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11/16/2020 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 11/16/2020 05:58

LIFE-programmet: Korte resuméer af udvalgte projekter i forbindelse med 2019-indkaldelsen af forslag til LIFE-programmet

Annex to our Press Release - IP/20/2052

LIFE programme: Short summaries of projects from the LIFE 2019 call for proposals

The list of projects is being updated as new grant agreements are signed; the list will be finalised by the end of December 2020.

Projects are listed by country of the project leader (coordinator). In addition, organisations from your country might be involved in transnational projects that are coordinated in a different country.

Table of contents

Belgium
Bulgaria
Denmark
Germany
Estonia
Greece
Spain
France
Croatia
Italy
Latvia
Lithuania
Hungary
Malta
Austria
Poland
Portugal
Romania
Slovenia
Slovakia
Sweden
United Kingdom

Belgium

- Nature and Biodiversity

Restoring rivers and forests in deep valleys (LIFE VALLEES ARDENNAISES)

Rivers and forests in the deep valleys of the Ourthe, Amblève, Vesdre and Our basins have been adversely affected by spruce plantations, artificial dams, modifications of river beds and banks, and the colonisation of aquatic and river habitats by invasive alien species. Regional government body SPWARNE will restore rivers and forests in these deep valleys, removing spruce plantations and remediating obstacles in watercourses to allow aquatic species to move more freely. It will seek to improve the conservation state of forests on an area of 300 ha - almost half the size of Gibraltar - and of aquatic river habitats covering a total length of 2.6 km. In addition, two populations of thick-shelled river mussel in the Our and Ourthe occidental rivers will be strengthened and the freshwater pearl mussel reintroduced in the upper Our basin.

Project summary

Improved detection and management of invasive species (LIFE RIPARIAS)

Invasive alien species (IAS) are a major threat to biodiversity in Europe. In Belgium, 13 exotic plants and five crayfish species are already or will soon become established in riparian and aquatic ecosystems, resulting in severe damage. Previously, a diversity of actors and fragmented data meant that decisions on managing invasive species were made ad hoc. An overarching data-driven system is therefore needed. With this project, the government body Bruxelles Environnement will develop an innovative, evidence-based workflow for decision-making. This is expected to increase the detection rate of emerging and widespread IAS, which will then be managed and in some cases eradicated. After piloting in the Dijle, Mark and Zenne river basins of the Scheldt district, the system will be made available across Belgium and to other EU Member States.

Project summary

- Environment and Resource Efficiency

Supporting predation of damaging moth species to avoid pesticide use (LIFE oak processionary)

The oak processionary moth has a damaging impact on oaks and biodiversity in general and is widely combated using pesticides. The LIFE project, however, aims to show that it is possible to control the species through less harmful means. The project's strategy is to encourage natural predation by installing nesting boxes for bird species, such as tits, that prey on the species, while managing insect predation at roadside locations. The project team will also carry out reintroductions of the forest caterpillar hunter that feeds on the target moth.

Project summary

Processing challenging food waste streams on an industrial scale (LIFE F3)

Nearly a third of all food produced in the EU is wasted, with farmers increasingly opting for high-quality feed rather than using this secondary source. The LIFE project will address this food waste by demonstrating how challenging waste streams, such as seeds, syrups and frozen goods, can be processed on an industrial scale. It also aims to develop an automated line for removing food packaging with the final outcome of showing the feasibility of producing large quantities of feed blend from these waste streams with great water, crop and emissions savings.

Project summary

- Climate Change Mitigation

Innovative fuel from solid waste to reduce the steelmaking sector's CO2 emissions (LIFE SMART)

Steelmaking is one of the biggest industrial emitters of greenhouse gases. The use of renewable energies could substantially reduce these emissions. The LIFE SMART project team will develop an innovative and cost-effective solution that integrates renewable energies into the steel manufacturing process. This will use torrefaction technology developed by the project's coordinator ArcelorMittal Belgium (a subsidiary of one of the world's largest steel manufacturers). This technology converts biomass, including solid waste, into a material with improved fuel properties. The project team's solution aims to cut CO2 emissions from the steelmaking sector, reduce costs, and decrease the amount of solid waste sent to landfill.

Project summary

Bulgaria

- Nature and Biodiversity

Improving conditions for bird species and key habitats at Pomorie Lake (LIFE for Pomorie Lagoon)

The area around Pomorie Lake supports numerous bird species, 91 of which are, according to BirdLife International, of European conservation concern. The lake is also home to a number of protected coastal lagoon habitats. However, these sites have become degraded, and a LIFE project has thus been set up to reverse the decline through a range of conservation measures, including the recreation of an islet that could serve as a key breeding site, the improvement of flood defences and the restoration of bypass channels to increase water circulation.

Project summary

Recreation and restoration of priority forest habitats in northeast Bulgaria (LIFE IASHAB)

The spread of invasive and non-native species, along with growing pressure from agriculture, is threatening priority forest habitats in northeast Bulgaria, which are listed in Annex 1 of the EU Habitats Directive. The LIFE project aims to address these threats by planning a programme of IAS eradication and habitat restoration and recreation, while also contributing to the update of national forestry policies via monitoring data and analysis. The project will also carry out a range of activities to ensure public support for conservation action and to encourage replication elsewhere.

Project summary

Restoring populations of lesser kestrel in the east Balkans (LIFE for Lesser Kestrel)

The project aims to halt the decline of the lesser kestrel in Greece and Bulgaria. It will build on earlier LIFE initiatives, supporting the activities of the captive breeding centre in Bulgaria by comparing the effectiveness of different release methodologies. The objective is to increase the number of breeding pairs, further its re-colonisation of the region and establish, through satellite telemetry, the links between the colonies. The project also aims to find and support new colonies of the raptor.

Project summary

- Environment and Resource Efficiency

Plastics recycling to reduce the environmental footprint of ski boots (LIFE RESKIBOOT)

Every year, 3.5 million pairs of ski boots are produced worldwide, made entirely of virgin materials and are subsequently landfilled after three to five years. The LIFE RESKIBOOT project team, led by the ski boot manufacturer Grifone, will make high-quality and cost-competitive ski boots out of recycled plastics. This will dramatically reduce amounts of plastic waste sent to landfill. The team will also decrease end-of-life disposal through a take-back and re-use service for rental ski boots. An innovative plastic waste sorting method will be able to achieve around 95% separation efficiency for polyurethane and foamed materials. A new ski boot made with about 90% of recycled materials will be launched on the market. One thousand pairs of these boots will be manufactured and tested by skiers to demonstrate comfort and technical performance.

Project summary

- Environmental governance and Information

Boosting compliance with EU law to tackle wildlife crime (LIFE SWiPE)

Wildlife crime is attractive to organised groups as the likelihood of detection and prosecution is low while profit margins are often high. Enforcement of the EU's comprehensive regulatory framework on the illegal wildlife trade is a national responsibility and varies from country to country. Implementation is usually poorly monitored, with crimes not sufficiently investigated and prosecuted or convictions secured. The NGO leading this project, WWF, will seek to reduce wildlife crime by improving compliance with EU law and increasing the number of offences that are successfully prosecuted. Measures will include improving the awareness and capacity of prosecutors and law enforcement authorities in 11 different EU countries, exchange of knowledge across borders and increasing cooperation between investigative agencies.

Project summary

Denmark

- Nature and Biodiversity

Restoring bird habitats in the Danish and German Wadden Sea area (LIFE Wadden Sea Birds)

The Wadden Sea area is of international importance for birds, while also being densely populated by humans and vulnerable to elevated water levels due to climate change. The LIFE Wadden Sea Birds project team will counter the main threats to birds and their habitats in the area, particularly focusing on waders and meadow birds in two Natura 2000 sites in the Wadden Sea Marsh. The Tønder municipality and the other partners aim to significantly increase the number and conservation status of at least 16 residents, migrating or overwintering bird species of the EU Birds Directive. As well as improving coastal habitats for birds, the team will also take action to reduce the predation of birds, including by invasive alien species. The work will be conducted using a multifunctional approach by, for example, combining conservation with climate change adaptation through stormwater storage.

Project summary

- Environment and Resource Efficiency

Closer to nature approach makes forests more resilient (LIFEFORFIT)

European timber forests are typically managed as plantations of one conifer species, all at the same age. Though forest monoculture is efficient for timber production, Close to Nature Forestry (CNF) practices enable more diverse forests to meet multiple goals. The Forest fit for future project will develop and demonstrate CNF practices for multifunctional forests, which can achieve environmental, social and economic benefits. Project beneficiaries, led by the Danish Nature Agency, will start converting plantation forests using CNF practices in 220 locations in 85 private forests across Denmark and Germany, in collaboration with numerous partners. The project team will define best practices for CNF, including tree species diversification, mixed-aged stands, structural variation, thinning regimes, game management, and forest planning strategies. Indicators will be developed to quantify improvements in biodiversity, carbon storage and other ecosystem services.

Project summary

Germany

- Nature and Biodiversity

Support for meadow birds in North Rhine-Westphalia (LIFE Wiesenvögel NRW)

Populations of eight protected meadow bird species, including the curlew and the black-tailed godwit, have declined in North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) because of the loss of suitable habitats and low reproduction rates. These species now have inadequate conservation status. Previous LIFE projects for lowland wet meadow birds in the region have had a positive impact locally on breeding populations. The government agency LANUV NRW will further develop core sites for the eight bird species in North Rhine-Westphalia, in order to stabilise and/or increase populations and improve their conservation status. Measures will include establishing a meadow bird-friendly water regime and agriculture as well as connecting meadow sites, with flower and insect-rich meadows to provide a high supply of food. The work will also help connect populations in northwest Europe with those in inland central Europe.

Project summary

Conserving threatened butterfly species (LIFE 'helle Eifeltäler')

The violet copper butterfly has unfavourable to poor conservation status in Germany. Populations in low mountain ranges are threatened by climate change, habitat loss and low abundance of food, amongst others. Similar problems affect the marsh fritillary, which is in danger of extinction in North Rhine-Westphalia. The non-profit leading this project will seek to stabilise and improve violet copper populations in the Northern Eifel and to re-establish the marsh fritillary. To that end, it will create, enlarge and optimise habitats. It will also connect existing populations and reintroduce important, rare or endangered habitat-typical plant species. The work is expected to have a positive impact on neighbouring populations in Belgium, while the bog fritillary and two severely endangered bird species, the meadow pipit and the whinchat, will also benefit.

Project summary

Conserving habitats along the River Inn (LIFE Riverscape Lower Inn)

Although much altered, the River Inn and its floodplains are home to a wide range of priority bird and fish species. Within a comprehensive management strategy for the area, the LIFE project will carry out a series of habitat restoration measures, such as the removal of sediment to create oxbow lakes, shallow banks and mudflats, and the creation of two bypass rivers and associated fluvial habitats. The project will also introduce meadow and forest management while restoring riverbanks to improve habitat conditions.

Project summary

- Environment and Resource Efficiency

Producing electricity from industrial waste heat (LIFE BipolymerEngine)

Waste heat from industrial processes contributes to higher local temperatures (heat island effects) and global warming. The LIFE BipolymerEngine project team will demonstrate the conversion of waste heat into electricity, using a new technology developed by the German clean-tech start-up Poligy, the project's coordinating beneficiary. The technology utilises an innovative new bipolymer material, in the form of a band that contracts and expands depending on the temperature, to generate electricity. This will be demonstrated in the chimneys, where inconsistent waste heat lower than 200 °C is released to the atmosphere, of two plants operated by the energy company Uniper. The project team will also show the cost-effectiveness of retrofitting existing industrial plants with the technology.

