Wednesday, 26 May 2021

REPLACE Project from Horizon Europe: Third Primorska-Goranska County Renewable Energy Meeting Held in Rijeka

May 26, 2021 - With Energy Institute Hrvoje Požar (EIHP) being the lead partner, the REPLACE Project from Horizon Europe steadily continues the progress of renewable energy for the Kvarner region.

Earlier in January, TCN wrote about Croatian energy development, whose goal is to be based on clean technologies. And that it's not all empty talk, as shown by the third meeting of a local workgroup enrolled in the REPLACE Project. As Energy Institute Hrvoje Požar (EIHP) reports on its website, the REPLACE Project has a goal of supporting European energetic, climate, environmental, economic, and social goals with the deadline until 2030 and 2050.

As part of the OBZOR 2020 (Horizon Europe) EU program for research and innovations in the 2014-2020 time frame, the REPLACE Project receives EU funding. Twelve partners from nine countries participate in the project, and EIHP is in charge of the project activities in Primorska-Goranska county. In support of European goals, the plan of REPLACE Project is to gradually switch the current ineffective and outdated heating and cooling systems with new efficient systems which rely on renewable energy.

The meeting held at the Faculty of Economics at the University of Rijeka saw Dražen Balić, Antonia Tomas Stanković, and Lea Leopoldović from EIHP hold lectures presenting results of the first period of the project, but also the plans for future activities. The accent was put on implementing campaigns and collective actions supported by the members of the local workgroup. Energetic poverty, gender aspects, and „lock-in effect“ (an economic practice, where a company makes it extremely hard for their customers to leave them, even if the customer wants to) are the obstacles the project runners are aware of and were explained in greater detail. Another thing that stood out in the presentation was the presentation „Technology of Blue Energy in Croatia“, which presented modern technologies used in heating and cooling in coastal areas, and applicable to the Primorska -Goranska county.

Key institutions in the regions such as REA Kvarner (regional energy agency), Energo Rijeka (gas and heat energy provider), representatives of the Primorska-Goranska county, OIE Hrvatska (The economic-interest association The Renewable Energy Sources of Croatia - RES), and Rijeka Consumer Centre were present at the meeting, showing that the motivation to bring energy efficiency in Primorska-Goranska County is in its full strength. Both on corporal, political, and expert levels. 

Learn more about Rijeka on our TC page.

For more about science in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Tuesday, 18 May 2021

Rovinj Sea Research Centre Celebrating 130 Years of Work

May 18, 2021 - The Rovinj Sea Research Centre turns 130 in 2021. It is the place in Croatia for oceanographic research and all things science related to the preservation of the sea and maritime life.

Established back in 1891 as Berlin's Aquarium Zoological Station, the research Institute is known today as the Rovinj Sea Research Centre (CIM), and last week it celebrated 130 years of work. An affiliate of the Ruđer Bošković Science Institute (IRB), that institute recently reported that CIM currently has 54 employees working in four laboratories, and the centre is heavily involved in numerous impressive scientific projects.

''This includes five projects of the Croatian Science Foundation (HrZZ), worth 5,855 635 HRK, three projects financed within the INTERREG cross border programme (worth 1,326 000 euros), three projects with European structural and investment funds (7,189 531 HRK), and two projects financed within the EU programme for research and innovations, OBZOR 2020, valued at 179,360 euros,“ says the IRB official website.

The section of the IRB page dedicated to CIM adds that the centre offers a multidisciplinary take on the research of the sea, offering both basic and applicable oceanographic research. This includes six areas of interest: processes and dynamics in the food chain, examining the dynamics of water masses, ecology (species and the interrelations of species in both clean and in polluted waters), sea organism research (ecological, physiological, and genetic features of organisms, and a pollution effects study), the monitoring of pollution and sea quality, and finally, the monitoring of eutrophication (a process in which the environment becomes enriched with nutrients which can trigger the development of algae and cause an imbalance in the ecosystem).

Set in the beautiful town of Rovinj on the Istrian peninsula because of the clear waters of the Adriatic sea, CIM is on a mission to preserve marine life and its biodiversity.

CIM truly has a rich tradition, having conducted international systematic research and monitoring of the marine ecosystem of the Northern Adriatic for over 30 years. ''This approach became a model for the regional organisation of the European systematic monitoring of the coastal sea,'' says IRB.

