LIFE & Energy
LIFE, the EU funding tool for the Environment Since 1992, LIFE has contributed to the implementation, updating and development of EU environmental policy and legislation by co-financing pilot or demonstration projects with European added value. In the Energy field, LIFE has been continuously supporting innovative projects that upgrade energy technologies and processes - both in the public and private sectors - all over the EU.
EFFERNERGY developed two new insula-
tion products that improve the thermal performance of existing buildings:
• An “easy to install” thermal mass panel that can be used inside walls, floors and ceilings, including in existing buildings. This panel, called DuPont Energain, works by absorbing heat in the daytime and releasing it at night, thus evening out temperature fluctuations in buildings and reducing their energy consumption by 20-60%. For example, a 200 m2 building fitted with these thermal mass panels might save between 4 011 kWh and 6 101 kWh per year depending on its location in Europe. In independent tests using a house with two identical attics, the panelled attic was up to 7°C cooler in the summer, whilst during winter the total energy required to keep it at a constant temperature of 20°C was 8% less. • An insulation system based on two reflective breathable membranes (DuPont Tyvek Enercor) that combines heat loss reduction and weather proofing. If fitted with this system, a house with 150 m2 of roof surface and 100 m2 of wall surface could achieve energy savings of 1 542 kWh/yr. This would result in annual economic savings of between €93 and €231. .
SEQ-CURE demonstrated a system to use
BIOAGRO conceived an innovative method
organic residues, such as manure and digestate, in the agricultural production of plant biomass as a source of renewable energy. The project set up demonstration energy farms in Emilia-Romagna to analyse the respective potential of the biogas, wood fibre and raw vegetable oil chains for energy production. It assessed three biogas crops: triticale, maize and sorghum; poplar and hemp for the wood/fibre chain; and rapeseed for the raw vegetable oil chain. This integrated initiative consisted of the following actions:
of producing high-quality pelletised fuel from grain, grain waste, seeds and grass. The project comprised three stages: developing and producing different pellet mixtures (Bioagropellets) with efficient combustion performances and low sulphur dioxide (SO2) emissions rates; the design of an integrated furnace system that avoids ash melting and adapts easily to different pellets recipes; and the coupling of the burning system with drying and heating systems, enabling the use of the heat from the furnaces in drying operations and heating buildings.
• Development of demonstration bioenergy farms that cultivate energy crops with organic residues;
The project also produced the following environmental benefits:
• Management of biomass and conversion in energy; • Use of ashes as fertiliser; • Development of a method for the calculation of GHG emissions and carbon sequestration derived from farming practices. The project showed very good results, especially in the biogas energy production. This resulted in an increase of 160% in the average yearly income of the farmers producing energy from their own biomass and 65% for those farmers purchasing biomass.
• 100% reduction of waste from an agricultural seed production company, which consequently led to a 100% reduction of methane emissions by the decaying agricultural residues. • The ashes produced were also reused as fertiliser in the form of biochar, thus helping to sequester CO2. • A closed-loop energy system that provides a 100% fossil fuel free heating of buildings and seed drying activities. If fully implemented, the method could reduce the discharge of greenhouse gases (GHG) in Sweden by 10% and in the EU by 2.5%.
Photo: LIFE06 ENV/D/000485 - Mario MANTHEY
Photo: LIFE06 ENV/S/000517
Pellets Photo: LIFE06 ENV/IT/000266
Biomass Photo: LIFE06 ENV/L/000121 - Dupont Energain/Hawkes
Energy efficient buildings
MOVEABLE HEPP developed a hydro-
electric power plant that works without hindering the natural ecosystem functions of river habitats. The technology operates with moveable components that are able to work at different heights and allow fish to swim freely even through the turbine, since it operates at a low rotation speed. Results from pilot plants constructed on existing weirs in Gengenbach and Offenburg (Germany) showed savings of 16% in comparison with a conventional hydropower plant, plus 11% higher returns (electricity sales) as a result of better efficiency. The project beneficiary, E-werk Mittelbaden Wasserkraft calculates that its technology could increase the ratio of ‘raw profit per investment sum’ by more than 40% (from 5.18% to 7.36%). The system’s economic advantages are attributed to high efficiency, the lack of a frequency converter, combining the turbine and generator on a single shaft, and the use of a permanent magnet for the stator, thereby saving power for electric magnetisation. It also avoids costs involved in compensatory measures for managing flood risks or the transfer of river bed matter.
Environment Visit the LIFE website: www.ec.europa.eu/life