Project summary

Recovering phosphorous from incinerated sewage sludge (LIFE Sludge2resource)

Germany is increasingly combusting sewage sludge as a disposal method, due to stricter regulations on its use as an agricultural fertiliser. When the ash is sent to landfill, this represents a loss of the valuable phosphorus it contains. The LIFE Sludge2resource project team will combine an incineration plant for sewage sludge and a phosphorus recovery plant, within an existing plant operated by waste incineration company and lead partner Müllverbrennung Kiel. Phosphorus will be recovered from the incinerator ash, for use in fertilisers and industrial application, thus reducing the need for phosphate mining and its associated environmental impacts. The process is expected to recover more than 85% of phosphorus from the sewage sludge. The project team will also set new European standards for sewage sludge recycling.

Project summary

Smart fertilising for more efficient nitrogen use in agriculture (LIFE nutriCLOUD)

High applications of nitrogen (N) fertilisers increase crop yields, but more than half of nitrogen added to farmland is lost from nutrient cycles, wasting resources and causing environmental problems. LIFE nutriCLOUD addresses the need for a smart and effective nitrogen management system that optimises inputs and crop yields. Agricon, a leading provider of solutions for digital plant cultivation in central and eastern Europe, and the other partners will reduce the amount of nitrogen fertiliser applied and the amount of nitrogen-surplus run-off into surface and groundwater, by developing an innovative new technology. The technology will combine the use of in-field sensors, satellite data and crop science into a smart system that determines plant-specific and optimal variable-rate nitrogen treatments. This will save on costs and labour, while providing higher yields and compliance with the EU Nitrates Directive and other regulations. A prototype system will be tested at sites in Germany, Latvia, Poland and Hungary.

Project summary

Tackling road freight pollution via modal shifts through a logistics platform (LIFE FIT)

To reduce transportation air pollution in the EU, the project will encourage a shift away from moving freight by road to less-polluting rail. It will achieve this by demonstrating the effectiveness of NiKRASA technology (craneable semi-trailers) in combination with an innovative logistic platform that facilitates collaboration among SMEs. The project will carry out impact assessments to show the environmental benefits, engaging with stakeholders to develop a European intermodal transport network.

Project summary

Reusing polystyrene waste to make Lego bricks (LIFE ABSolutely Circular)

Plastic waste has increased rapidly in recent decades, with less a third of it being collected for recycling. The LIFE project will demonstrate how polystyrene waste can be recycled, incorporating r-styrene within acrylonitrile butadiene styrene to produce Lego bricks. The project will show the economic viability of such chemical recycling along with the environmental benefits relating to the circular economy. The aim is to also show that the recycled material can be used in a broad range of polymers.

Project summary

- Environmental governance and Information

Sustainable agriculture to protect pollinators and other insects (LIFE Responsible Sourcing)

Pollinators and other insects are declining massively across the EU, but know-how is lacking on the sustainable agricultural practices that can help protect them. With this project, the Lake Constance Foundation will develop seven 'insect-responsible sourcing regions' (IRSRs) in Germany, in cooperation with the agricultural and food sectors, local authorities and NGOs. Tailor-made action plans involving farmers and food companies will help improve insect protection and biodiversity in these regions. Farmers and others in the food sector will also be trained in insect-friendly agriculture and biodiversity, while insect-friendly products will be marketed together with food companies. The foundation aims to stimulate the creation of at least 10 new IRSRs elsewhere in Europe.

Project summary

- Climate Change Adaptation

Increasing biodiversity to make vineyards more resilient to climate change (LIFE VineAdapt)

Grape cultivation for wine production will be strongly affected by the impacts of climate change, including droughts, soil erosion due to short spells of heavy rainfall, and more pest outbreaks. The LIFE VineAdapt team, coordinated by the non-profit organisation Landgesellschaft Sachsen-Anhalt, will increase native biodiversity in vineyards by establishing vegetation to maximise ecosystem services. In practice, this will enhance pest control, attract pollinating bees, improve soil fertility, protect against erosion, improve water retention, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The project partners will demonstrate and optimise this biodiversity vineyard approach in Austria, France, Germany and Hungary.

Project summary

- Climate Governance and Information

Aligning finance with climate goals (LIFE PACTA 2.0)

The Paris Agreement calls for financial flows to be aligned with climate goals. Financial institutions, regulators, retail investors, civil society and policymakers alike need information in order to integrate climate change into investment decisions. The non-profit, 2° Investing Initiative Deutschland, will build on the work of an earlier project, LIFE PACTA, and enhance financial models measuring climate risk. LIFE PACTA 2.0 will support the EU sustainable finance action plan and the Paris Agreement, with the project team exploring how financial markets and regulatory frameworks may act as barriers or incentives to alignment.

Project summary

Estonia

- Nature and Biodiversity

Restoring the fragmented semi-natural meadows of Muhu Island (LIFE CONNECTING MEADOWS)

Muhu is an island of the West Estonia archipelago in the Baltic Sea, characterised by a high concentration of ecologically important semi-natural grasslands. However, increasingly isolated meadow patches mean that species risk losing their genetic diversity. The LIFE CONNECTING MEADOWS project team will restore 200 hectares of grasslands on the island, including three priority habitat types of the EU Habitats Directive (wooded meadows, coastal meadows, and alvars). They will also create ecological corridors, which will significantly re-connect fragmented patches of semi-natural grasslands. The Estonian University of Life Sciences will coordinate activities that also include the introduction of mowing equipment and infrastructure, and the training of advisors to help landowners, farmers and government officials implement measures to restore the grasslands.

Project summary

- Environment and Resource Efficiency

Greener artificial turf for Europe's sports fields (LIFETURF)

The EU has 20 000 sports fields made from synthetic turf, a figure which is expected to grow. With an average lifetime of 10 years, a proportion of these fields need renewing every year. However, only a fraction of the materials produced for them are reused or recycled and the synthetic turf removed creates a large amount of waste. The need for cost-effective renewal and recycling solutions is therefore increasing. Advanced Sports Installations Europe will develop a new circular model for managing sports fields in a carbon-neutral way, tested in four pilot areas - in Italy, Spain, Greece and Croatia. With this, the company will increase the volume of materials reused, preventing waste from going to landfill and reducing or avoiding greenhouse gas emissions.

Project summary

Greece

- Environment and Resource Efficiency

Demonstrating innovative photocatalytic paints for cleaner indoor air (LIFE VISIONS)

Photocatalysis is considered the most innovative, economical and promising technology for improving indoor air quality. The LIFE VISIONS project team will develop a solution to achieve healthy indoor environments and deliver energy savings in the building sector. They will commercialise an innovative photocatalytic nanomaterial that degrades air pollutants using visible light, an advance on existing technologies that operate using UV light. The team, coordinated by the Greek National Centre for Scientific Research, will establish a start-up company to produce photocatalytic paints containing this material, under the name 'Photo-Paints'. Real scale applications of the photo-paints produced will be implemented and tested in two buildings located on the premises of the Associated beneficiary Fort in Crete. These 'demo houses' will offer real conditions to evaluate the most promising photo-paint in terms of air pollutants' degradation and energy efficiency. The technology provides a solution that can be more widely implemented, due to its cost-effectiveness, which contributes to national and EU efforts to promote green technologies and improve indoor air quality.

Project summary

- Climate Change Adaptation

Reducing wildfire risks in monastic communities and beyond (LIFE STEMMA ATHOS)

Climate change is expected to bring more and longer periods of drought to northern Greece. In the Mount Athos region, wildfires are easily ignited and can lead to major natural disasters. With this project, the Holy Community of Mount Athos will reduce the risk of wildfires and improve the response to outbreaks in Mount Athos. With this project, the Holy Community of Mount Athos will reduce the risk of wildfires and improve the response to outbreaks in Mount Athos. For instance, some plant materials that could fuel wildfires will be removed in a pilot area containing Aleppo pine and shrubland, while the creation of open areas will provide firebreaks. Rainwater harvesting systems and water supply infrastructure will also be developed. Thanks to the project, the local ecosystem's resilience to climate change-related stresses, such as droughts, diseases and pests, will also increase. It will also increase the local ecosystem's resilience to climate change-related stresses, such as droughts, diseases and pests. The project's achievements and best practices will be shared locally and with monastic communities and different sectors in other EU countries.

Project summary

Spain

- Nature and Biodiversity

Improving resilience of the brown bear population to climate change (LIFE BEARS WITH FUTURE)

While the brown bear (Ursus arctos) population in the Cantabrian mountains has been steadily increasing, climate change represents a serious challenge for its conservation, making hibernation more difficult. The LIFE project will therefore ensure that bears have sufficient resources by planting chestnut trees and fruit-producing trees and shrubs, as well as purchasing land and striking agreements with landowners for their cultivation. The project will also address conflicts that relate to shorter wintering periods, while carrying out an extensive information campaign.

Project summary

Creating a viable Iberian lynx population (LIFE LYNXCONNECT)

The Iberian lynx (Lynx pardinus) is listed as 'Endangered' in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Its genetic diversity is among the lowest reported for any species, and current rates of natural migration are not enough to guarantee the viability of the global population. LIFE LYNXCONNECT aims to increase both the overall population size and interactions between Iberian lynx population nuclei, to assure a viable overall population and to down-list the species to IUCN 'Vulnerable'. The project team will consolidate four existing population nuclei and create two new ones by introducing captive-bred individuals. They will also create 'stepping stones' of favourable habitats between the population locations to encourage gene flow between them. Actions will also reduce non-natural mortality by making road crossings safer, repair farm structures such as henhouses to reduce mortality due to human-lynx conflicts, and draw up agreements between landowners, hunters and farmers to decrease such conflicts.

Project summary

Boosting populations of the endangered marbled teal in Spain (LIFE CERCETA PARDILLA)

Across Spain, populations of marbled teal (Marmaronetta angustirostris) have declined dramatically over the past two decades, making the threat of extinction very real in many regions of the country. The LIFE project aims to triple the national number of breeding pairs by carrying out a range of conservation activities, such as captive breeding and release, and the purchase of land to ensure habitats are favourably managed. To optimise the success of the project, all stakeholders will be engaged in the activities and satellite monitoring will be carried out. A key outcome will be the update of the national conservation strategy for the species.

Project summary

- Environment and Resource Efficiency

Improved drinking water treatment using a new natural material (LIFE SAFE_T_WATER)

Water purification in drinking water treatment plants (DWTPs) involves the use of coagulants that have been linked to health and environmental problems. The process also generates a toxic sludge containing aluminium and acrylamide, which cannot be used in agriculture. The LIFE SAFE_T_WATER beneficiaries, coordinated by Serviecología y Tratamientos de Aguas, a Spanish water treatment company, will demonstrate an innovative and environmentally friendly technology for drinking water production in two DWTPs in Spain. This is based on the use of a new multifunctional natural polymer that eliminates all the corrosive and dangerous chemical products in the DWTP process. The new technology will, for example, eliminate the corrosive inorganic salts used for coagulation, the carcinogenic polyacrylamide-based polymers used for flocculation, and the toxic inorganic neutralising agents used to adjust drinking water pH. The resulting sludge can be used as a fertiliser on farms.