IRB adds that in this long tradition, the Croatian science programme of monitoring the Northern Adriatic played a huge role. Having begun fifty years ago, it developed into the Jadran Project, making Croatia one of the first countries in all of Europe to have developed a systematic approach to the monitoring of the sea.

''Additional confirmation of the tradition and scientific quality of CIM can also be seen in the recent joining of CIM to JERICO – the Joint European Research Infrastructure network for Coastal Observatory, making CIM a partner of some of the most famous European Institutes“, concluded the IRB's explanation.

Learn more about Beaches in Croatia on our TC page.

For more about science in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Wednesday, 5 May 2021

Ruđer Bošković Science Institute Combats Climate Change by Developing New Material

May 5, 2021 - With ecology being the key to survival, the Ruđer Bošković Science Institute combats climate change by developing a new material known as CuZn-MOF-74.

The pandemic is nasty, the nuclear holocaust is a scary thought, but greenhouse gases remain an omnipresent potential for the death of us as they trigger climate change on whose negative effects scientists have been warning us about for decades. 

Like the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency informs on its websitethese gases trap the heat in the atmosphere, which in terms raises the temperature we experience. 

The website lists the main types of these airier troublemakers:

CO2 (Carbon dioxide - enters the atmosphere through burning fossil fuels (coal, natural gas, and oil), solid waste, trees, and other biological materials, and also as a result of certain chemical reactions. It is removed by plants that use it for photosynthesis – a process that provides food for the pants and oxygen for other beings).

CH4 (Methane-emitted during the production and transport of coal, natural gas, and oil. Methane emissions also result from livestock and other agricultural practices, land use, and the decay of organic waste in municipal solid waste landfills).

N2O (Nitrous oxide - emitted during agricultural, land use, industrial activities, combustion of fossil fuels and solid waste, as well as during treatment of wastewater).

Last but not least:

Fluorinated gases ( such as Hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, sulfur hexafluoride, and nitrogen trifluoride are synthetic, powerful greenhouse gases that are emitted from a variety of industrial processes. Fluorinated gases are sometimes used as substitutes for stratospheric ozone-depleting substances. These gases are typically emitted in smaller quantities, but because they are potent greenhouse gases, they are sometimes referred to as High Global Warming Potential gases) 

Each of these gases can stay in the atmosphere for a very long time, and transferring these gases into something else is a challenge to beat. Fortunately, at least for carbon dioxide, we might be getting closer to the solution than we think.

pollution.jpg

Pixabay

Ruđer Bošković Science Institute (IRB) in Croatia reported on its website that they are at the brink of a new material that can selectively transform carbon dioxide into methanol alcohol. The green chemists in Zagreb were closely cooperating with colleagues from the Slovenian Chemical Institute (KI), and McGill University in Canada. The results of their mutual research, in a more further scientific detail, are published in a scientific article on the prestigious ACS Publications

But in the summarization, doctoral candidates Tomislav Stolar and Valentina Martinez, alongside dr. Bahar Karadeniz, under the lead of dr. Krunoslav Užarević (IRB), and dr Tomislav Friščić (McGill University) developed a bi-metal proposal coordination material known as CuZn-MOF-74. The layman speaking complex name is owned to the fact it's made from copper (Cu) and zinc (Zn) using a mechanic-chemical method of making bi-metal metalorganic networks known as MOF-74. As TCN previously reported, that method is an environmentally sustainable synthetic strategy that is further elaborated in a scientific article in 2019.

The catalytical properties of this material were tested KI in Ljubljana with the help of the scientists from the Institute: dr. Blaž Likozar, dr. Gregor Mali, dr. Ana Bjalić, and Anže Prašnikar.

The results have shown that this material has a modest catalyst (meaning it speeds up) activity to synthesize methanol, and post-reaction presented the scientists with a non-porous material which showed multiple enhancement of both catalyzation and selection for methanol synthetization.

„This research is a good example of multidisciplinary and international collaboration between strong research centers in the region. To me, as a young scientist, it's important that I can work on the current issues, such as transforming carbon dioxide into methanol, thanks to the guidance of dr. Užarević. There is a big potential for switching to sustainable chemical processes through the program of European Green plan, and research in that field should be the priority“, said the lead author Tomislav Stolar, a doctoral candidate in the IRB's laboratory for green synthesis.   

