Together for the environment: Italy-Malta

written by: Jenifer Caronia

CRIM-SLOGO-WEB-CRIM-SAFRIAFRI is a project financed by “Italy-Malta Cross Border Cooperation Program 2007-2013”.

This program which involves Italy and Malta was made to support small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and public administration. It is a part of objective 3 of the “European Territorial Co-operation”, better known as Interreg.

Mediterranean area is almost always characterized by technological and expertise deficiency. This program wants to help to bridge this gap.

Nowadays energy production is almost entirely based on the use of fossil fuels. European Union aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase the meaning of sustainable and renewable energy resources.

Market is characterized by an increased demand for products and services with a low environmental impact. This is an opportunity for all industrialized countries to define a new green economy based on renewable resources and energy saving.

Cross-border cooperation program is composed by three strategic axes

  1. Competitiveness: innovation and research, sustainable production.
  2. Environment, energy and preventative measurement.
  3. Technical support, raising awareness, communication and promotion.

CRIM-SAFRI is realized as a part of second axes which aims to create a research center for environmental sustainability and renewable sources involving the territories of Sicily and Malta. The Center supports local authorities and networks of SMEs in the implementation of Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) strategies.

The main objectives are:

  • Create a network of stakeholders for innovation and cooperation between research and industry;
  • Develop, implement and disseminate product-oriented tools and to encourage communication between consumers, suppliers and industry;
  • Support networks of SMEs in the implementation of eco-design directive, design of product with the best environmental performance, implementation of environmental management and energy system;
  • Play the role of advisor for the public administration in the definition of the optimal strategies for Green Public Procurement.

The project started on 15 March 2013 and will finish on 14 September 2015. It involves territories of Palermo, Agrigento, Catania and Malta.

The project leader is the Sicily public authority: “Assessorato Regionale Territorio e Ambiente –Dipartimento Urbanistica”. It operates with other seven Italian and Maltese partners: Università degli Studi di Palermo – Dipartimentodell’Energia; Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche – Istituto di Biomedicina ed Immunologia Molecolare “AlbertoMonroy”; Assessorato Regionale dei Beni Culturali e dell’Identità Siciliana – Dipartimento dei Beni Culturali e dell’Identità Siciliana; Camera di Commercio, Industria, Artigianato Agricoltura di Agrigento; Med.O.R.O. Organizzazione per la ricerca, l’occupazione e lo sviluppo territoriale nel Mediterraneo; Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology (MCAST); Malta Intelligent Energy Management Agency (MIEMA).

This project is important not only for the dialogue between researchworld, enterprises, stakeholder and local authorities. In an institutional point of view this cross-border cooperation will allow the interface between Italian and Maltese Environmental Minister. In this way they will collaborate and they will compare their ideas and will exchange their competences.

The research project is worth €2,191,647.00. It is part-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) (85%) and National fund (15%). It is focused on the support of SMEs mainly working in building and construction sectors.

Results are coming out, in Malta the Research Center situated at the MCAST Institute of Applied Science, has set up a Biomass Pilot Plant and a Biomass Research Centre. The Biomass Pilot Plant, which operates from Eurocraft Joinery Ltd at Ta’ Qali, converts construction wood waste, including saw dust and wood shavings, into energy. In future this energy will be exported into the national energy grid. This will make the firm’s operational activities more sustainable and will also reduce the need for the firm to dispose of its waste materials.

Through pilot project created by MCAST there is new knowledge into how companies can become more sustainable by convert their waste into energy.

Nowadays the environment preservation for future generation and a more aware use of energies are themes that involve all world and CRIM-SAFRI wants to contribute to achieve these objectives.