Project summary

Feeding mixed wastes into water treatment plants to generate biogas on demand (LIFE ECOdigestion 2.0)

Biodegradable wastes with a high water content from the agriculture and food sectors have good potential for being treated in wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) to obtain by-products and biogas. The LIFE ECODIGESTION 2.0 project team will demonstrate an innovative technology at real-scale for the automated control of waste dosage in anaerobic digesters of WWTPs. This will be used to produce on-demand biogas from a mixture of sewage sludge/manure and agri-food waste. The project partners, coordinated by the Spanish company Global Omnium Medioambiente, will then demonstrate how to optimise biogas production and the waste treatment capacity of the process, at the Quart-Benàger WWTP (Spain). The co-digestion process is expected to generate 14% more biogas compared to digestion of each substrate separately.

Project summary

A new circular economy business model for the footwear sector (LIFE KANNAGreen)

Shoe manufacturing has a high environmental footprint, related in particular to petroleum-based materials used to make the soles. The LIFE KANNAGreen project team will demonstrate the viability of a circular business model proposed by the Spanish footwear manufacturer CAPICCIO, the project's coordinator. This model is based on a take-back and recycling scheme for shoes. KANNAGreen footwear, validated at lab scale, will be produced commercially from collected and processed end-of-life KANNA shoe materials. A process of formulation, thermoforming and injection techniques will enable the integration of different recycled materials into new footwear soles, thus closing the loop for the footwear industry for the first time. The environmental footprint of each pair of KANNAGreen shoes is expected to be reduced by about 38% compared to comparable shoes made without recycled materials.

Project summary

Converting eggshells into raw material for ceramic tile production (LIFE EggshellenCE)

Egg processing generates large amounts of eggshell waste, which is disposed of in landfill. However, eggshells are a potential biological source of calcium carbonate (bio-CaCO3). The LIFE EggshellenCE project team will demonstrate the feasibility of using eggshell as a secondary raw material in the production of ceramic wall tiles. This will lead to benefits for both the egg transformation industry, as it reduces waste needing disposal, and the ceramics industry, as a low-cost local recycled material replaces a raw material. At least 90% of egg-related waste generated in the Spanish town of Agotzaina will be used for ceramics, in line with EU circular economy goals. Wall tiles will be produced with between 5% and 12% of calcium carbonate from eggshell, to replace the use of mineral calcium carbonate.

Project summary

Innovative treatment for wastewater in coastal areas (LIFE-3E)

EU wastewater treatment plants (WWTP) have much potential for increasing the amount of water recovered for urban, irrigation or industrial reuse. To this end, the LIFE-3E project partners will demonstrate the technical, economic and environmental feasibility of an innovative and efficient process for the reclamation of treated wastewater in coastal areas. This process combines wastewater with seawater to generate saline gradient energy (SGE). Project coordinator, the public utilities company Medio Ambiente, Agua, Residuos y Energía of Cantabria (Spain), will use its facilities to prove that a technology called reverse electrodialysis and emerging technology in the desalination industry, can generate the electricity needed to drive the water treatment process.

Project summary

Turning coffee by-products into a new ingredient to feed livestock (LIFE ECOFFEED)

European coffee consumption generates vast quantities of Spent Coffee Grounds (SCG) and coffee capsules. Meanwhile, livestock production in Europe is expected to increase by 70% by 2050. LIFE ECOFFEED aims to develop and demonstrate at real-scale an innovative and sustainable solution for the recovery of coffee by-products, for use as a new feed ingredient for dairy livestock. This will cut the amount of imported animal feed, reduce environmental impacts and CO2 emissions, and establish a circular economy approach to the benefit of the coffee and livestock sectors. The project team, led by Fundación AZTI, will demonstrate two innovative systems for collecting coffee by-products more efficiently. During the project, this is expected to lead to the production of over 1.1 tonnes of animal feed pellets from SCGs. The work will also result in the recovery of plastics and aluminium from capsules for recycling.

Project summary

Energy storage and biomethane drive sustainable urban transport (LIFE NIMBUS)

Renewable energy from wind and solar technologies can be produced in abundance, but its application is limited by the storage capacity of the electricity grid. The power-to-gas concept offers a solution for storing excess renewable energy when generation exceeds demand. The LIFE NIMBUS project team, coordinated by the Spanish water technology centre Cetaqua, will demonstrate the technical and economic feasibility of a power-to-gas solution based on biological processes. The aim is to produce biomethane, as a way of storing renewable energy that otherwise would be lost, which will, in turn, be used as a biofuel for a public bus service. The project team will design, build and operate a facility to demonstrate the technology, which has significant potential to increase the use of renewable energy and reduce the CO2 emissions of the transport sector.

Project summary

Sustainable wastewater treatment based on constructed wetlands (LIFE RENATURWAT)

Treated sewage is an alternative water resource, but the presence of permitted phosphorus levels makes it unsuitable for feeding into wetlands or other water bodies. In vulnerable water bodies, the high nutrient inflows from treated sewage can cause eutrophication, leading to low oxygen conditions and toxic algal blooms. The LIFE RENATURWAT project team will demonstrate a methodology for enabling reclaimed water from wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) effluents to be used to restore or construct wetlands. This centres on the reuse of drinking water treatment sludge as a raw material in the construction/restoration of wetlands, where it removes phosphorous in subsurface flows. The project team, led by the Polytechnic University of Valencia, will demonstrate how this nature-based solution improves the quality of WWTP effluents, and reduces the concentrations of nutrients, emerging pollutants and pathogens. This will increase wetland biodiversity and biodiversity-related ecosystem services such as pollination.

Project summary

A new method for treating saline wastewater for irrigation and salt products (LIFE CONQUER)

In water-scarce areas across the EU, water reuse is a sustainable alternative to freshwater. However, wastewater salinity remains a challenge for wastewater treatment plants. The LIFE CONQUER project team, coordinated by the Spanish water technology centre Cetaqua, will demonstrate an innovative water reclamation process based on smart nano-filtration to separate salts and nutrients. The project team will demonstrate the technology using saline wastewater in the Spanish city of Murcia, where reclaimed water will be used to irrigate parks instead of freshwater. This is expected to reduce Murcia's total water footprint by 27%. The sodium hypochlorite from brine will be used for water purification in the facilities of project partner EMUASA (Murcia's municipal water and sewer company). Energy will be saved due to less freshwater extraction, and eutrophication will be reduced by avoiding wastewater discharge into natural water bodies.

Project summary

Novel treatments for the cost-effective reuse of wastewater for irrigation (LIFE PHOENIX)

Agriculture accounts for about 40% of annual EU water use, rising to 80% in some water-scarce Mediterranean areas during summer. The LIFE PHOENIX project team, coordinated by FCC Aqualia, a large private water company, will demonstrate a new multi-barrier water treatment that is adaptable to different water characteristics in wastewater treatment plants in highly water-stressed areas of Spain and Portugal. The innovative technology will increase the removal of organic matter, solids and pathogens from wastewater using a combination of high-efficiency settling, filtration, flotation and biological technologies. These will be coupled with advanced oxidation processes and disinfection steps able to go further in reducing the microbiological presence in the water. This will minimise the environmental and health effects of reusing water for agriculture, by reducing eco-toxicity, compounds of emerging concern, antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and microplastics.

Project summary

Conversion of wastewater effluents into biogas, nutrients and useable water (LIFE INFUSION)

Wastewater effluents, such as landfill leachate and liquid from the organic fraction of municipal solid waste, are a potential source of raw materials. The LIFE INFUSION project team will demonstrate the feasibility of a circular economy approach for treating these liquid wastes to recover resources. The process will produce biomethane for energy, bio-fertilisers, and water suitable for irrigation to alleviate water scarcity problems. The project partners, coordinated by Fundació EURECAT, will use the technology at waste treatment facilities in Barcelona and Gijón in Spain to demonstrate its economic and environmental benefits, and to boost its replication in other regions.

Project summary

Replacing plastic in agriculture with an innovative biodegradable paper (LIFE AGROPAPER)

Plastics have enabled European farmers to increase crop production. Their use for mulching protects young plants, helps increase yield and quality, controls weeds and soil erosion, and leads to a more efficient use of water and pesticides. However, this generates huge volumes of plastic waste that is very difficult to recycle. LIFE AGROPAPER will demonstrate a novel soil management practice for agricultural mulching using a new water-resistant, sustainable and 100% compostable eco-labelled agricultural paper (AGROPAPER). Coordinating beneficiary Smurfit Kappa Navarra S.A. manufactures machine-glazed kraft paper and is part of the SMURFIT KAPPA Group, one of the world's leading paper packaging companies. has already developed this paper, which has shown good results at R&D level. The project partners will demonstrate the mulching paper in five crops, under different climatic conditions and types of cultivation. The purpose is to encourage the substitution of plastic for mulching with the innovative and more environmentally friendly agricultural paper.

Project summary

Re-using brine water produced in desalination processes (LIFE-DESIROWS)

Desalination is a common technology for tackling water scarcity, a rising problem due to climate change. However, the process creates residual brine, which contains high levels of salt and pollutants that pose an environmental challenge to its disposal. The LIFE project aims to show that this by-product can be reclaimed as high-quality irrigation water or treated to produce fertilisers or salt for de-icing roads or used in food preservatives, thus avoiding its discharge into the Mediterranean Sea. The project methodology will also result in energy and emission savings.

Project summary

A biorefinery approach for improving Mediterranean forest management (LIFE BIOREFFORMED)

There is a lack of management in Mediterranean forests due to difficult terrain, low economic profitability and rural depopulation. Accumulating understory biomass and climate change are also increasing the incidence of forest fires. The LIFE BIOREFFORMED project team will improve Mediterranean forest management by promoting a local biorefinery concept. The biorefinery will be capable of processing forest biomass to produce multiple value-added products, thereby making forest management more cost-effective. Project coordinator, the Forest Sciences Centre of Catalonia, will demonstrate this approach by upgrading an existing biorefinery to produce chemicals and fuels. The project team will select forest stands that are representative of the problems seen in Mediterranean forests. Examples include Aleppo pine and cork oak forests recovering from wildfires.

Project summary

Combined and improved treatment of wastewater and kitchen waste (LIFE ZERO WASTE WATER)

Most of the EU's wastewater treatment plants (WWTP) serve populations of less than 50 000 inhabitants, and apply secondary treatments using relatively low-efficiency technologies. The LIFE ZERO WASTE WATER project team, coordinated by the water services company FCC Aqualia, will demonstrate an innovative, cost-effective and sustainable WWTP solution for such locations. The new technology will integrate the management of two different waste streams: urban wastewater and the organic fraction of municipal solid waste. The project team will devise a strategy for improving the collection of kitchen food waste at municipal level. They will also develop an anaerobic membrane bioreactor for jointly treating urban wastewater and this organic kitchen food waste, by integrating anaerobic treatment and membrane ultrafiltration in a single step.

Project summary

Optimising water and nutrient use in strawberry fields near Doñana National Park (LIFE 4DOÑANA)

Water extraction for intensive strawberry production in Huelva has put pressure on an aquifer that also feeds several wetlands in Doñana National Park in southern Spain. This has resulted in declining groundwater levels and the drying up of ponds, with impacts on birds in the National Park. The wetlands are also experiencing rapid eutrophication, caused by high inflows of nutrients from agricultural activity leading to excessive plant and algal growth to the detriment of the ecosystem. The LIFE 4DOÑANA project partners, coordinated by a private commercial engineering and consultancy SME, Gabinete de Iniciativas Europeas, will demonstrate and encourage the uptake of a new on-demand decision support system for intensive strawberry cultivation. This will enable increased irrigation efficiency, reduced water extractions, reduced chemical fertiliser use, and less nutrient pollution. The team will also establish farm-based and virtual advisory and training systems to foster the adoption of the system.

