BOKU and BDI – winners at Energy Globe Awards Austria

EBA’s Mebers take home two awards for best environmental projects in two different categories

After a 17-year long tradition, the Energy Globe Awards is one of the most prestigious environmental awards of today.  Every year, around 800 sustainable projects are submitted and presented to a wide audience. The international awards include five categories Earth, Fire, Water, Air and Youth, and in addition this year also presented an award for “Sustainable Plastics”.

BOKU University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, members of the EBA Scientific Advisory Council, won the “Sustainable Plastics” award with the project CO2USE. In this project, CO2 and light from the coal power plant were used to grow the microorganisms called cyanobacteria. These cyanobacteria are able to produce a bioplastic molecule – the biodegradable biopolymer polyhydroxy butyric acid. The rest of cyanobacterial biomass was used as substrate to produce biogas and also, the nutrients were recycled. One of the main advantages resulting from this process, is the saving of agricultural land by the recovery of the greenhouse gas CO2. By substitution of persistent plastics by biodegradable biopolymers contamination of soil and water and the resulting effects on humans and animals can be greatly reduced. The CO2 emissions of coal-fired power plant can be reduced by 340 tons, since the carbon present is bound as part of the biomass structure. The recycling of nutrients by anaerobic digestion 5,700 kg nitrogen, 1,470 kg of potassium and 590 kg of phosphorus can be saved over a year. Within the process 395.9 MWhel and 494.9 MWhtherm can be produced, which leads to reduction of 100 tons of coal for electricity generation.

This year’s overall Globe Awards Austria winner is a project “Green Brewery Göss” realised by BDI – BioEnergy International AG, one of EBA’s company Members. Brewery Göss is a part of the Heineken family and one of the most important breweries of Brau Union Österreich. Brewery residues are recycled in a spent-grain fermentation plant, and biogas is produced for the energy supply of the Göss brewery. In addition, the digestate, a by-product of the spent-grain fermentation plant, is used as high-quality fertiliser. Through the use of 100% renewable energy in the production of beer, a 100% CO2-neutrality is achieved. Harald Raidl, the master brewer stated: “The Göss Brewery is situated in a beautiful environment, so it is very clear to us that we have a responsibility to protect the natural world. We’re hoping our pioneering ‘green’ brewery becomes best practice wherever feasible.”