SOCIETY

Six Greek eco-design projects awarded by the OECD

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) awarded six innovative green projects developed by Greeks as part of its annual Global Forum on Eco-innovation in January.

The competition, organized by the OECD to boost environmentally friendly business practices in Europe and to encourage new ideas in countries like Greece, included the participation of 28 Greek projects, representing around 8 percent of the total 490 from 37 countries.

The Greek entries involved sustainable energy (21 percent), sustainable construction (18 percent), clean production (14 percent), sustainable agriculture (14 percent), energy management (11 percent), sustainable transportation (11 percent), information/education (7 percent) and food production (4 percent).

One of the six Greek proposals that was awarded was created by 64-year-old Dimitris Dimos, a breeder of indigenous Greek animals in Trikala who has worked in the sector for 28 years.

His farm, dubbed Dimos?s Ark, is located in the village of Avra and can be visited by appointment only. There, Dimos has 19 Skyros ponies, 60 Thessaly horses, 200 black hogs and 146 of the country?s 220 Greek Steppe cows. They are all free-range and those that are bred for human consumption are free of steroids or medications. The purpose of Dimos?s Ark is to preserve these rare Greek breeds, to boost agritourism in the region and to reduce the impact of livestock farming on the environment.

Apostolos Vlyssidis, a professor of industrial production at the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA), is also concerned about the environment. His innovation is a high-quality commercial organic fertilizer made out of the waste produced by the olive oil industry, which is highly toxic unless processed.

According to the method developed by the professor and his department, and which is patented, the solid and liquid waste is detoxified using iron oxide and hydrogen peroxide. The process produces methane that can in turn be used to to produce thermoelectric energy. The methane is produced by the anaerobic digestion process, which also helps in composting.

?The fluid waste from the anaerobic digestion is used wholly in composting, while the residual thermal energy contributes to speeding up the aerobic process and improving the organic fertilizer that is produced and which can be used on many crops,? Vlyssidis told Kathimerini.

At another lab in the NTUA, in the Applied Mathematics and Natural Sciences Department, the Zero team has spent the past 11 years devising a light electrical town car, which is also patented.

?The main goal is a high level of passive safety in combination with energy saving,? Professor Vassilis Kefalas said, adding that the car is estimated to use 50 percent less energy than a regular town car.

The vehicle is lined inside and out with foam, which protects it from impact, and uses either electricity or a combination of electricity and fuel cells.

For the OECD forum, the Greek company Intelen, which has already built a reputation for itself in Europe and the United States for its innovative designs and research into the energy used in business and home computing, presented energy meters that can record the consumption of buildings in real time.

Green rooms and roofs are the concept behind the work of Kard Architects. ?With the help of a special software program, people can create energy saving models, water management systems, composting models and at the end of the process, the software produces a profile of the qualitative and quantitative benefits for a building,? explained architect Dimitris Raidis.

The company Brite Hellas had the novel idea of making glass panes that produce photovoltaic energy. ?These contribute to increasing the energy efficiency of buildings and reducing airborne pollutants, while their manufacture is environmentally friendly and they are recyclable. The could be used, for example, on greenhouses,? explained Nicoletta Constantinidou on behalf of the company.