Project summary

- Climate Change Adaptation

Integrated Early Warning System to prevent flooding (LIFE BAETULO)

The implementation of an early warning system is considered one of the most cost-effective techniques for adaptation to moderate and heavy rainfall. LIFE BAETULO's partners, led by AQUATEC, part of the Suez group, will implement and assess the effectiveness of an integrated early warning system in Badalona, Spain, to protect urban areas from flooding. The system will detect and forecast climate change-derived hazards in complex situations, such as urban flooding from multiple sources including sewer overflows, through state-of-the-art modelling tools. If necessary, the IEWS will automatically launch appropriate response actions. The project team will also assess the social, economic and environmental benefits of the demonstrated solution, and develop a business plan for its replication in other cities.

Project summary

Adapting forest management for resilience to climate change (LIFE SORIA FORESTADAPT)

Predictions suggest that forests will be increasingly impacted by climate change, through drought, forest fires, incidences of pests and disease, and more frequent extreme weather events. The LIFE SORIA FORESTADAPT project team, coordinated by Fundación Global Nature, will increase the resilience of southern European forests to climate change, by introducing adaptation measures on around 200 000 hectares of public and private forests. These innovative forestry practices will focus on soil conservation and carbon sequestration, biodiversity protection and air quality, and include methods to reduce the spread of forest fires. The project team will develop guidelines for including climate change adaptation in forestry management plans. They will also demonstrate the proposed management approach and specific climate adaptation measures in the Spanish province of Soria. The longer-term aim is to replicate the model in the rest of Spain and then throughout southern Europe.

Project summary

Protecting heritage using green infrastructure (LIFE VIA DE LA PLATA)

Climate change is a serious threat to heritage cities in Europe. The aim of the LIFE VIA DE LA PLATA project is to create an adaptation model for climate change in Salamanca, a world heritage city in Spain. The City Council's Board of Housing and Urban Planning will develop a Green Urban Infrastructure Plan of Salamanca and build a range of green infrastructure tailored to counter the predicted increase in storm severity and temperatures. This green infrastructure will include the creation of new natural water retention areas. Specific actions include the planting of trees and shrubs to provide shade, enhanced rainwater retention measures to protect the densely populated old city from flooding, and the re-naturalisation of water meadows. The project team aims to transfer its methodology to 15 other heritage cities in Spain and 40 elsewhere in Europe.

Project summary

Financing urban climate adaptation through public-private partnerships (LIFE CITYAdaP3)

By 2019, over 870 cities had submitted action plans under the Mayors Adapt initiative, including climate change adaptation targets. The Federation of Municipalities in the region of Murcia in Spain, coordinating the LIFE CITYAdaP3 project, identified the lack of financial resources as the main barrier to the effective implementation of these action plans. They will mobilise financial resources for urban climate adaptation by developing public-private schemes involving companies and local authorities and integrate climate adaptation into Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) topics. This will enhance the Mayors Adapt initiative by implementing its Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plans.

Project summary

- Climate Change Mitigation

New technology for making biodiesel from animal waste (LIFE Superbiodiesel)

EU policy targets an ambitious 32% increase in the use of renewable energy sources by 2030. The LIFE Superbiodiesel project team, coordinated by the AIJU technological institute in Spain, aims to demonstrate the production of biofuels from animal fat waste using a new catalytic technology. They will quantify the technical, environmental and economic advantages of the new technology. The new process will avoid the production of unwanted by-products that are costly to remove from biofuel. Modifications to the process will enable the production of a range of biofuels, including an advanced 'super biodiesel'. The new technology is expected to reduce CO2 emissions by 35% compared with the conventional biodiesel production method.

Project summary

Innovative fog collection method to guide reforestation for climate change mitigation (LIFE NIEBLAS)

Forests on islands and in the outermost regions of southern Europe have been impacted by climate change due to lower rainfall, desertification and forest fires, while erosion leads to increased runoff during storms. The LIFE NIEBLAS team, coordinated by Gesplan, a Spanish environmental organisation, will demonstrate innovative fog water collection methods to monitor forests. Degraded forests have different fog characteristics. The project team will develop, and test protocols and indicators based on fog water that can be used to cost-effectively monitor forest restorations and optimise further reforestation efforts. The project partners will implement restoration measures to reduce erosion in Natura 2000 sites in Gran Canaria (Spain) and Portugal. The actions will contribute to the environmental recovery of degraded areas in order to maintain ecosystem services like flood prevention and soil protection provided by forests and to build resilience to climate change. They will also help protect unique habitats and endemic plant species.

Project summary

Turning livestock waste into biofuel and biofertilisers (LIFE SMART AgroMobility)

Unmanaged livestock waste is an important source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, specifically methane (CH4), carbon dioxide (CO2) and nitrous oxide (N2O). The LIFE SMART AgroMobility project team, coordinated by the Technical University of Madrid, will demonstrate a new management system for pig manure. This involves an innovative low-cost biodigester that utilises micro-algae to produce a high-value biofertiliser and a biogas that can be transformed into a biomethane fuel for agricultural vehicles. The project partners will demonstrate a real-scale prototype of the new technology, which will enable a 42% reduction in GHG emissions.

Project summary

Restoring Mediterranean wetlands to help mitigate climate change (LIFE WETLANDS4CLIMATE)

Under favourable conditions, wetlands conservation contributes to both the protection of biodiversity and the mitigation of climate change. The LIFE WETLANDS4CLIMATE team, led by the Fundación Global Nature, will establish management guidelines for Mediterranean wetlands to improve their function as carbon sinks, i.e. their ability to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it. They will demonstrate that these guidelines can also maintain other ecosystem functions of wetlands, such as biodiversity conservation and water retention. The project team aims to maximise the carbon sink function of wetlands by defining a management protocol and guidelines, along with 30 measures related to vegetation, soil and water. They will also develop monitoring indicators for the ecological status of wetlands, train wetland managers, and apply the methodology to other Mediterranean wetlands.

Project summary

Highly energy-efficient mobile buildings for off-grid locations (LIFE ZEROENERGYMOD)

Modular buildings set up in remote locations can have energy supply problems. The LIFE ZEROENERGYMOD project team, coordinated by the Foundation for the Development of New Hydrogen Technologies, will develop and demonstrate a robust, transportable, easy-to-install, easy-to-transport habitable module. This will be designed to be a nearly zero energy building, due to the use of a new generation of insulating materials, linked to a mobile renewable energy module deploying solar photovoltaic and wind energy with a hybrid battery system. The building can also utilise a complete off-grid hydrogen energy storage system in extreme climates. Project partners will demonstrate the housing and energy modules on three army bases, in Spain, Latvia, and on Deception Island in the Antarctic Peninsula under the coldest climatic conditions on Earth.

Project summary

France

- Nature and Biodiversity

Restoring declining heath and peatland areas in Brittany (Life Armorican heaths)

Heathlands and peat bogs in Brittany have been declining at an alarming rate, an issue that this LIFE project aims to address. It proposes to remove conifer plantations and develop appropriate farming practices for the long-term conservation of these protected habitats. Other key measures include mitigating the impact of visitors to the areas by restricting pathways and filling in drainage ditches to raise the water level. Land purchases are envisaged to facilitate project actions.

Project summary

Restoring fish habitats in the Dordogne River (LIFE DORDOGNE)

Habitats along the Dordogne River in France are impacted by dams, hydroelectric infrastructure and gravel extraction. This leads to habitat fragmentation and deterioration, and the loss of spawning grounds for migratory fish, including Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar), sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus) and Allis shad (Alosa alosa). The LIFE DORDOGNE team will restore several habitat types listed in the EU Habitats Directive on 280 km of river in three Natura 2000 sites in the Dordogne. EPIDOR, responsible for management of the Dordogne Basin, and other project partners will increase the surface area of five natural alluvial habitats, and reconstruct spawning habitats for salmon, lamprey and shad. The project team will also strengthen policies and management systems for natural environments in the Dordogne and enhance the role of stakeholders in habitat and species conservation.

Project summary

Restoring damaged ecosystems and ecological corridors (LIFE COTEAUX GASCONS)

The Gascon hills area between the Massif Central and the Pyrenees mountain ranges is an important ecological corridor for species and habitats linked to open agro-pastoral ecosystems. With the development of intensive and specialised crop production, traditional agricultural and pastoral practices have declined, and valuable ecosystems have been lost in the Gascon hills. This has fragmented habitats and led to a loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services such as water quality. There are reservoirs of biodiversity in the Gascon hills covering almost 6 000 ha - an area the size of San Marino. With this project, the association ADASEA will seek to reconnect these biodiversity reservoirs, restoring 1 000 ha between them, an area one and a half times larger than Gibraltar. Some biodiversity reservoirs will also be improved thanks to appropriate management and/or restoration. Grasslands, dry heaths and lowland meadows are all expected to benefit, as well as several species of butterfly, reptiles and bats.

Project summary

- Environment and Resource Efficiency

Cleaner air through urban forests in French and Italian cities (LIFE AIRFRESH)

Air pollution is a major public health issue, causing an estimated half a million premature deaths in the EU every year. Cities, in particular, have to cope with increasingly poor air quality. In Florence (Italy) and Aix-en-Provence (France), EU limits for particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide and ozone are regularly exceeded, with significant effects on human health locally. The UK company behind this project, ARGANS, will use a combination of observations and computer-based tools to estimate the air pollution removed by urban forests and shrubs in reforested test areas in these two cities. The results will feed into recommendations on reforestation policies, such as the number and type of trees to be planted, in order to reach the required air quality standards.

Project summary

- Environmental governance and Information

Reducing water consumption from tourism in the Mediterranean (LIFE WAT'SAVEREUSE)

Irregular rainfall and increasing pollution are affecting water resources on the Mediterranean Coast, aggravated by and affecting the tourism sector. In France and Spain, the regions of Occitania, Catalonia and the Balearic Islands receive more than 68 million tourists every year. With this project, GECT Pyrénées-Méditerranée (an institutional structure for cross-border cooperation) will promote water savings and reuse, particularly in the tourism industry. The goal is to reduce overall consumption of freshwater by 30%, while lowering tourists' water consumption by at least 10%. The tourism industry will also be encouraged to implement water reuse solutions.

Project summary

- Climate Change Mitigation

Affordable smart solutions for low-carbon buildings (LIFE-SBE4LCHCB)

The building sector is responsible for more than 40% of final energy consumption and over 36% of greenhouse gas emissions in the EU. Lowering the carbon footprint of new buildings is the key challenge, though current solutions are expensive. The LIFE-SBE4LCHCB project team, coordinated by ECOxIA®, a French engineering company, specialised in timber frame construction and energy performance, will develop a universal and affordable low-carbon solution that can potentially be implemented on every new building in the EU. To achieve this, they will develop a method for fitting Smart Building Envelope (SBE) technology into new buildings of diverse design. The SBE will incorporate highly effective insulation and all the smart components needed to optimise energy consumption, reducing it by an expected 40% compared to current buildings. Demonstration 'Nearly zero-energy buildings' in France are expected to deliver considerable savings in GHG emissions and costs.

