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Croatia to Pioneer Energy Conversion Plant from Waste and Sludge

Croatia is set to construct its first energy plant dedicated to converting waste and sludge into energy at the Bikarac Waste Management Centre (CGO) in the Šibenik-Knin County

Funded by a €3 million grant from the Environmental Protection and Energy Efficiency Fund, this project marks a significant step towards sustainable waste management.

Operational for two years, Bikarac is poised to become the first CGO to house an energy plant, as revealed by Fund Director Luka Balen at the 11th International Environmental Protection Conference. The facility will transform waste and dried sludge into thermal and electrical energy, promoting circular economy principles by turning waste into a valuable energy source.

Currently, Croatia operates four CGOs, with plans to expand to eleven by 2024, supported by nearly €42 million in funding. Maja Feketić, Head of the EU Funds Sector at the Environmental Protection and Energy Efficiency Fund, emphasized the critical role of such projects in meeting the EU’s waste reduction targets for 2035, which aim for only 10% of waste to be landfilled.

Luka Balen, foto: Fond za zaštitu okoliša

The comprehensive project at CGO Bikarac includes feasibility and environmental impact studies, with documentation for the energy plant expected by 2026, followed by applications for international co-funding. Robert Podrug, Director of Bikarac, highlighted the project’s goal of achieving the highest ecological standards, using waste and sludge as resources for energy production. The generated electricity will be fed into the national grid, while the thermal energy will serve the nearby Podi industrial zone.

Feketić noted that the completion of all eleven CGOs will generate approximately 400,000 tonnes of refuse-derived fuel annually, addressing a significant gap in Croatia’s current infrastructure for energy storage from waste, aside from the cement industry. 

In 2023, the Fund launched a €400,000 public call for pilot projects to harness waste energy potential, with nine applicants. An additional €900,000 call for local government units is anticipated this autumn.

This initiative underscores Croatia’s commitment to sustainable development and innovative waste management solutions, positioning the nation as a leader in environmental stewardship within the EU.

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