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Visit 8: Environmental Technologies

The Environmental Research and Innovation (ERIN) department of the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST) develops strategies, technologies and tools to better monitor, assess, use and safeguard natural and renewable resources. This tour presents a unique opportunity to discover ERIN’s fascinating work. Discover biobased fibres for construction materials, bioreactors for the evaluation of the energy content of plants and organic waste, remote sensing techniques and tools for forecasting water flows and analysing risk, and, last but not least, an ecodesign tool for integrating sustainability criteria into design of industrial products and processes.

   

ERIN’s R&D and innovation activities range from laboratory and field experiments to environmental model and software development, process control and automation, and environmental technologies. The ultimate goal is to design, craft, test and bring to the market new technological solutions. The department focuses on four main technological streams with products / methods that specifically target industrial partners:

  1. Biocompounds and biofibers: plants for renewable products and production processes, as well as substrates for biopolymers and biocomposites. ERIN investigates alternative sources for biobased materials such as lignocellulosic biomass, the most abundant biological raw material on Earth, and derives commercially interesting applications. These activities can be worthwhile for agriculture (new plant breeding techniques), construction and automotive sectors (bio-based materials), and food and health care (encapsulating materials and functional packages, e.g. edible, anti-microbial). Biobased fibres for construction materials derived from hemp will be demonstrated.
  2. Ecotechnological processes: bioenergy production and wastewater treatment. Ecotechnologies relying on microbiological processes are increasingly used for the production of bioenergy and the degradation of organic pollution in wastewater. Specific attention is paid to the intelligent integration of these technologies into grids and networks, the control and degradation of xenobiotic substances in the process chains as well as the recovery of valuable resources such as nutrients and water. Bioreactors for the evaluation of the energy content of energy plants or organic waste that can be of interest to the water and (renewable) energy sectors will be demonstrated.
  3. Environmental sensing: real-time, high frequency and high density environmental sensing, including remote sensing. Innovative and performant environmental sensors help us to better understand how catchments store and release water and pollutants. Remote airborne sensing technologies and satellite data are increasingly used in combination with geospatial modelling tools to reduce environmental impacts from human activities, e.g. agriculture.  Remote sensing techniques and tools for the forecasting of water flows and risk analysis (e.g. flooding and droughts) that can be interesting for the space sector (new products and services)and agriculture (e.g. precision farming) will be demonstrated. Innovative instrumentation, control and automation schemes for industry can also be derived from high-frequency and density sensors.
  4. Environmental decision support tools: methods and transferable tools for integrative sustainability assessment of products, technologies and policies. Industrial activities and human consumption patterns put considerable pressure on ecosystems and natural resources as well as impact our health. Applicable and reliable tools for environmental impact and risk assessment (e.g. for chemicals) and management support the definition and implementation of safe, resource and energy efficient economic strategies. The Ecodesign tool, which allows integrating sustainability criteria into design of industrial products and processes, will be demonstrated. It is of interest to the manufacturing industry (metals, polymers, wood, construction materials)and  the construction sector (integrated planning). The health sector is targeted as well for aspects of toxicity and environmental health.

Read more: ERIN website