Project summary

Climate-friendly sheep farming (LIFE GREEN SHEEP)

The farming of small ruminants, especially for sheep meat and milk, accounts for over 7% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. LIFE GREEN SHEEP's project team, coordinated by the French Livestock Institute (IDELE), aims to reduce GHG emissions (methane, nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide), while ensuring the sustainability of sheep farming. They will conduct a large-scale diagnosis of GHG emissions on sheep farms and develop national action plans for different farming systems. Farms will be used to demonstrate climate-friendly sheep farming practices, for meat and milk production, in five EU countries with different characteristics: France, Ireland, Italy, Romania and Spain.

Project summary

- Climate Governance and Information

Supporting local decision-making for climate-adapted water management (LIFE Eau&Climat)

Water agencies have drawn up adaptation plans to climate change at the river basin scale to address the risks of flooding and water scarcity, but these must now be implemented at local level. The LIFE Eau&Climat project is coordinated by L'Office International de l'Eau, an NGO that supports water management at the local scale. The project team will help local water commissions to evaluate and address climate change impacts in local plans, and to implement effective climate adaptation measures, such as flood early warnings. The team will produce an educational module, and organise workshops, webinars and other training activities, to raise awareness of local actors involved in water management to climate change issues. They will also improve access to data on climate change and its impacts on water by developing 'hydro-climatic' services.

Project summary

Croatia

- Nature and Biodiversity

Controlling the invasive non-native tree species Ailanthus in Croatia (LIFE CONTRA Ailanthus)

In Croatia, the invasive alien tree species Ailanthus altissima (Ailanthus or tree of heaven) is a severe threat to both biodiversity and cultural heritage. It negatively impacts native plant species and habitat types, including 'Tufa cascades' unique to Croatia. The LIFE CONTRA Ailanthus project team will develop a large-scale control programme for Ailanthus in Croatia. Led by the Ministry of Environment and Energy, the team will initiate regular monitoring, actions to eradicate Ailanthus in targeted Natura 2000 sites, measures to prevent further introductions and spread, and establish national legislation to support these aims. Other actions include eradicating Ailanthus in the Krka National Park in tufa cascade areas, clearing it from alongside 30 km of roads that serve as corridors of spread, preventing the sale of the plant in horticulture, and removing large Ailanthus trees from historic cities where their roots can undermine buildings.

Project summary

Italy

- Nature and Biodiversity

Restoring the griffon vulture population across Sardinia (LIFE SAFE FOR VULTURES)

The Griffon vulture (Gyps fulvus) is an endangered scavenger with a breeding range extending over Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. In Italy, the last natural population is on the island of Sardinia. A previous LIFE project focused on Natura 2000 sites in the north-west of the island. The LIFE SAFE FOR VULTURES project team, coordinated by the University of Sassari, will implement measures aimed at conserving the vulture across the whole of Sardinia. Actions will increase food (animal carcass) availability, reduce the risk of poisoning, restock areas where the vulture has disappeared, and reduce disturbance at breeding sites.

Project summary

Making space for pollinators to stop their decline (LIFE PollinAction)

Many pollinators such as bees and butterflies are at risk of extinction. With almost four out of five crops and wild plants dependent on animal pollination, the decline of pollinators threatens food security for humans and wildlife as well as global economic stability. The idea is to turn arable crops and rural or urban marginal areas into key habitats for pollinators. To achieve this, separate patches of habitat in rural and urban areas as well as alongside roads and riverbanks will be connected. In total, an area of arable land about the size of 37 football fields will be converted into grasslands. And an area of species-poor grasslands equivalent to almost 430 football fields will be improved. Efforts will be replicated in a marginalised and abandoned area in the Aragon region of Spain, to test the effectiveness of green infrastructure in different environments.

Project summary

Saving the endangered Italian spadefoot toad (LIFE-INSUBRICUS)

The Italian spadefoot is a subspecies of the common spadefoot toad which is endangered in Italy. The regional park leading this project aims to improve the subspecies' conservation status in 14 Natura 2000 sites. To that end, the team will increase existing populations, capture, transport and release individuals from some locations to others, and recover three locally extinct populations. Partners will also reduce inbreeding and decrease predatory pressure through controlling and removing invasive species at two sites. The restoration of 59 wetlands and the creation of 16 new ones will help connect different groups of Italian spadefoots. A taskforce of 100 volunteers will assist in carrying out these measures.

Project summary

- Environment and Resource Efficiency

Eco-friendly bio-based products from municipal biowaste (LIFE EBP)

The LIFE EBP project team will convert municipal biowaste into diverse bio-based products with unique chemical compositions, using a technology developed by the University of Torino in Italy. The team will demonstrate the application of these bio-based products, for example, as biofertilisers and agrochemicals, as surfactants in detergents, and as biopolymers for the manufacture of materials. Hysytech, an engineering company, and the other project partners will use the technology in waste management and other sectors where new bio-based products can replace fossil fuel-based products. This will reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill or incineration and decrease greenhouse gas emissions and pollutants. The project team will demonstrate the benefits of their bio-based products for municipal biowaste management, agriculture and the chemical industry in five EU countries: Italy, France, Spain, Greece, and Cyprus.

Project summary

Tackling riverbank erosion to protect land (LIFE Sandboil)

River embankments are prone to internal erosion, a problem exacerbated by the increased frequency of floods due to climate change. Flooding triggers sand boils, which occur on 130 sites along the River Po. The LIFE project plans to create a prototype method of preventing erosion and the costly need to restore collapsed riverbanks. This prototype can be scaled up for application along the river and be replicated in other European river basins affected by sand boils, including a demonstration site on the Danube in Hungary. This replication will enable safer land-use with a strong socio-economic impact due to the consequent economies in terms of emergency management and restoration of potential damages. Guidelines will encourage its uptake across Europe.

Project summary

An innovative process for making bio-based waterborne paints (LIFE WATERBORNE BIOPAINT)

Around 40% of global paint production uses solvents that emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that reduce air quality and contribute to greenhouse gas emissions. The team behind LIFE WATERBORNE BIOPAINT aims at demonstrating an innovative, highly sustainable, and efficient process to produce novel waterborne resins. Coordinated by IVM Chemicals, a leading company in wood coatings, the project will use these resins to produce a new range of bio-based paints. These will replace conventional paints currently used in wood coatings, for example, for furniture and flooring. The new paint products will be nearly VOC-free and non-hazardous, thus with lower environmental impacts in terms of VOC emissions, dangerous chemicals use, and CO2 footprint.

Project summary

The EU's first industrial vertical farm (PLANET FARMS LIFE)

Agriculture requires large amounts of water, which is often used inefficiently, and it uses a lot of chemical products that can be harmful to human health. PLANET FARMS LIFE will demonstrate large reductions in natural resources and chemicals usage by developing an industrial indoor vertical farm system, which involves growing crops in vertically stacked layers. The project team will demonstrate innovative air treatment, hydroponic irrigation and automated crop production systems in the first industrial vertical farm in the EU. This will be used to grow vegetables and aromatic herbs on an area of 10 000 m2, the size of nearly two football pitches, on the premises of Italian company and project leader, Planet Farms Italia Società agricola Srl. The new farming system is expected to save about 13 million litres of water and 72 litres of pesticides, cut fertiliser use by half, and use less than 1% of the land required by conventional cultivation systems.

Project summary

Treating wastewater sewage sludge to create new materials for industry (LIFE FREEDOM)

Sewage sludge production is expected to exceed 13 million tonnes by the end of 2020 in Europe. At present, about half of this sludge is recovered for use in agriculture and the rest is disposed of in landfills or incinerators. The objective of LIFE FREEDOM is to recover more of the solid waste from sewage sludge to make raw materials for industrial use. The project team will demonstrate the technical and economic viability of hydrothermal liquefaction technology, at an urban wastewater treatment facility in Cassano d'Adda, Milan (Italy). To divert more solid wastes from disposal, this new technology will enable sludge waste to be converted into a range of useful secondary raw materials, including feedstock for biofuels, material for use in asphalts for road surfaces, and fertilisers for agricultural use.

Project summary

Reducing air pollution in factories with a novel electronic detector system (LIFE GREEN FACTORY)

Iron and steel production generates significant emissions of Particulate Matter (PM) containing minerals, metals and other pollutants that are a health risk to workers and people living near the factories. The LIFE GREEN FACTORY project team will test an innovative technology to reduce PM concentration in metal-producing factories through a cost-effective and energy-saving electronic detection system. The team will be led by Losma, an Italian company based near Bergamo that develops air and coolant filtration systems. The new automated system comprises an array of Wi-Fi sensors for PM that communicate with a gateway that continuously optimises ventilation conditions. The system filters all the indoor air and recirculates only clean air in the working areas. The project team will demonstrate how this integrated approach can dramatically improve the health conditions of workers and the environment in and around the factory.

Project summary

Retrofitting heavy-duty vehicles with innovative liquid natural gas technology (LIFE DUALNG)

In Europe, around 70% of freight is transported by road and this process mostly relies on oil for its energy needs, at a great economic and environmental cost. Coordinated by the Italian automotive company BM Carrozzerie, the LIFE DUALNG project team will demonstrate an innovative, clean, integrated and economic Diesel Dual Fuel technology. This will be marketed as a kit that exploits a mixture of diesel fuel with either Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) or biomethane. The kit will be suitable for retrofitting diesel-powered Heavy-Duty Vehicles, including buses, trucks and vans, and potentially ship engines. For road freight, the technology is expected to significantly reduce emissions of fine dust and other air pollutants, while cutting CO2 emissions.

Project summary

A new solution for the reuse of end-of-life tyres (LIFE GREEN VULCAN)

Reclaimed rubber from End-of-Life Tyres (ELTs) and other rubber waste is used at very low concentrations in tyre manufacturing (3-5%) due to technical constraints. The GREEN VULCAN project team aims at increasing the reuse rate of rubber waste by developing an innovative and environmentally friendly devulcanisation technology. Devulcanisation is the reversal of the vulcanisation step used to harden rubber. Once the vulcanisation process is reversed, the rubber can be reused to make new compounds. Innovando, an Italian company providing end-to-end industrial waste management services to SMEs and large enterprises, and other partners will demonstrate the use of rubber recovered from ELTs to make two compounds: one for manufacturing spring pads for cars and light trucks, and the other for manufacturing Passenger Car Radial tyre treads (with 20% and 10% savings in raw materials, respectively). The new technology will enable higher recycling rates for rubber from ELTs, while reducing CO2 emissions linked to the production process.

Project summary

Absorbent Hygiene Products manufacture with less costs and environmental impacts (LIFE ALL-IN)

Absorbent hygiene products (AHPs), such as baby diapers and adult incontinence products, provide major improvements in quality of life, but their manufacture is associated with high levels of CO2 emissions. LIFE ALL-IN will show industry and policymaker an improved manufacturing process capable of massively reducing the environmental impacts of AHP production. In particular, the project team will demonstrate a new production line at industrial scale at the facilities of a technology platform design centre called Fameccanica Data in Italy. The process will combine four existing sub-processes into a single step. This will result in competitive AHP materials, with the potential to achieve up to 23% of raw material savings, 10% of CO2 emissions reduction, and a cost reduction of 10% each year.

Project summary

Pioneering tyre re-use as a secondary source of rubber (LIFE InReGEO)

Large off-the-road tyres are currently not recycled at the end of their life. This project plans to construct a chemical-free pilot plant that will use high-pressure water jet technology to produce a secondary resource from this valuable waste stream. This will thus prevent dumping and stockpiling. Moreover, re-use will help meet the growing demand for natural rubber and avoid some of the biodiversity loss and deforestation associated with its production. The recycling process will also recover the harmonic steel contained in the tyres, thereby contributing to the circular economy.