The IRB official website added that the search for an effective catalyzation to transform carbon dioxide into methanol is the focus of scientists worldwide. Methanol could also be then used as a fuel and replace the current fossil products.

Today you already have the term „Methanol Economy“ that predicts methanol will impose as the vital compound to store energy, as a fuel, and a source of carbon to synthesize valuable compounds. Efficient synthesis of methanol from carbon dioxide presents an example of sustainable chemical reaction of added value, and with great economic potential“, concludes the press release on IRB.

Apart from IRB scientists combating climate change, Croatia takes care of the environment, particularly national parks on whom you can learn more on our TC page.

For more about science in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Thursday, 29 April 2021

Croatian National Bank: Banks Still Do Not See Climate Change As Serious Threat to Business

ZAGREB, 29 April, 2021 - Most banks in Croatia still do not see climate change as a serious threat to their business, a survey carried out by the Croatian National Bank (HNB) showed on Thursday.

The survey was presented as part of an online conference called "The Role of Banks in Greening Our Economies", organised by the HNB and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).

The survey, carried out among 20 Croatian banks, showed that the banks did not see climate change as an immediate and serious threat to their business.

Only one bank said that climate change would have a generally significant impact on the Croatian banking system, 11 banks said that the impact would be moderate, while eight said that it would be insignificant.

Only two banks have a climate change-related strategy included in their overall business strategy, expressing concern about risks and anticipating possible changes to the regulatory framework. On the other hand, 15 banks said they were waiting for the regulators to take the initial steps in this regard.

Responding to the question about risk materialisation, 10 banks said that climate risks would not materialise in the near future, while 11 said they were not attaching major importance to exposure to climate change and environmental risks to their portfolio.

Physical risk includes the financial impact of climate change, and five sectors in Croatia are particularly vulnerable to it - tourism, agriculture, forestry, fisheries and energy distribution. More than a quarter of Croatian banks' exposures to non-financial institutions concern these sectors, mostly tourism, the survey showed.

However, none of the banks has so far assessed its exposure to climate and environmental risks, citing lack of reliable data and methodology as well as lack of qualified staff.

The sectors facing the biggest transition risk from climate change are transport and traffic, agriculture, motor vehicles, energy and oil products, and construction.

Only 9 banks offer green product to their customers

Most banks recognise opportunities brought by the transition to a low-carbon economy, with three-quarters of them saying they could benefit from this transition by financing green projects. However, only nine banks said they were offering a green product to their customers, such as loans for the energy renovation of buildings or the purchase of electric vehicles.

 HNB Governor Boris Vujčić said in his opening remarks that both the HNB and EBRD had acknowledged their responsibility for highlighting the role of banks in the climate transition. He recalled the Paris climate change agreement of 2015, which has been ratified by 189 countries, saying that it set ambitious goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prevent further global warming.

For more about business in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Wednesday, 21 April 2021

Slovenia, Croatia, Italy Sign Statement on Protection of Adriatic

ZAGREB, 21 April, 2021 - The foreign ministers of Slovenia, Croatia and Italy signed in Brdo Pri Kranju, Slovenia on Wednesday a joint statement on the protection of the northern Adriatic, after plenary talks on joint cooperation in that area.

Speaking to the press after the signing, Anže Logar of Slovenia said that he, Gordan Grlić Radman of Croatia and Luigi di Maio of Italy endorsed conclusions on strengthening the three countries' cooperation in the protection of the Adriatic, which he said was the basic framework for strengthening cooperation in areas of common interest.

Last year Croatia and Italy announced the proclamation of exclusive economic zones in the Adriatic, including Slovenia in consultations on the matter. Slovenia, which under international law does not have the right to do the same, assessed that as a positive move by its two neighbours.

Early this February, the Croatian parliament proclaimed an exclusive economic zone in the Adriatic, giving Croatia additional rights in relation to the Ecological and Fisheries Protection Zone declared in 2003 to build artificial islands and exploit the sea, wind and currents in that zone in line with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

At a meeting in Trieste on 19 December, the three ministers adopted a joint statement in which they share a vision of the sea as a bridge uniting all the peoples in this area and a source of progress for all. They were agreed that the Adriatic, as a closed sea with intensive traffic and a vulnerable eco-system, needs an integrated approach to environmental protection and sustainable development.

