Two projects share Lillehammer Award 2006

For the fourth time, the EUREKA Lillehammer Award 2006 is being shared by two projects, both of which have developed technologies with outstanding environmental benefits. This is the fourth time such a double award has been made ? a clear indication of the exceptional standard of the competing projects. EUREKA E! 2497 EUROENVIRON BIOMAC has devised a vastly improved method of bacterial waste water treatment capable of degrading the most toxic and difficult pollutants. EUREKA E! 2625 EUROENVIRON ECDVAT's new electrochemical dyeing process allows re-use of materials, and substantial reduction in chemicals used and in waste discharged.

The 2006 EUREKA Lillehammer Award was presented today by Mrs K. Yrvin, Norwegian Vice-Minister of Industry at the biennial EUREKA Ministerial Conference in Prague. "It's a great surprise and pleasure for us," commented ECDVAT coordinator Professor Thomas Bechtold of the University of Innsbruck in Austria. Enga Luye of the BIOMAC project, from Belair Biotech, Switzerland said: "It has been a great benefit to be part of a EUREKA project, and we are honoured to receive this award."

The EUROENVIRON BIOMAC project developed a new system for treating waste water using mixtures of bacteria in granular form, which can break down even the most toxic wastes or deal with high pollutant concentration. The new system uses 50% less energy than conventional treatment and will cost 30% less as the waste water can be treated significantly faster than before. Conventional treatment uses only a few bacterial strains and cannot always break down complex pollutant mixtures or high concentrations. The BIOMAC technology selects the best combination of bacteria for specific types of pollutants, and produces this mixture in a sufficiently large volume, while retaining the same mixture of strains. The computer-controlled system has been tested from the laboratory up to industrial scale through the EUREKA project, and is ready to upgrade existing working waste water treatment plants. Enga Luye points out: "This technology means that for the first time in Europe, we are in a position to say that high concentrations of major pollutants are not a problem any more."

EUROENVIRON ECDVAT has the potential to revolutionise the traditional dyeing process for cellulose-based textiles. Using electrochemical dye reduction rather than chemical reducing agents, the chemical waste is reduced by about 80% for the actual dyebath stage and by 20% for the whole process. The new system has the great advantage that it can be regenerated – the major part of the dyeing chemicals can be re-cycled – and because of this there are major savings in water use and cost. Also the much lower quantities of waste products are easily biodegradable in water treatment plants, compared to the difficult wastes from conventional dyeing.

The new process developed by the ECDVAT project also offers a higher level of quality control than traditional dyeing, due to the electrochemical, computer-regulated system. Textile dyeing companies are very interested and, says Prof. Bechtold, "…they can see it's a technology on which they can base new products. This is the technology which is changing the state of the art and I am convinced that it will eventually become recognized as a Best Available Technique."

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More information:

BIOMAC : Enga Luye, Belair Biotech Ltd [address to follow]

Tel: +41 79 467 40 93; e-mail: enga.luye@belairbiotech.ch

ECDVAT : Prof. Thomas Bechtold, Institute of Textile Chemistry and Textile Physics, University of Innsbruck, Höchsterstrasse 73, A-6850 Dornbirn, Austria Tel : +43 5572 28533 ; e-mail: textilchemie@uibk.ac.at


Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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