Project summary

Precision Agriculture for greener grape production (LIFE WINEgROVER)

Most EU vineyards operate using traditional agronomy management. New precision agriculture technologies have great potential for increasing efficiency and productivity. The aim of LIFE WINEgROVER is to introduce PA technologies that use less water through drip irrigation, and to bring down costs. The project partners, coordinated by Tuscia University, will demonstrate an integrated PA system in two vineyards in Italy and Spain. The precision agriculture technologies use include electric rovers to replace diesel tractors (reducing pollutant and greenhouse gas emissions), satellite and airborne remote sensing, geographic information systems, and soil and topographic surveys. Wireless sensor networks will be deployed to record micro-climate information (temperature and humidity). Backed by a Decision Support System, this will enable grape producers to apply inputs only when and where they are needed.

Project summary

Reducing the use of biocides in urban pest control (LIFE BIOREPEM)

Urban pest control is reliant on biocides, which various European regulations classify as hazardous substances. They can poison wild animals and pets, be toxic to humans, contaminate soils and rivers, and generate resistance in target organisms. LIFE BIOREPEM will test, implement and validate an innovative and ecological management model for pest control in two Italian municipalities, Fiumicino (Lazio) and Francavilla a Mare (Abruzzo). Coordinated by the Comune di Fiumicino, the project team aims to reduce the amounts of biocides used and to increase the effectiveness of pest control. They will roll out a new generation of mosquito and rodent traps as alternatives to biocidal products. New municipal pest monitoring and planning procedures for pest control will be introduced, and the team will also develop new Green Public Procurement criteria and raise awareness to encourage the use of its innovation.

Project summary

Innovative technology for recycling granite scraps (LIFE REGS II)

Feldspar obtained from granite is in increasing demand for ceramics and other industrial applications, but granite mining activities cause serious environmental problems. The aim of LIFE REGS II is to demonstrate an innovative and economically-viable extraction technology to produce feldspar, using granite scraps rather than virgin raw material, with no loss in quality. This will reduce demand for feldspar from environmentally-damaging granite mining operations. Internazionale Graniti (the production arm of the IG Stone Group) and partners, will increase the efficiency of raw material use, and reduce the carbon footprint of feldspar production process by optimising its transport and only using renewable energy (wind power) for the process. The project team will also support the Sardinian Regional Mine Agency, by defining a recovery strategy for the Buddusò mine district.

Project summary

Innovative systems to recycle end-of-life tires (LIFE TIRE2TIRECYCLE)

Recovery rates for end-of-life tires (ELT) have increased, but several barriers hinder a more effective spread of ELT recycling, especially the difficulty and expense of separating rubber for reuse from textile cords and the generation of large amounts of scrap components. The overall objective of LIFE TIRE2TIRECYCLE is to demonstrate and bring to the market two innovative systems that address these challenges. The project team will demonstrate rubber recovery and reuse at the ELSY company's small-capacity plant near Milano, specialised in advanced energy solutions and batteries. They will then upscale the innovation at a full-scale plant in the facility of auto anti-vibration company Vibracoustic AG in Germany. Following this, the plan is to demonstrate a system to rework and reuse scraps from tire production at tyre manufacturer Goodyear, also in Germany. This new technology will reduce the consumption of raw materials, including virgin and synthetic rubber, and minerals, avoid waste, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and save energy.

Project summary

Removing arsenic from water using an innovative agricultural by-product (LIFE BIOAs)

Contamination of groundwater by arsenic exceeds EU limits within several Member States, representing a severe threat to human health. The LIFE BIOAs team, coordinated by the spin-off company Eco Recycling (created by University researchers and two SMEs involved in recycling and treating industrial wastes), will demonstrate a process to produce an innovative bio-adsorbent for the removal of arsenic from contaminated water. This low-cost technology will ensure a sustainable supply of arsenic-free drinking water. The bio-adsorbent will be produced from carbonised olive pomace, a by-product of the olive oil industry. This will valorise a currently unused agricultural waste, in line with EU circular economy policy goals. The performance of the new technology will be demonstrated in a water treatment unit processing contaminated groundwater from several municipalities in the Lazio region of Italy. In parallel, the bio-adsorbent will also be tested in areas in north and central regions of Portugal known for their high levels of arsenic, to promote the widespread replication of the technology.

Project summary

New electrode materials produced from recycled batteries (LIFE DRONE)

The production of Li-ion batteries is increasing at a dramatic rate, with market demand mainly satisfied by Asia. To address this, in the context of the Clean Energy Transition package, the European Commission has adopted measures for an overall system to promote sustainable and competitive batteries. LIFE DRONE will develop a novel recycling route for end-of-life Li-ion batteries, to recover raw materials for reuse. This new process is expected to significantly lower processing costs and reduce environmental impacts compared to other processes used to recover battery metals. The project team, coordinated by Technosind, a company specialised in chemical processes, will scale up an innovative recycling process to recover graphite and directly synthesise a high-quality cathodic material from recovered nickel, manganese and cobalt (NMC). This will result in new NMC batteries, without the need to separate the individual metals, thus reducing processing costs.

Project summary

An innovative process for obtaining industrial products from sewage sludge (LIFE AUGIA)

The main reuse route for sewage sludge is spreading it on farmland. However, rising levels of contamination, coupled with stricter legislation, have made treatment for spreading more difficult. As an alternative, the LIFE AUGIA project team will demonstrate an innovative oxy-gasification technology for converting dried sewage sludge, together with chipped biomass, into a gas mixture called syngas. The syngas can be used to produce high added-value products such as methanol and methane. Coordinated by the University of Molise, the project team aims to prove the reliability, safety, profitability and environmental benefits of the new technology at an industrial plant in Italy. Carbon-free ash will be generated as a result of the process, mainly consisting of alkaline metals, but also phosphorus and sulphur, which prevents contamination in the produced syngas. The dried sewage sludge processing avoids the need for any landfill disposal.

Project summary

- Environmental governance and Information

Better monitoring and management of forests (LIFE FOLIAGE)

More than a third of Italian territory is covered by forests, hosting an enormous variety of flora and fauna and providing ecosystem services on which rural and urban communities depend. Such services include carbon storage, purification of water and air, and recreation. This territory is managed at regional and provincial level by public administrations. The lack of a unified national system to monitor forests and their ecosystem services means that mapping and monitoring are fragmented. With this project, the public research institute CREA is looking to improve public administrations' governance in this area to comply with EU legislation. Three new platforms will provide a real-time picture of forest habitats' conservation status and their ecosystem goods and services and integrate the objectives of the EU Birds and Habitats Directives into regional forest plans.

Project summary

Preserving semi-natural habitats with hardy grazing animals (LIFE_GRACE)

Grazing of non-arable land in the Lazio region's Natura 2000 sites has fallen by half over the past 25 years, affecting semi-natural habitats such as grasslands and pseudo-steppe. The regional agency running this project, ARSIAL, will promote the conservation of these habitats through encouraging grazing by native hardy breeds of cattle, horses and goats. This will also help to conserve these animals, making their breeding favourable for farmers. In addition, the agency will raise awareness among the general public on the role of agriculture as a driver of sustainable development and on biodiversity conservation. And farmers will be encouraged to take part in citizen science activities by collecting information for the monitoring of farmland biodiversity.

Project summary

- Climate Change Adaptation

Energy-efficient roofs for sustainable low-cost climate adaptation (LIFE SUPERHERO)

Ventilated and permeable roofs (VPRs) made from clay tiles can provide a sustainable climate adaptation and mitigation technology, which considerably reduces the energy required to cool buildings. The LIFE SUPERHERO project team, coordinated by Centro Ceramico - a research and development centre in the ceramics industry -, will demonstrate the benefits of the technology by renovating two buildings in Reggio Emilia. They aim to increase the use of VPRs by producing a standardised roof air permeability test method, and updating regulations, standards and green rating systems to include VPRs. The team will also release a decision-support tool for building design and upgrade a roof tile production line in Italy to produce the new VPR tiles.

Project summary

Flood prevention in the Italian city of Benevento (LIFE BENEVENTUM)

A combination of high population density, impermeable hard surfaces and its location at the meeting point of two rivers, exposes the Italian city of Benevento to a high risk of flooding. The LIFE BENEVENTUM project team, coordinated by the University of Sannio, will make the city more resilient to the impacts of climate change. They will do this by increasing the capacity of natural and artificial stormwater retention systems, and by re-naturalising riverbanks. Nature-based solutions will be combined to reduce stormwater runoff. Examples of such solutions include multi-functional green roofs and permeable bio-asphalted streets. The actions will also provide shade to reduce health problems arising from summer heat peaks, boost biodiversity, and increase the reuse of rainwater.

Project summary

Public-private partnerships to advance climate adaptation in agriculture (LIFE ADA)

More frequent extreme weather events directly impact agricultural yields, increasing the need to implement climate change adaptation strategies at farms and along supply chains. The LIFE ADA project team, coordinated by Italian financial services company UnipolSai Assicurazioni, will set up a public-private partnership to address this. This partnership will include insurers, public administrations, scientific institutes and producer organisations. It will focus on value chains that jointly represent 40% of the total revenue of the Italian agricultural sector. Project partners will combine climatic scenarios with risk management and adaptive measures, to enhance farmers´ capacity to address current and future climate risks. They will also develop tools to support farmers' decision-making processes to shape efficient adaptation plans.

Project summary

- Climate Change Mitigation

Forest management for more resilient forests (LIFECO2PES&PEF)

Forest management is the main means to improve the ecosystem services provided by forests, such as water retention and erosion prevention, and to increase their resilience to climate change. The LIFECO2PES&PEF project partners, coordinated by the Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, will analyse the ecosystem services of three forest areas in the Alpine and Tosco-Emiliano Apennines regions of Italy. They will use this information to create a system for certification of credits linked to forest ecosystem services, the purpose of which is to obtain more funding to support those services. The project team will evaluate the entire lifecycle of the wood industry, using the Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) methodology. They will support policymakers by facilitating the process for improving forest management through the EU Rural Development Funds. In addition, the team will explore the further possibilities of Payments for Ecosystem Services (incentives offered to farmers or landowners in exchange for managing their land to provide ecological services), and promote the use of sustainably-produced wood for energy use.

Project summary

Rapid drying of ceramics to save energy and reduce CO2 emissions (LIFE RAPID DRY)

The ceramic industry consumes high levels of electricity and thermal energy, with the drying process accounting for about 23% of total thermal energy consumed. The LIFE RAPID DRY project team, coordinated by SE.TE.C., a company that develops ceramic technologies, and which has coordinated two previous LIFE projects, will optimise the ceramics drying process. They aim to demonstrate energy and CO2 emissions savings, while maintaining product quality. This will be achieved by combining two innovations: a cost-effective chamber dryer and modified ceramic materials. New ceramic slip formulations will have changed rheology (flow properties) and grain size distribution, while recycled chamotte (grog) will also be added to the mix. This reduces raw material consumption and increases the recycling of ceramic waste. Ceramic drying time is expected to be reduced from around 16-18 hours to 8-10 hours. The resulting sanitaryware and tableware will be tested in Italy and Romania.

Project summary

Sustainable glass production via a novel waste heat recovery system (LIFE SUGAR)

In glass production much of the energy consumption is concentrated in the melting phase, which consumes large amounts of energy and produces considerable amounts of waste gas at high temperature. The LIFE SUGAR partners will provide the glass production industry with a new technology that reduces waste gas heat losses, thus enabling energy savings and reductions of up to 15% in CO2 emissions. This will be achieved using an innovative heat recovery system, which generates syngas that can be used to recover residual heat from glass melting furnaces. The resulting syngas will be burned in the furnace as an additional fuel. The new technology will be coupled to the heat recovery system of the patented Centauro furnace of project partner Stara Glass SpA, specialists in the glass industry sector.

