AUTH and SWU have strong collaboration ties that date back to 2000. Like all tertiary education institutions, they are under national pressure to adapt to shrinking budgets, while at the same time expand their level and number of services. As such, they are always on the lookout for new opportunities with common benefit. Since they also have a predominant role in the developments of the greater region, being the major educational and research Institutions in the cross border area, they acknowledge, and respond to all major challenges in the area. In fact, there are frequent exchanges of scientists in many fields and this enables them to act swiftly at an institutional, local or regional level.
In one such meeting, the idea to enhance water management and utilize in the best possible way water currently send directly to the waste water network, came up. A thorough analysis of the specific idea has revealed that some additional partners would be needed to fill in the gaps that emerged, as well as to extent it with more actions that meet additional challenges (such as energy management). To be more specific, we decided to include several more beneficiaries (TEI-CM - Serres, and EMATTECH - Kavala, and the municipalities of Pylaia and Petrich) early on. These would serve to provide additional test cases with different initial parameters (TEI-CM and EMATTECH), give additional expertise in the technical studies that will be performed (TEI-CM and EMATTECH), present a view of the potential end user (municipalities), and cover wider geographical areas than just Thessaloniki and Blagoevgrad (Serres, Kavala, greater Thessaloniki area, Blagoevgrad, Petrich).
Besides, the greater challenge to be dealt with in GREEN PUMP is that of enhancing water management. The greater region, although rich in terms of water resources, has poor history in terms of its adequate management. Indeed, heavy rainfall in areas with increased groundwater table can lead to basement flooding in both countries. There is increased demand for ideas that can help prevent damage to public buildings as well as households. At the same time, the growth of the major city centres in each region (i.e. Thessaloniki and Blagoevgrad) leads to increased pressure in water resources and production of potable water. Potable water that is to great extent wasted in non potable uses. Potable water that needs chemicals for cleaning.
In addition to water management, energy management is also an issue that concerns the cross border area. Economic pressure because of the reduced central government support, and need for greater autonomy due to the lack of fossil fuel or other energy resources, make the exploitation of thermal energy from groundwater resources an opportunity not to be missed. Besides, geothermal energy is a relatively cheap source of renewable energy.
The adaptation of both water and energy management innovative ideas and technologies have been proven to attract the interest of local and regional authorities, and as such, we expect that GREEN PUMP will be accepted with enthusiasm by their respective technical services.
Finally, we expect GREEN PUMP to become a proven working version of a potentially commercial, but surely viable, installation for efficient water and energy management with decreased environmental footprint. We plan to show that such installations can be used to save money, as they require minimal maintenance costs and despite the initial installation cost, they are money savers in just a few years time. As such, it is logical that public administration regional authorities will consider paying the installation bill in many of the studied cases.
Thus, through the publicity actions we hope to lead to the creation of innovative SMEs that can take up commercially this idea and spread its use in both countries, or even further. In fact, such an action will be emphasized in the closing event and the related actions of the project (final workshop) where we plan to contact and incubators and chambers of commerce of the area.