– Basque Environment Industry Cluster
Organisation and structure
ACLIMA is characterized by its vertical nature and its territorial concentration, which promotes the creation of a competitive framework encompassing different kind of enterprises and institutions which interrelate in the field of environment and sustainability. The cluster currently comprises 82 partners, 64 private companies and 18 honour partners that together cover most of the environmental areas, all of them which stress focus on and contribution to research and development activities alongside business agenda.
ACLIMA believes in enhancing the positive spill-over effects known to exist in clusters, and thus has throughout the cluster’s 18 years worked to significantly strengthen the cooperation with local universities, technological research centers and public stakeholders.
ACLIMA continuously aims at improving, extending and effectively maintaining on long-term basis a variety of links in the triple-helix model of universities-industry-government interactions. This has contributed to the image of the Basque Region as the economically strongest region in Spain, and so it continues to attract skilled labor and investments.
Activities and focus areas
ACLIMA has great experience in cooperation between all kinds of environmental branches – from small environmental services bidders to large multi-disciplined companies, and strives at achieving results beneficial to all types of cluster members.
The cluster’s main activities are:
- Identification of synergies and establishment of alliances within and outside the cluster (public administration companies, knowledge agents (technological centres and universities)).
- Promotion of public-private collaboration to promote the development of a favourable framework for Clean-tech companies and a business orientation of the Basque entrepreneurial network towards sustainability.
- Improvement of the competitiveness of companies, identifying new business opportunities through innovation, internationalization and creation of new businesses
Strongholds within waste to energy
The waste as a resource vision is a long term concept managed in the Basque country, a region with few material and energy resources that counts with a huge industrial capacity, this make so important to prevent the loss of resources and make the best out any source of existing raw materials, this fundamental principle has led to generate a long value chain of agents taking part in the valorization of resources contained in waste.
Waste to energy is an important resource in completing the Basque Country’s energy mix and preventing energy loss in the flow of today’s existing materials. In this sense the Basque government has identified new objectives and implemented support instruments for both the private sector and the average citizen in order to speed up the introduction of systems allowing to valorize streams of existing waste materials into either electric power o thermal power, especially highlighting those system that permit to energetically valorize the renewable fraction of biomass waste.
This has allowed the creation of an important industrial base related to energy and waste management, these sectors include great utilities and a large and heterogeneous group of companies – mainly SMEs – that supply goods and services, with the ability to develop solutions related to waste energy recovery in different ways.
What does ACLIMA hope to gain from the Coolsweep project?
This project is an opportunity to bring together all the agents involved in waste to energy sector in the Basque Country, establishing a common framework for operations. Additionally, on a market and technological level, there are certain issues that should be addressed based on the results of the developments of the COOLSWEEP project.
The synergy between the energy policy and the development of waste management is obvious: from degassing landfills using the biogas collected for energy recovery; to anaerobic digestion of organic waste; and the replacement of fossil fuels with waste derived fuels in industrial uses. These technologies are currently conditioned by the excessive predominance of landfills as an option to manage waste, lessening the energy contribution potential that waste could have in the Basque Country. Furthermore, there is a citizenship predisposition to reject this type of technologies and therefore this detains full institutional support.
Expected impact of Coolsweep
- Increase knowledge of new technologies that can lead to the creation of new products and services, and even make changes in the current energy sector that could facilitate the rise of these technologies.
- The contact with other European agents, stakeholders and waste energy recovery-related platforms through the Coolsweep project, will increase knowledge of technological development and innovation in this area, essential to respond at regional level to the challenges and threats that these trends may imply in an increasingly globalised market.
- Enhance competitiveness of the sectors related to waste management and energy that are present in the Basque Country. Coolsweep will position us appropriately (in the market and among other institutions) of the waste energy recovery sub-sector, against other sub-sectors or technologies, such as the classic renewable energies. This project could cover specific deficits in opening the Basque environmental sector to new markets, specifically in the sub-sector of waste management, which is very focused on local markets with very low inertia for internationalization.
- This project will allow us to identify public-private joint strategies to promote the competitiveness of sectors related to waste management and energy with a strong presence in the Basque Country, as a new emerging market niche.
- The project will help us to involve the public sector more actively in the cluster, including regional and local governments, focusing and integrating institutional and governance initiatives that are currently addressed individually in diferent waste regional estrategies. The exchange of knowledge will enable us to benchmark the institutional, regulatory and governance framework with other European regions, which undoubtedly will address the current issues and political conditions