Project summary

Recovering waste heat from industry for reuse in district heating (LIFE HEATLEAP)

Industrial waste heat from energy-intensive industries has great potential for re-use in industry and heating local residential or commercial premises. The LIFE HEATLEAP team will demonstrate the technical and financial viability of an innovative heat recovery system. This comprises a large heat pump, a gas expander, and software for real-time monitoring. It will be adaptable to different industries, including steelmaking. The system is expected to considerably reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and air pollutants (nitrous and sulphur oxides, particulate matter). In addition, industry will save on operational costs. The demonstration at project coordinator Turboden's industrial facility in Italy is expected to reduce emissions by around 5 750 tonnes of CO2 eq. (equivalent to the amount of energy used in around 660 houses over one year). Turboden is an Italian company and a global leader in the design, manufacture and maintenance of Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) systems, used to capture low-grade heat and convert it into electricity.

Project summary

Latvia

- Nature and Biodiversity

Protecting threatened reef habitats in the eastern Baltic (LIFE REEF)

Reef habitats (listed in the EU Habitats Directive) in the eastern Baltic waters are particularly affected by the invasive fish species round goby (Neogobiusmelanostomus), which has led to a local depletion of blue mussels and competition with other native species that create the ecosystem. This LIFE project plans to address the problem by developing an action plan to limit their numbers. It also aims to improve the conservation of the habitat by enlarging the number of protected areas, developing evaluation criteria and monitoring methodology. The knowledge gained through the project will help develop guidance for management authorities.

Project summary

Lithuania

- Nature and Biodiversity

Achieving a favourable conservation status for the endangered lesser white-fronted goose (LIFE LWfG CLIMATE)

The LIFE project addresses the urgent conservation needs of the lesser white-fronted goose (Anser erythropus), listed in Annex I of the EU Birds Directive and whose population has declined to around just over 100 individuals. The aim is to increase its numbers by developing suitable habitat areas and improving knowledge of its migration routes to adapt the management and farming practices at stopover sites. The project will also carry out measures to increase the resilience of habitat sites to climate change.

Project summary

Hungary

- Climate Change Adaptation

Industrial zones and cities join forces for urban climate adaptation (LIFE-CLIMCOOP)

In Hungary, effective urban climate change adaption in new industrial zones is only possible if businesses cooperate effectively with municipal authorities. The LIFE-CLIMCOOP project team, coordinated by the University of Miskolc, will develop and demonstrate collaborative actions between a city government and a multinational company. These will make more efficient use of available resources and enhance joint climate change adaptation planning, to protect vulnerable local urban and industrial areas. Specific actions will include the harvesting of rainwater in tanks to counter water scarcity, the construction of green roofs and walls, and nature-based water-retention measures to reduce the risk of flash flooding. The aim is for this model to be replicated in Hungary, and then throughout central and eastern Europe.

Project summary

Malta

- Nature and Biodiversity

Saving two endangered shearwater species through actions on land and sea (LIFE PanPuffinus!)

The Balearic shearwater (Puffinus mauretanicus) and Yelkouan shearwater (Puffinus yelkouan), both listed in Annex I of the EU Birds Directive spend most of their lives at sea, coming ashore to breed. They are among the most endangered of birds and face many threats, especially due to fisheries bycatch and predation at nest sites. LIFE PanPuffinus! will improve the conservation status of these endangered shearwater species across the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic coast of Portugal through transboundary conservation efforts. BirdLIFE Malta and the other project partners will reduce bycatch incidents through the implementation of existing and new mitigation measures. On land, they will decrease predation rates by the eradication/control of invasive non-native predators and the development of biosecurity measures in Greece, Malta and Spain.

Project summary

Netherlands

- Nature and Biodiversity

Making ecosystems resilient to Invasive Alien Species (LIFE RESILIAS)

Resilient ecosystems with thriving communities of native species are less threatened by invasive alien species (IAS). The LIFE RESILIAS project partners, coordinated by Coöperatieve Bosgroep Zuid-Nederland, will demonstrate the effectiveness of IAS management based on improving ecosystem resilience, in Dutch forest, grassland and aquatic ecosystems. The aim is to reduce the negative impacts on biodiversity and ecosystems caused by several IAS, including Fallopia species (e.g. Japanese knotweed), black cherry (Prunus serotine), the aquatic plant Crassula helmsii, and the invasive freshwater fish Lepomis gibbosus. Project actions will greatly increase the number of native tree, shrub and herbaceous grassland and wetland species in the targeted areas. The aim is also to produce policy recommendations and ensure nature managers are committed to replicating the ecosystem resilience approach over larger areas.

Project summary

- Environmental governance and Information

Tackling the threat of poisoning to protect critical vulture populations (BalkanDetoxLife)

Vultures in the Balkan Peninsula are especially prone to poisoning and many species are on the verge of extinction. Through this LIFE project, the international Vulture Conservation Foundation aims to raise awareness of the impact of poisoning, establishing national anti-poisoning working groups to coordinate action, increase cooperation among authorities and improve detection of poisonings. The project will also work with stakeholders, such as livestock farmers, to encourage the take up of alternative methods of controlling pests.

Project summary

- Climate Change Adaptation

Climate-resilient forests for the Netherlands (LIFE CLIMATE FOREST)

Poor environmental conditions in forests make them vulnerable to climate change and threaten their productivity. The LIFE CLIMATE FOREST project team, coordinated by the Bosgroep Zuid Nederland cooperative, will demonstrate a tree-oriented management approach for improving climate resilience of forest ecosystems on the sandy soils characteristic of Dutch forests. This will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase biodiversity and enhance the ecosystem services provided by forests, such as carbon sequestration, water retention to reduce flooding, and recreational value. The project team will involve the national forest management community in the development of climate-resilient forests throughout the Netherlands.

Project summary

Climate-resilient freshwater supply in coastal areas (LIFE Freshman)

Freshwater supply problems are increasing due to drought and intrusion of salty water in coastal areas (partly due to rising sea levels). Groundwater lenses occur when freshwater floats above denser brackish water. The water utility company Dunea in the Netherlands will demonstrate the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of an innovative technique, called the Freshman method, to enlarge and safeguard freshwater availability. The method combines infiltration of freshwater into a groundwater lens, and extraction of lower-level brackish groundwater. The brackish groundwater will subsequently be treated using a water purification technology called reverse osmosis, to create a climate-independent drinking water source during drought periods. The method will produce drinking water and safeguard biodiversity and ecosystems, while creating a buffer for extreme drought conditions. The innovative Freshman technique will be replicated in Belgium during the project, and the results disseminated to encourage wider replication in the EU.

Project summary

- Climate Change Mitigation

Citizen-driven initiative to plant 500 million trees in Europe (LIFE TERRA)

Europe has set many goals to address climate change using a top-down approach, but individuals also need to be empowered to act given the scale of the climate crisis. The LIFE Terra partners will create a movement that mobilises citizens to plant 500 million trees in five years, harnessing nature's carbon capture mechanism to mitigate climate change. The pilot sites are located in Spain, the Netherlands, Italy, Germany, Greece and Portugal. Participants will be connected and coordinated through an innovative web platform and app. The latest monitoring and satellite technologies will provide both citizens and specialists with precise and transparent data on the trees planted. Improved methods will increase the efficiency of tree plantings in nurseries. To inspire the next generation of EU citizens and prepare them for future climate change challenges, the project team will develop a unique Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)-focused environmental sustainability education programme.

Project summary

Innovative ash-based material to replace cement in concrete production (LIFE MIBA FILLER)

Concrete production contributes to 5-8% of annual global greenhouse gas emissions, mainly due to the use of cement as a binder. The LIFE MIBA FILLER project team, led by the Dutch ash-treatment company Inashco, will demonstrate a breakthrough climate-change mitigation technology for the concrete industry. This will involve replacing cement with an innovative low-carbon binder, made by converting municipal waste incinerator bottom ash into a high-value cement-like binder. The project team aims to prove the effectiveness and economic viability of the technology, which will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and also the amount of incinerator ash being dumping into landfills.

Project summary

Austria

- Nature and biodiversity

Reducing conflicts between humans and wolves in the Alps (LIFEstockProtect)

Once extinct in the Alps, wolves have been repopulating the area since the 1990s. Social acceptance is low, though, particularly in the agricultural sector due to livestock depredation. Agricultural and hunting communities do not consider livestock protection to be an adequate measure for minimising depredation and therefore decreasing conflicts between humans and wolves. This LIFE project is the first to be coordinated by a farmers' association. It will involve an innovative conservation method and bottom-up approach, with peer-to-peer training taking place through farmers' associations. At least 1 000 farmers will be trained on livestock protection measures, such as use of guardian dogs, contributing to long-term wolf conservation in the Alps. A network of volunteers and experts will assist farmers with implementation. The project involves partners from Austria, Bavaria and Italy (Trentino and South Tyrol).

Project summary

- Climate Change Adaptation

Future-proofing large-scale environmental projects (LIFE EnCAM)

Large cities like Vienna suffer from urban heat island effects - areas in cities which have higher temperatures because of infrastructure and human activity. Meanwhile, climate change is expected to bring higher temperatures in the coming decades, with more heavy rain and periods of heat and drought. To cope with this, and ensure the sustainability of large-scale environmental projects, adaptation measures must be integrated. The City of Vienna will enhance its resilience to climate change with this project, showing how large environmental projects can incorporate adaptation requirements. The adaptation of selected sections of the river Liesing, by planting trees, for example, will reduce urban heat island effects and improve the attractiveness for recreation while increasing biodiversity. The city will also introduce climate-orientated green public procurement.

Project summary

- Climate Change Mitigation

A circular economy for fluorinated gases (LIFE 3R)

Fluorinated gases (F-gases) are powerful greenhouse gases used in a range of industrial applications whose emissions have risen by 60% since 1990. The company behind this project, Daikin Airconditioning Central Europe, will develop an 'ecosystem' allowing F-gases previously considered as waste to be recovered - for use in heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration systems. Initially deployed in Slovakia, Czechia and Hungary, the ecosystem will include a new online marketplace offering sellers and buyers reliable trade in real-time. The Austrian company's goal is for the system to be replicated in at least 13 other Member States after the project ends.

Project summary

Poland

- Nature and Biodiversity

Wetland restoration in central Poland (Kampinos WetLIFE)

The Kampinos Forest Natura 2000 site has the largest complex of wetland habitats in central Poland. Well-preserved habitats now cover just 5% of the primaeval wetland area, after land reclamation over the past 150 years severely lowered groundwater levels. The site is especially vulnerable to extended dry periods and increasing fluctuations in water levels caused by climate change. Through this project, Kampinos National Park will restore an area the size of around 115 football pitches and increase Kampinos Forest's ecological resilience by increasing the amount of water retained. A number of habitat types and plant and animal species will benefit from the work carried out.

Project summary

- Environmental governance and Information

Helping Polish administrations to carry out vital air quality plans (LIFE_AQP_Opolskie_2019.PL)

Private household heating systems are a major contributor to air pollution in the Polish region of Opole Voivodeship. They also have a detrimental impact on the population's health. In addition, plans to improve air quality has to-date been hampered by poor management at a local level. This LIFE project aims to increase the capacity of public administrations to introduce such plans. It will do this by developing a unified management system for all levels of government to avail of. It will also support public action on air quality through the engagement of all stakeholders, from NGOs to the local population.

