The 28th edition of the environment and energy trade fair Pollutec took place in Lyon, France on 27-30 November 2018. A bustling joint stand, organised by the Chamber of Commerce with support from the Luxembourg EcoInnovation Cluster, highlighted innovative solutions developed by Luxembourg companies to address major environmental and economic challenges.

Solution for reducing greenhouse gases

How to combat climate change, notably by reducing greenhouse gases, has been high on the list of the most discussed issues over the last few years. “The development of technological solutions for recycling or converting wastes – gases or liquids – is essential,” says Dr Karim Mati, Product Manager at Carbon Process & Plant Engineering S.A. (CPPE) and one of the exhibitors at the Luxembourg stand. CPPE offers its clients solutions for reducing waste gas emissions generated by their industrial processes and converting captured pollutants into value-added products that can be reused as secondary raw materials.

Tere Group, another exhibitor, has also developed a solution for filtering CO2 and producing vegetable oil to be used as biofuel using the intensive cultivation of algae. The photosynthesis that takes place when the algae reproduce themselves absorb CO2 captured from industrial companies. The algae are fed with organic waste that is difficult to dispose of, for example chicken manure or waste from cheese factories. After a fermentation process, lipids are separated from the algae by electrocution. The complete process results in third-generation vegetable oils that can be used as biofuels as well as dry leftovers that can be used for the production of bioplastics.

Both Dr Mati and Ruggero Marcato, the founder of Tere Group, are very satisfied with the client contacts established at Pollutec. “A number of major French players – EDF, Suez and the French Ministry of Defence, for example – came to see me on the stand, and I made many other contacts,” says Mr Marcato. “This was the second time we participated in a major fair with the support of the Chamber of Commerce – and for a very attractive price.”

A central European business location

Tere Group is the subsidiary of an Italian company, and Mr Marcato points out a number of advantages of being established in Luxembourg: “The country is centrally located and also neutral from a commercial point of view – we are neither French, nor German, nor Belgian, which makes it easy to trade with all of these markets. We are thus well placed from a promotional as well as a logistics point of view.” He also highlights the importance of a recent equity investment in his firm by a Luxembourg-based investment fund.

With a strong focus on innovation and sustainable sectors, Luxembourg is the place to be in central Western Europe.

NCR Biochemical, an international chemical company specialised in water treatment, biotechnology and process additives in the paper and sugar industries, has chosen to locate its Central European office in Luxembourg. “Luxembourg is strategically placed from an economic, business and logistics perspective,” explains Laura Van Gelder from the company’s Customer Service. “With a strong focus on innovation and sustainable sectors, Luxembourg is the place to be in central Western Europe.”

NCR Biochemical participated at the joint Pollutec stand in order to present its clean tech solutions based on synergies between the chemical and biological fields and designed to meet the individual needs of the customer. “Our participation at Pollutec led to numerous contacts across Europe, and also gave us the opportunity to meet important companies in Luxembourg that are very active in the field of green technology R&D,” says Ms Van Gelder. “This considerably increases our potential to find synergies with other industrial companies here.”

Innovative smart mobility

The multi-application compressed air engine developed by Luxembourg-based MDI – Motor Development International was one of the 155 innovations featured at Pollutec. “Powering a vehicle with compressed air is not a new idea,” says Managing Director Monique Bertho. “What is innovative is having mastered the expansion phase of compressed air in order to make this technique efficient to propel a vehicle with acceptable range and speed.”

The company’s latest product, the Airpod 2.0, is a small urban zero-emission compressed air vehicle with a range of 120 km and a maximum speed of 80 km/h. The production of Airpod 2.0 is planned to start in Italy in early 2019, and MDI is looking for other production facilities in order to meet the demand. “Our participation at Pollutec gave us visibility and allowed us to get in touch with players in different regions and countries with whom we entered into a relationship with a view to set up a manufacturing plant for our Airpod,” says Ms Bertho. However, the long-term objective is to set up a factory in Luxembourg and become the country’s first national car manufacturer.

“The main advantage of doing business out of Luxembourg is the proximity and availability of political and institutional decision makers. The process for addressing or sharing one’s business concerns is short and simple,” Ms Bertho concludes.