For more about ecology in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page

 

Wednesday, 14 April 2021

International Conference On Climate Change Held in Kaštela

ZAGREB, 13 April, 2021 - An online international conference on climate change was held in Kaštela, outside Split, on Tuesday to raise public awareness of the need to strengthen Croatia's capacity to deal with this matter.

The conference was organised by RERA, the public institution for coordination and development of Split-Dalmatia County as one of 11 partners in the EU project "Change We Care" between Croatia and Italy.

Croatia and Italy are to prepare joint projects to alleviate the consequences of climate change and include them in the new EU programming period 2021-2027.

Branka Pivčević Novak of the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development stressed the importance of developing the first national action plan on climate change, saying that the modernisation of the national meteorological network in Croatia was very important.

Speaking online from Italy, the "Change We Care" project leader Davide Bonaldo said the project envisaged evaluating the current situation and newer trends in physical and ecological processes along the Adriatic coast, making projections of scenarios in climate change conditions, and identifying measures to adapt to climate change in five pilot areas.

Those are Vransko Jezero lake, the Neretva river delta, the Jadro river and the Kaštela Bay in Croatia, and Mula di Muggia and the Po river delta in Italy.

The end goal of the project is to establish adaptation measures to deal with climate change, Bonaldo said, adding that local communities would benefit the most.

Climate change affects the low-lying coastal area, which is urbanised, as well as the cultural heritage and tourism, so the goal of this plan is the implementation of an integral approach to the management of the Kaštela coastal area in the context of climate change, said Professor Martina Baučić of the Split Faculty of Civil Engineering.

For more about ecology in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Friday, 26 March 2021

Grant Agreement Signed For Composting Plant in Metković

ZAGREB, 26 March, 2021 - A HRK 12.5 million EU grant agreement for the construction of a composting plant in the southern town of Metković was signed on Friday by Economy and Sustainable Development Minister Tomislav Ćorić and the director of the local Čistoća waste management company, Tomislav Jakić.

The project, which will be implemented as part of the Operational Programme Competitiveness and Cohesion 2014-2020, is worth more than HRK 24 million, of which 50% is co-financed by the EU.

Ćorić said that the composting plant would serve Metković as well as Opuzen and neighbouring communities.

The plant's annual capacity is 5,000 tonnes and it guarantees that biodegradable waste in the River Neretva valley will be managed in the best way possible, said the minister.

Dubrovnik-Neretva County head Nikola Dobroslavić said that Metković was the most advanced local government unit in terms of waste management.

For more about ecology in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Thursday, 18 March 2021

Minister Tomislav Ćorić Visits Recycling Yard Worth HRK 3 Million in Novi Marof

ZAGREB, 17 March, 2021 - A recycling yard worth HRK 3 million and co-financed by EU funds has been constructed in Novi Marof, and during his visit on Wednesday, Economy Minister Tomislav Ćorić said that the northwestern part of Croatia has progressed more than other parts of the country in terms of waste management.

The recycling yard in Novi Marof was co-financed from the Cohesion Fund in the amount of more than HRK 2.5 million, while the entire project is worth over HRK 3 million.

Novi Marof Mayor Siniša Jenkač underscored that the recycling yard was a continuation of the policy of efficient and responsible waste management in that northern Croatian city.

"In addition, the remediation of our landfill Čret is currently in its final phase, and it cost a total of HRK 17.5 million, including 30 years of monitoring," he said, adding that they had also procured waste sorting containers.

The remediation of the Čret landfill was co-financed with HRK 13.3 million of EU funds.

According to Jenkač, when it comes to total financing with European money, about HRK 40 million has been invested in waste management in the area of Novi Marof.

(€1 = HRK 7.6)

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Wednesday, 17 March 2021

Ivan Anusic: Slavonia's Future Lies in Ecological Production

March the 17th, 2021 - Ivan Anusic has stated that the future of the Croatian east, the former bread basket of the entire region, lies in ecological production. Could moving more towards that lead to the revival of overlooked Slavonia?

