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The Croatian SME EcoEngineering has won the 2006 EUREKA Lynx Award for outstanding technological and commercial achievement. EcoEngineering was a partner in the EUROENVIRON BIOMAC project, contributing essential expertise on the microorganisms best suited for an innovative system for treating industrial and municipal wastewater. The award was presented by J. Havel, deputy prime minister of the Czech Republic, at the EUREKA 2006 Ministerial Conference in Prague.
Commenting on the award, EcoEngineering Director Dr. Vice Soljan said, “We are very honored for two reasons—we are the first Croatian company to win an award through participating in EUREKA, and also we are the first company to win a EUREKA award for both the company and the project.”
EcoEngineering was a partner in the E! 2497 EUROENVIRON BIOMAC project, which was named as joint winner of the EUREKA Lillehammer award for projects in environmental technology.
Wastewater is conventionally biologically treated by bacterial biomass, known as activated sludge, which breaks down waste products into simple forms. However, many toxic substances or complex mixtures of compounds coming from industrial or municipal wastes cannot be broken down effectively in this way. The BIOMAC project developed a new system using specially designed mixtures of different bacteria, in granular form, which can break down even the most toxic wastes.
EcoEngineering supplied its extensive knowledge and its collection of bacteria and yeasts to enable the system to use the optimum mixture for wastewater with any complement of pollutants.
Soljan explained, “What we have done is to open completely new possibilities for biological wastewater treatment. The process is much more efficient than the conventional method; it uses less energy and less oxygen, and produces less sludge for disposal. We have tested and applied our system from laboratory to full scale, and it works even on complex pollutant mixtures such as in wastewater from the pharmaceutical and chemical industries and leachate from landfills. We are now partnering wastewater treatment companies and industries in many countries in western and eastern Europe to upgrade existing plants.”
In addition, at home the company has entered a partnership with the main Croatian water management agency, Croatian Waters, to work jointly on how best to comply with the EU legislation on water supply and pollution control.
EcoEngineering has filed a national patent on its granular biomass formulation. The development has resulted in spectacular success for the company: a 85% total increase in turnover in 2005, of which BIOMAC contributed 82%.
“Being part of a EUREKA project helped us a lot because it helped us to apply our research to the market. It enabled us to become a partner with other organizations and to pool our different sorts of expertise,” Soljan said.