Zero‐waste energy‐efficient agricultural communities in the
Greece - Republic of North Macedonia cross‐border area
A FEW WORDS ABOUT THE PROJECT
The ZEFFIROS project works on the creation of a sustainable model of bio-waste management to be used by regional authorities within the boundaries of the cross-border area, namely the municipalities of Serres, Emmanuel Pappa and Dojran. The project designs and implements unique pilot biogas units that leverage agricultural and livestock resources in the cross-border area to create a local development model based on the principles of a circular economy. This model will be used to enhance food safety, air quality, and efficiency of agricultural resources, to improve environmental and living conditions in the area and to upgrade regional human capacities in bio-waste management.
The project intends to develop effective and sustainable solutions to existing problems in the area, such as illegal dumping of farm waste and associated unused by-products, intensive use of soil-conditioning chemicals with respective effects on food and water safety, excessive costs of bio-waste disposal that endangers business viability of local processing plants, and continuous degradation of economic and environmental sustainability in the region due to its dependence on fossil fuels.
The project aims to develop a sustainable, long-term and easily transferable model for application in other areas with similar characteristics, as a direct result of the following activities:
- Development, construction and operation of two (2) pilot biogas units of anaerobic digestion that process different bio-waste mixtures coming from the local environment
- Contribution of the processed bio-waste energy content from these units to reduce municipal energy costs for local public infrastructures
- Development of business and operational models for sustainable management of the pilot biogas units for beyond the project duration
- Value chain development support for the operation of pilot biogas units, including biomass collection - biogas energy use - utilization of composted digestate.
- Human capacity building for farmers, stockbreeders and other food-processing professionals in the region on how to adapt to the new conditions and upgrade their activities to seize opportunities in the circular economy
- Development of bio-waste management skills for municipal staff
- Awareness raising and changing local attitudes in the cross-border communities towards organic waste composting at home or in the neighbourhood.
The model demonstrated by the ZEFFIROS project is going to deliver a direct positive effect by:
- Developing the region's main agricultural and livestock production sector by adopting circular economy principles that offer new opportunities for synergies between local businesses in all sectors
- Creating new jobs and business opportunities
- Reducing dependence on fossil fuel consumption to cover energy needs
- Upgrading the region's natural resources
- Improving the environmental and social conditions in the area
- Expanding the management capacity of local and regional authorities in the area
- Creating environmentally-aware local communities
- Improving the standard of living in the local area.
The ZEFFIROS project is designed to ensure the sustainability of its results after the project is finished, to realize the long-term benefits and expected impacts on the participating cross-border areas and their communities.
PROJECT BENEFICIARIES & BUDGET
The ZEFFIROS project aims to implement the first, one-of-a-kind, biogas energy production pilot installations in two sites, Serres and Dojran, designed and operated through inter-municipal cooperation and cross-border exchange of knowledge and good practice.
Named after Zeffiro or Zephyro, the God of west wind or God of Spring, the project aims to bring a transformative wind in the region towards zero-waste agriculture and the circular economy, leading to rural development and jobs creation.
ZEFFIROS capitalises on a 4-year long investment made by its Lead Partner, the municipality of Serres, who has already received an official approval based on the Environmental Impact Assessment for the installation of an anaerobic digestion biogas plant of 250KW nominal power in the Elaionas Livestock Farm (ELF).