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marta Duic writes, in cooperation with the Croatian Association of Counties, Poslovni dnevnik to see how various Croatian counties stand after the pandemic year, and the first interlocutor among many was Ivan Anusic, the prefect of Osijek-Baranja County.

"The situation isn't ideal, the large projects for which we've provided funds have been slowed down and the realisation has not started at the pace we'd initially planned. However, we found secondary ways of financing and started out with them, but the pandemic left its mark on us, as it has on the whole world,” said Ivan Anusic.

According to Ivan Anusic, this eastern Croatian county was looking for a balance between the economy and the situation with public health, and they wanted at least a part of the economy to function in the given conditions, despite the difficulties involved. Although the large economic systems that can hold up their own weight haven't really been deprived, the catering and hospitality sectors were certainly deprived.

"Slavonia is important for food production and we saw that back in early March (2020) when we were greeted by the first lockdown. Then, we came to the conclusion that food production must be self-sufficient for us who live in Croatia, and later that we must place these products on foreign markets. That must be the priority of our government," believes Anusic.

When they heard that Meggle was leaving, says Anusic, they had to act urgently. Too much politics infecting everything in this part of Croatia let it go down the drain, maybe Osijek isn't our biggest city, but it did have the biggest industry. By shutting down Meggle, we not only lost our jobs but also our tradition and we're glad that we managed to arrange everything with Belje. Unfortunately, there wasn't so much luck for the sugar factory," explained Ivan Anusic, noting that the future of Slavonia should be agriculture.

As he claims, Slavonia cannot build a future on tourism, although intensive work is being done on continental tourism, this area was created for agricultural production, and Anusic sees the future of Slavonia in ecological production. The construction of the Distribution Centre for Fruits and Vegetables has started, and it is a project worth a massive 101 million kuna that will include small farmers and they will be able to store, dry, pack, sort and create added products from their hard work.

"The defeat of every government happens when young people have to leave to get their bread. Slavonia has been communicating this sort of negative story out to the world for many years now, and it was also communicated by those who made it so. We don't need any special help, we just need to be allowed to develop our resources and have those resources in our own hands. Perceptions are slowly changing, European Union (EU) funds are there for us and we have a chance to rise like other Croatian cities and build a story of our own,'' concluded Osijek-Baranja Prefect Ivan Anusic.

For more on Slavonia, follow our lifestyle page.

Saturday, 6 March 2021

Green Phone Network Receives 2,500 Croatian Calls About Environmental Problems in 2020

ZAGREB, 6 March, 2021 - In the last year, the Green Phone Network received about 2,500 calls from Croatian citizens about environmental issues in the country, and most of those reports referred to waste.

Every citizen of the Republic of Croatia may report an environmental problem or request information on the number 072 123 456, the network which includes nine environmentalist associations, says on its web site.

One in four calls about inappropriate waste disposal 

In 2020, most of the calls were warnings about the inappropriate waste disposal (every one in four calls), while class about construction detrimental to the environment made up 10.89% of those 2,500 calls. 

Citizens complained about a poor air quality (10.41%) and about damage done to the greenery (9.61%).

Also some of the calls were about noise, traffic, environmental issues concerning forests, soil and animals.

After the establishment of the first Green Phone in 1992, other associations decided to launch the same service.

Thus in September 1999, with the financial support of USAID (United States Agency for International Development), Green Phone networks were established by seven associations for environmental protection: Zelena Akcija from Zagreb, Eko Pan from Karlovac, Environmental Society Žmergo from Opatija, Zelena Istra from Pula, Sunce from Split, Kap Života from Gospić, and the Society for the Protection of Nature og Slavonija i Baranja from Osijek.

In 2003, within the project "Strengthening the Green Phone Network", financed by the European Commission, five other environmental organisations joined the Network, and one in 2007. One member left the Network in 2010, so it now comprises nine associations: Zelena Akcija from Zagreb, Eko Pan from Karlovac, Environmental Society Žmergo from Opatija, Zelena Istra from Pula, Sunce from Split, ZEO Nobilis from Čakovec, Zeleni Osijek from Osijek, Eko Zadar from Zadar, and Krka from Knin.

The aim of the Green Phone is to encourage citizens to actively participate in environmental protection and to encourage the competent institutions to solve environmental problems more efficiently.

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