University of Maribor, Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering is a public institution which offers academic education programmes at the three bologna levels, and a higher professional education programme. Faculty is organized in 9 different laboratories, one of the strongest being the Laboratory for Process Systems Engineering and Sustainable Development (PSE & SD).
The laboratory, established in 1981, is an important research centre in Europe and provides high-quality expertise in the PSE & SD area. The main topics of its teaching and research are, among others, energy integration of processes to minimize energy use; waste and water minimization; cleaner production, Life Cycle Assessment, sustainability indicators; sustainable university, ranking of universities.
Members of the Laboratory for Process Systems Engineering and Sustainable Development have recently participated in several international projects:
- CPP – Clean products and processes (NATO/SPS Pilot study, Phase II, 2003–2008). A model for assessment of sustainability was developed uising economic, environmental and social indicators – three sub-indices were composed and integrated into the sustainable production index. Rational use of mterials and energy in industrial plants has been considered. University education programmes in several European countries and USA have been compared to find common characteristics of the curricula and textbooks in sustainable sdevelopment, and environmental science and engineering. Sustainable university definition and characteristics have been looked for, and the activities to evolve into a sustainable university elaborated.
- TOSSIE – Towards Sustainable Sugar Industry in Europe (6th Framework Programme, 2006–2008). Development of alternative process technologies to improve manufacturing efficiency and eliminate environmental risks: utilisation of by-products using biotechnology; engineering and management tools for optimising the efficiency of raw material use, and energy and water use. Education and training of personnel for a sustainable EU sugar sector, as well as sustainability indicators for sugar-beet based value chain were developed.
- BIOPUR – Development of biopolymers from waste wood biomass (Eureka E!3611, 2006–2008). Development of methods that enable the preparation of controlled composition of lignin from waste biomass The main objective of the project was development of biopolymers, particularly the polyol, and their rapid introduction to the market.
- PSIE – Postgraduate School of Industrial Ecology (Marie Curie Actions, 2007–2009). Development of training courses for early stage researchers and postgraduate students. During the project seven courses were developed: Industrial Ecology, Life-Cycle Assessment, Value Chain Modelling, Eco-Design, Resource and Recycling Management, and Sustainable Production and Consumption.
- EINSTEIN – Expert-system for the Intelligent Supply of Thermal Energy in Industry (Intelligent Energy – Europe, 2008–2010). Development of software tool-kit for fast and high quality thermal energy audits in industry, composed by an audit guide describing the methodology, and by a software tool that guides the auditor through all the audit steps.
- TRUST IN – European Training Partnership on Sustainable Innovation (Leonardo da Vinci Partnerships, 2010–2012). The main role of UM FKKT was to outline an European Training Course on Eco-efficiency, and additional sector or area specific training courses in relevant topics, targeting tehnical staff from companies and municipalities to be applied by VET institutions, or used for development of new training materials or courses. The project aimed to increase knowledge and qualifications of the target groups in the field of eco-efficiency and sustainable innovation all over Europe, and thus contribute to reaching the EU goals in sustainable development area.
Role of UM in the project:
- Contribute to the mapping exercise in Slovenia.
- Assist in the development of an online platform of resources as well as get familiarised and review the online tool.
- Translate project materials into the national language.
- Contribute to the bi-annual newsletters.
- Provide feedback to the Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) framework.
- Contribute to the dissemination and exploitation of the project outputs, outcomes and future network activities.
- Participate and actively contribute to the discussions generated in regional and annual meetings, seminars and conference.
Operational and financial management:
- The project team will coordinate the above administrative and academic project activities.
- Financial administration will be handled by project team who will liaise internally with the institution’s finance department.