Project summary

Portugal

- Nature and Biodiversity

Stewardship network for conserving urban Bonelli's eagle (LIFE LxAquila)

A unique population of the endangered Bonelli's eagle (Aquila fasciata) makes its home in the Lisbon Metropolitan Area, in Portugal. LIFE LxAquila will lead to the creation of a land stewardship network for the conservation of this vulnerable peri-urban population. Land stewardship enables land to be managed over long-term periods with due consideration for ecological, social, cultural and economic factors. A total of 37 long-term land stewardship agreements were signed with landowners (at least one per targeted nest). Project partners, coordinated by the Portuguese Society for the Study of Birds (SPEA), and landowners will work together to implement and monitor conservation actions to mitigate the major threats. The project team will tag and track juvenile eagles, reduce disturbance to birds during the breeding season, make safe the most dangerous power lines, use trained dogs to detect poisons, and increase prey availability in key feeding areas.

Project summary

- Environment and Resource Efficiency

Creating a circular economy platform for surplus food near to expiry date (LIFEfoodCycle)

While retail and wholesale are responsible for only around 5% of all food waste in the EU, the majority (around 83%) of such waste is avoidable. The LIFEfoodCycle project plans to reduce this waste by creating a digital platform, Circular Economy Market Place, which will facilitate the trade of surplus food nearing its expiration. It will encourage local businesses and supermarkets to sign up to the platform to demonstrate the business case for preventing waste. Reduction in the transport of waste will also lower the carbon footprint of supermarkets.

Project summary

- Climate Change Adaptation

Protecting Madeira's sand dunes in the face of climate change (LIFE DUNAS)

The unique sand dunes of the Madeira archipelago's Porto Santo Island are a pull for tourists in this EU outermost region. But this coastline is under threat from storms and rising global sea levels. The project team will improve the resilience of Porto Santo's dune ecosystems to the impacts of climate change. To achieve this, the team will restore dunes at higher risk using sand dredged from sandbanks near the shore, plant nearly 40 000 specimens of native flora and control invasive alien species, such as Carpobrotus edulis, Arundo donax and Tamarix gallica. The local population, tourists and tourism service providers will also be involved in awareness-raising and replication activities.

Project summary

- Climate governance and Information

Increasing the resilience of abandoned mountain pasture areas (LIFE MARONESA)

Mountain pasture areas on common land for Maronesa, a breed of cattle from northern Portugal, have been abandoned in recent decades. The subsequent growth of scrub and the loss of perennial good quality pastures reduces the amount of carbon the soil can store and increases the risk of wildfires. The AguiarFloresta association will tackle this by showcasing and encouraging climate action work, targeting cattle breeders and the local population. Better use and management of land, along with improved cattle breeding practices, will help reduce the wildfire risk and increase the resilience of local agriculture to climate change.

Project summary

Romania

- Nature and Biodiversity

Conservation of saproxylic beetles in the Carpathians (LIFE ROsalia)

Saproxylic insects are dependent on dead or decaying wood. Forest management that removes veteran trees and dead wood has led to a sharp decline in saproxylic beetles in the Carpathians. The LIFE ROsalia project, coordinated by the Environmental Protection Agency Vrancea, will improve habitat conditions for five saproxylic beetle species in the forests of the Putna-Vrancea Natura 2000 site in Romania. The project team will establish better ecological connections between fragmented patches of old-growth forest, by creating 22 patches of favourable habitat as 'stepping-stones' for the beetle species. Actions will also include providing artificial habitats, clearing overgrowth, and establishing a participatory monitoring system with foresters. Awareness will be raised of the ecosystem services provided by old-growth trees, in terms of biodiversity and forest resilience. The project team will also create a legally binding national action plan for the long-term conservation of saproxylic insects.

Project summary

Slovenia

- Environmental governance and Information

Improving public attitudes to beavers (LIFE BEAVER)

The European beaver, locally extinct in Slovenia and Croatia for two centuries, is re-colonising its historical habitats and now has favourable conservation status in these two countries. However, its long absence means the beaver is now considered as a 'new' species, and even a pest, with conflicts arising as numbers increase. The institute leading this project, LUTRA, will improve awareness about the animal's return, emphasising its positive impact on the environment. For example, by felling trees and building dams, beavers create habitats that benefit numerous other species. They also slow the flow of rivers, reducing the danger of flooding. Rewetting riparian habitats also benefits many species. The project team's efforts will ensure public acceptance of the beaver and create positive attitudes towards the species. The institute will also strengthen cross-border cooperation between Slovenia and Croatia for exchanging best practices and for the coordinated management of beaver populations.

Project summary

Slovakia

- Nature and Biodiversity

Conserving plants and habitats in Slovakia and Hungary (LIFE endemic PANALP)

With this project, the NGO BROZ targets six plant species (Linum dolomiticum, Ferula sadleriana, Vincetoxicum pannonicum, Dianthus lumnitzeri, Tephroseris longifolia subsp. moravica and Crambe tataria) and three types of dry grassland habitat in 17 Natura 2000 sites in Slovakia and seven in Hungary. These are threatened by pressure from visitors and game, non-native and invasive alien species, lack of traditional management, extreme microclimatic conditions, the fragmentation of habitat into smaller patches isolated from each other, and small populations, amongst others. The NGO aims to significantly improve the conservation status of the plants and habitats targeted, using a complex set of conservation measures to address the threats. Five insect species will also benefit from work to restore stepping stones, islands of favourable habitat in between the larger core areas, designed to help individuals move between them.

Project summary

Making electricity infrastructure safer for birds (LIFE DANUBE FREE SKY)

The Danube corridor and neighbouring areas attract hundreds of bird species. Every year millions of birds follow the river on their spring and autumn odysseys to and from distant migration sites. However, there are over 2 000 km of power lines above ground which present a serious threat. The NGO Raptor Protection of Slovakia will seek to reduce bird mortality on power lines, avoiding 1 200 - 2 200 deaths every year, and increase the populations of 12 bird species by installing flight diverters and insulating 3 300 dangerous poles on power lines and railways. This will help to halt the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services (among others production of plant-based raw materials, crops, biomass production from grassland along the Danube). The NGO also aims to strengthen cooperation and increase the efficiency of measures adopted at transnational level.

Project summary

Creating suitable habitat to revive the declining European ground squirrel (LIFE SYSEL)

Once common in central and eastern Europe, the population and habitat range of the European ground squirrel is declining. The LIFE project will address this decline, carrying out grassland management to provide suitable habitat for the species and to re-connect its fragmented sites. Increasing contact and thus breeding among a wider population range will improve the species' genetic health and ability to survive. It will also tackle the threat of predation and lack of food supply, installing bird boxes and stone and woodpiles, while planting favourable crops. It will also encourage replications beyond the initial target northwestern border area of its range.

Project summary

- Climate Change Adaptation

Climate-smart forest management for central and eastern Europe (CLIMAFORCELIFE)

Forest management needs to be adapted to climate change, in order to reduce negative impacts on both wood production and ecosystem services such as water storage capacity to reduce flooding risks. The CLIMAFORCEELIFE project team, coordinated by WWF Slovensko, will improve the management of forests in central and eastern Europe by promoting the transition to climate-smart forestry for the benefit of people and nature. The project partners will demonstrate innovative forestry measures in Slovakia, Bulgaria and Hungary, and evaluate their economic feasibility and environmental benefits. These measures include diversified planting, including drought-resistant tree species, selective cutting, water retention infrastructure, and remote sensing to assess forest health. The project team will raise awareness of climate-smart methods and promote their inclusion into relevant forestry and nature conservation management planning and policy.

Project summary

Sweden

- Nature and Biodiversity

Restoration of semi-natural habitats to favourable conservation status (LIFE RestoRED)'

Semi-natural habitats, such as Fennoscandian wooded meadows and pastures, dependent on traditional agricultural practices (e.g. grazing and hay cutting) have deteriorated greatly in Sweden, as in most other EU Member States, and only a small fraction of the original area remains. Most such habitats which are covered by the EU Habitats Directive have the poorest conservation status. With this project, the County Administrative Board of Östergötland plans to restore to favourable conservation status the semi-natural habitats that are included in both the Habitats Directive and the European Red List of Habitats. Almost 1 150 ha will be restored in all, equivalent to more than 1 600 football fields.

Project summary

Reviving rivers negatively impacted by commercial forestry (Ecostreams for LIFE)

The Boreal region is a vast expanse of coniferous forests, mires and lakes circling the northern hemisphere which includes most of Sweden. Rivers and streams in this region tend to be heavily affected by human activities, such as alterations to make large-scale floating of timber easier and other activities linked to commercial forestry. Old dams and dysfunctional road culverts also prevent aquatic organisms from moving freely in the water. The County Administrative Board of Västerbotten will tackle this problem in six Natura 2000 sites, restoring 140 km of rivers and reversing damage from historic timber floating. Remediation of barriers will open nearly 850 km of streams for migration of aquatic fauna. Work is set to improve the conservation status and ecological status of several aquatic habitats and species, thus also helping to meet the objectives of the EU Habitats and Water Framework directives. The rivers' resilience to climate change will improve as well.

Project summary

- Environment and Resource Efficiency

Developing a market for biochar in Sweden (LIFE CB2U)

Vast amount of biomass in Stockholm is incinerated each year, removing nutrients from the biological cycle. The project aims to utilise this resource as biochar, which can boost urban soil and thus avoid the need for fertilisers and minerals such as clay and sand. Biochar also improves the soil's ability to capture carbon and can therefore contribute to meeting climate change targets. The project will create a biochar plant, generating heat for district heating systems and create employment opportunities.

Project summary

- Climate Change Mitigation

A new method for storing energy underground in abandoned mines (LIFE UPHS)

Renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar power, generate variable amounts of electricity. Therefore, energy storage is required, so it can be used at times of peak consumption. Pumped hydro solutions account for most of this storage but building dams and flooding area is expensive and has negative environmental impacts. The LIFE UPHS project team, led by Pumped Hydro Storage Sweden, a private company specialising in sustainable energy storage solutions, will demonstrate an innovative method for large-scale underground energy storage that utilises the shafts of abandoned mines. Off-peak energy will be used to pump water up a shaft, where it can be released downpipes to generate hydro energy at peak times. This will be validated at pilot scale, and then at full scale in connection with an existing wind farm in Sweden. The team will develop a standard design concept that can be replicated in suitable underground sites around Europe.

Project summary

United Kingdom

- Nature and Biodiversity

Forest restoration in the Peak District Dales (LIFE in the Ravines)

In the Peak District Dales special area of conservation (SAC) the woodland canopy is dominated by ash trees. The arrival of ash dieback disease (ADB) in 2015 put the woods under serious pressure. Combined with increased grazing pressure from deer and competition from non-native trees, this means the habitat has unfavourable-bad conservation status. Natural England, the government's adviser for the natural environment in England, will use sustainable best practice techniques to address the impacts of ADB and improve the conservation status of almost 900 ha of habitat, an area the size of around 1 600 football fields. Work will include large-scale forest restoration, resulting in a more natural tree composition, and significant re-introduction of 'foundation' tree species such as lime and elm to ensure the woodland's long-term viability. Trees with ADB tolerance will be identified and promoted, and natural ash regeneration encouraged. As a result, Natural England will secure the SAC's biodiversity value and its role as a key wildlife refuge site.

Project summary