The GreenWin Cluster celebrates its 10th anniversary! As an accelerator of innovative and collaborative industrial projects, the Walloon competitiveness cluster is helping to make Walloon society more prosperous and environmentally responsible. Locally & internationally.
A unifying cluster
“Since it was established in 2011, the objective of the cluster has been to stimulate the Walloon economy, to create stable, environmentally responsible, local and non-relocatable jobs within the region, to accelerate innovative and collaborative projects with an international focus, to facilitate access to funding, and to bring together players from the economic, scientific and academic sectors, as well as from the chemical, construction and Green Tech industries”, explained Françoise Scheepers, Marketing & Communication Manager of the GreenWin Cluster. “In recent years, we have also highlighted the importance of a solid network in order to build together, in harmony, and to obtain multiplier effects. Wallonia is full of talented people, with creative and bold mindsets, who are fully committed to the environmental, economic and digital transition. Simply by being aware of all this, we are already creating possibilities.”
Life cycle ASSESSMENT: an essential step
GreenWin imposes a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) on every project. This is a precautionary measure, encouraged by the European Commission, to counter any undesirable effects arising from innovation. ULiège’s Angélique Léonard, a specialist in the field, explained: “The aim of this method is to measure all the environmental impacts of a product or process throughout its life cycle. It is holistic and quantitative, and covers different criteria. How much CO2 does my activity emit? What impact does the creation of my product have on the depletion of resources, on acidification, on fine particle emissions into the air, etc.?” The benefits of this study are twofold. LCA makes it possible to ask the right questions upfront, to choose the most environmentally responsible alternative, and to minimise the impact of a new product or process. This is what is known as eco-design. In addition, the quantified results can be an asset for environmental communication.
“We strongly believe that we must act. The ideas and concrete solutions exist. Our role is to highlight and support creative people with bold ideas. We are clear and proactive, not blindly optimistic. We are pragmatists.” Véronique GRAFF, Managing Director GreenWin
GETTING READY for another 10 years!
“The pledges we make over the next 10 years”, Françoise tells us, “will be based on four areas: carbon neutrality, sustainable construction, green chemistry and resource recovery. They also support the circular economy, digitisation 5.0 (which puts people at the heart of efforts to meet the issues and challenges involved) and the showcasing of bold and committed Walloon minds. In the aftermath of the floods that ravaged our beautiful region, adapting to climate risks is also an essential and urgent challenge. In short, there is no shortage of projects!”
The GreenWin Cluster in a few figures : 80 % SMEs - 209 members - 68 projects - 64% added value growth rate - 85 000 direct jobs - 160 000 indirect jobs - €15B exports (36% Walloon companies)
FINEO. FINEO has developed a super-insulating glazing that can be installed in new windows as well as in stable older structures. More efficient than triple glazing in terms of thermal and sound insulation, and boasting unmatched elegance, FINEO glazing was designed using vacuum technology. This innovation brings together the construction and environmental sectors, and boasts an understated and efficient design. Thanks to the GreenWin Cluster project, technological options were tested, and choices were made with minimum disruption to the final process. This product is now distributed under the AGC brand, Renowindow.
MEDIX. Conceived, developed and coordinated by John Cockerill Balteau, together with other research partners, MEDIX has invented a way of treating macro and micro pharmaceutical pollutants that are found in the waste water of healthcare institutions and that eventually enter the environment. The concept is based on a small-scale double purification plant that biologically treats the polluted water at source. The consequences for the biotope are immediate. After just a few months, fauna and flora return to places from which it was thought some species had disappeared forever. This is a game-changing Walloon innovation, which efficiently combines chemistry and nature. It is modular and can be installed in urban environments.
SCOT. Piloted by GreenWin, this European project was the origin of the non-profit organisation CO2 Value Europe. Founded in 2017, it has an international scope: it brings together German, French, Dutch, British, and, of course, Walloon industrial giants, who are committed to a greener future by doing their utmost to capture, transform and store the CO2 produced by their activities. Aware of the environmental debt linked to their activities, these business leaders are aiming to meet, or even surpass, the 2025 objectives set by Europe. Wallonia is rapidly becoming a pioneer in CO2 transformation.
…and promising initiatives
RENO+. At a time when the construction sector is under fire for its environmental impact, such as from its CO2 emissions, from its consumption of raw materials, and from its production of waste, RENO+ is a landmark initiative that aims to triple, by 2030, the rate at which Wallonia’s housing stock is renewed, and to create stable local employment. Reuse, adapt and rationalise are the keywords of this project, which was set up with the support of the Belgian Building Research Institute (BBRI) and the Confédération Construction Wallonne (CCW). RENO+ intends to scale up projects to make life easier for contractors, to make energy-efficient solutions available, and to rethink housing in terms of well-being and customisation. Eco-design is also key here.
HECO2. Another initiative, developed in partnership with MecaTech and Tweed with the goal of encouraging polluting industrial companies to change their energy systems while protecting jobs in the region. Switching away from fossil fuels to electricity, green hydrogen, etc., improving competitiveness and, above all, rehabilitating former industrial sites are the main objectives. The project goes so far as to recover the firedamp present in disused mines in order to transform and reuse it, thus turning a problem into an asset and launching a new virtuous cycle. This initiative will have global consequences, and is especially significant for the mining sector.