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09.03.2017 - Promising cross-border projects for the Greater Region

Four new EU-funded projects at the University

From safer drinking water to human-robot interaction: the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) will provide 1.6 million euros to four innovative research projects in which the Faculty of Science, Technology and Communication (FSTC) of the University of Luxembourg is involved. These programs, run in partnership with several universities, aim to improve environmental protection and reinforce economic competitiveness and attractiveness of the Greater Region.

The funding is provided by the Interreg V A Greater Region Programme 2014-2020, which supports bi- or multilateral cooperation initiatives that fall into the categories "Employment / Territorial development / Economy". In addition, these projects strengthen cross-border cooperation among leading actors in the region.

Reducing pollutants in our drinking water

Micro-pollutants such as drugs and pesticides are increasingly detected at the effluent of municipal wastewater treatment plants. These are difficult to eliminate and are traceable in drinking water. The EmiSûre project aims to develop strategies to reduce the emissions of these micro-pollutants into the waterbodies of the German-Luxembourg cross-border area. “We will test resource-saving, energy-efficient and clean technologies based on reed beds and soil-filters, we will elaborate and analyse different scenarios and finally develop a masterplan for the Greater Region”, explains Joachim Hansen, Associate Professor of Urban Water Management at the University of Luxembourg.

Avoiding waste of renewable energies

With the increase of renewable energies, energy providers are facing challenges to manage energy surpluses. These have to be properly tackled to maximise the use of green energies. Pth4GR²ID,which stands for “Power to Heat for the Greater Region's Renewables Integration and Development” will focus on the use of heat pumps as a storage solution to match demand and electricity production. Frank Scholzen, Associate Professor of Engineering at the University of Luxembourg comments: “Our main challenge is to find a technical, economic and ecological solution to increase the value of local surplus of renewable electricity production from the Saar and the Rhineland to neighbouring areas through intelligent management.”

A software to support logistics

The PowerRegproject will optimise processes to transport and store granular materials, which is used for manufacturing and storage, in industrial sectors. “These sectors (agri-food, chemical, pharmaceutical and building industries) need to benefit from the latest technological advances. They must increase their innovation capacity to better produce and transform high added value products. An innovative software platform will be developed to create a programme of excellence”, says Bernhard Peters, Professor of Thermo- and Fluiddynamics at the University of Luxembourg.

Moving forward in the niche market of human-robot interaction

To create teaching and research synergies in robotics between key players of the Greater Region, the Robotix-Academywas launched as a cross-border research centre for industrial robotics. Peter Plapper, Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Luxembourg, adds: “By identifying common issues, pooling resources and expertise, this unique platform will enable to develop new technologies and skills in the fields of industrial robotics and human-robot cooperation”.

The projects are organised in the context of the University of the Greater Region (UniGR), a network of the Universities of Kaiserslautern, Liège, Lorraine, Luxembourg, Saarland and Trier 

Building on this success, seven more project proposals with FSTC participation have been submitted: five within the Interreg Greater Region programme and two within the Interreg North-West Europe programme.