
Four projects deal with clean technologies. The first will reduce the environmental impact of food processing plants during cleaning operations, which typically consume large volumes of water and generate highly polluted wastewater, by using ozone instead of traditional chemical disinfection agents.
The second will demonstrate the technical, economic and environmental viability of energy recovery from landfill biogas through the use of micro-turbines and the biological removal of hydrogen sulphide and siloxanes.
The third will build a pilot plant for the reduction of volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions to air. The system, intended for a factory using solvents for surface treatment, will allow a reduction in the levels of VOCs emitted to a fifth of the limit set in the VOC Directive  .
The fourth project will demonstrate that energy from solar cells can be efficiently stored as hydrogen for later use in fuel-cell engines, for lighting or for cooling.
Six projects address waste management. The first will reduce the environmental impact of dung generated by pig farms in the region of Los Serranos, in the Valencia Community. Insects will be used to degrade the waste and transform it into organic fertiliser.
The second seeks to reduce the volume of waste from the textile industry through the setting up of a common procedure for waste management.
A third will develop a pilot plant in the city of Baena (Andalusia) to transform liquid wastes generated during the olive oil production process into value-added by-products.
The fourth project will reduce the environmental impact of sludge generated by sewage-treatment plants, by means of suitable management and recycling techniques.
The fifth aims at minimising the negative environmental impacts of waste produced by the fishing industry by recommending efficient and integrated waste management and processing practices to recycle and reduce waste produced by the sector.
The last project will demonstrate the technical and economic feasibility of a new high-capacity process to separate high purity metal alloys (>90%). Used for the separation of iron, aluminium and heavy metals from end-of-life vehicles, the process will allow the re-use of metals which can then be used for new engines in the automotive sector.
Sweden – 2 projects
The two projects seek to mitigate the environmental impact of economic activities. The first will demonstrate an innovative continuous reactor technology, based on ART® (Advanced Reactor Technology) to be used for sustainable production in the chemicals sector.
The second will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, by testing and demonstrating the use of dimethyl ether (DME)-powered heavy duty vehicles. DME fuel production is nearly CO2 neutral and therefore a promising alternative to petroleum-based fuel.
United Kingdom – 10 projects
Four UK projects deal with waste management. The first aims to demonstrate the use of an advanced ultra high pressure water technology to recover material from used tyres.
The second will demonstrate innovative technologies for the recycling of glass waste streams that are currently unsuitable for most glass manufacturing processes and thus end up in landfill sites.
A waste prevention project will demonstrate that a technique known as enzyme hydrolysis is a safe and eco-friendly way of treating sewage sludge for re-use.
A fourth project aims to reduce the disposal of non-sterile clinical waste in landfill sites and promote its use as a raw material for recycled products.
Two projects seek to mitigate the environmental impact of economic activities. One will demonstrate the effectiveness of water recycling using a new reactor for aerobic digestion of wastewater.
A second aims to re-use brownfield sites to grow biomass energy crops, restore damaged land, and generate heat and power from renewable energy sources.
Two projects address water management issues. One will showcase a new processing technology by which formaldehyde, used in the manufacture of glues, wood products, preservatives, etc, is converted into non-toxic sugars. The target is a 100% reduction in formaldehyde in effluent flowing into the UK’s Severn Estuary.
The second deals with the remediation of nitrate pollution of surface waters by agriculture by achieving a cost effective reduction of at least 85% in nitrate contamination.
One project seeks to develop and manage quality urban environments for river corridor users and stakeholders.
The last project concerns the environmental impact of products and services and focuses on the potential of integrating greenhouses with other buildings, e.g. office buildings. It will demonstrate the benefits of designing, constructing and operating environmentally sustainable greenhouses and building systems, as well as the potential for reducing the environmental impacts of the horticultural production taking place within them.