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Separation of small-size mixed plastic fractions and processing into high-quality material

Duration: 10/2022 – 09/2024

ReFiberValue, an FFG-financed cooperation project between Montanuniversität Leoben, Andritz AG and technology start-up Circulyzer GmbH has been successfully launched in October 2022.
Andritz AG produces significant amounts of textile production waste in form of polyamides (PA) and polyethylene terephthalate (PET) which cannot be separated in an economically and ecologically sensible way using the processes currently available. One possible separation technology is offered by Circulyzer GmbH. The ReFibreValue project aims to develop and optimise a separation process that would produce partial fractions that are as pure as possible. Depending on the purity of the resulting fractions, product development is planned for technically demanding applications. A joint effort between the industrial partners, the Montanuniversität Resources Innovation Center and MUL’s chairs of Polymer Processing (KV), Materials Science and Testing of Polymers (WPK), Waste Recycling Technology and Waste Management (AVAW), Processing and Refinement (AuV) will enable the processing of valuable waste and its return to the material cycle, making a valuable contribution to the European circular economy agenda.
The project is a successful collaboration of several MUL Chairs in order to cover the multi-disciplinary expertise around the textile PA and PET value chain from production to disposal and recycling. The Project aims to reach sustainability and climate change mitigation, contributing to the SDG13.

eCircular Flagship

Duration of the Project: 2018- 2020.

eCircular Flagship is an innovation project founded by EIT-Climate KIC.  eCircular Flagship envisions a circular carbon-neutral plastic system in Europe by 2050. eCircular fosters the circularity of plastic-based material systems and dematerialization of urban plastic demand based on preventative and digital solutions. eCircular will become the key European reference platform for radical digital innovation driving plastic waste prevention. The innovations boost smart manufacturing solutions through advanced eco-design approaches, new business models and alternative consumption patterns, as well as, advanced policies and industry standards to foster solutions scale up.

eCircular is an ambitious strategic vision covering the entire value chain, in order to spur growth, jobs and innovation. It also contributes to European leadership in global solutions and to the transition towards a low-carbon and circular economy, whilst providing citizens with a cleaner, safer environment.

The consortium consists of: Montanuniversität Leoben, University of Bologna – Unibo (Lead), Wuppertal Institute, Ecomatters B.V., TU Delft, Lund Universiteit.

The specific objectives and partners’ contributions are divided into seven work packages (WP).

At Montanuniversität Leoben the RIC is the leading partner for WP 3 – Market-Driven Solutions Exploration. Objectives include designing a Regional Hub for plastic waste prevention in Austria, Networking and cooperation with established stakeholders from 2018 and 2019, and co-creation based on the learning loop for the exploration of systemic market-driven innovation for plastics waste prevention (in cooperation with TU Delft). 

Keep Updated by following our eCircular knowledge Center and reading the eCircular Reports publication.

WP3 Lead partner: Montanuniversität Leoben, Lead name: Marinella Passarella, PhD.

The Journey Summer School

The Climate-KIC The Journey Summer School is Europe’s largest climate innovation summer school for graduates and young professionals. The Journey is usually a 4-week full time programme. Participants visit 3 of the 25 locations involved around Europe, focused on climate action, innovation, systems transformation and community building. Since 2010 EIT Climate KIC has promoted 60 summer schools across Europe, generated over 400 project and business ideas, and built a strong global network of over 3,000 peers. In 2019 alone, 60 nationalities were represented in the Journey programme! Once again, RIC Leoben open new innovative routes, hosting the 2020 edition completely remotely: Journey 2020 goes digital! This year the Journey will be held in through July, August and September. The online Journey is unique for its complexity and multiple level of climate actions conserved even in a digital format! Leoben will “host” the first two weeks for 40 of the 400 young professionals that are participating in the Journey all over the world.

Montanuniversität Leoben is partner of this extraordinary education programme managed by RIC Leoben Climate Actions since 2018: ·

  • We Hosted the Final Journey Event in 2018
  • We Hosted as first location the participants of Journey 2019
  • We are the first host location of Digital Journey 2020

The Participants learn how to promote a sustainable economy and mitigate climate change by systemic change. The Journey offers a unique combination of academic study & real-world experience. Around 400 participants come together in a 4-week residential learning Programme hosted by top global universities. The Journey has a global outreach with participants with more than 60 different nationalities. Last summer, 9 Journey Summer Schools, with 360 participants were run parallel in two sets. Each summer school lasted 4 weeks and visited 3 locations. Altogether, 20 European cities and research institutions hosted The Journey in 2019. Our world-renowned experts in climate change, innovation, and business, accompany and support all participants throughout their time in the programme.


Climathon is a year-round programme with a powerful solutions-hackathon at its core, translating climate action solutions into tangible projects, supporting climate positive businesses & start-ups and addressing local policy changes. It takes place on the same day in different locations all around the world. Climathon numbers: 145 Cities, 56 Countries, 6 Continents, 6000+ Participants, 600+ ideas.

RIC Leoben Climate Actions co-ordinated the Climathon involvement of the Montanuniversitaet Leoben:

  • We sponsored Climathon Graz 2018.
  • We sponsored and provided a challenge at Climathon Graz 2019 as well as contributed to the jury panel.
  • We continue to support Climathon Graz by sponsoring and suggesting a challenge also for 2021.
  • In 2021 we successfully participated, together with the chair of industrial logistics, as a Challenge Provider at the Green Tech Jam. Six students from different universities and disciplines solved our challenge and won the first price at this event.

At Climathon Graz 2019, on October 24-25 2019, RIC Leoben Climate Actions linked the eCircular Flagship with the Climathon programme by presenting a challenge. During the ‘solutions-hackathon’ in the city of Graz we supported three participating start-ups, which picked up our challenge. The challenge was ‘Zero Plastic Waste in Urban Areas’ – The usage of plastic should be reduced, optimized and its recyclable potential better exploited. Working groups should think about Graz as a study area, where solutions and ideas could be tested locally, and later be potentially replicated or scaled-up to a regional and national scale.

In 2021 the Climathon Graz will take place as part of the online Green Tech Jam on 16/17 April 2021. The Green Tech Jam is an interdisciplinary student hackathon, which focuses on digital solutions and product ideas for the environmental technology sector. It is organised by the Green Tech Cluster together with the TU Graz (Institute of Interactive Systems and Data Science) and the Climate Change Center Austria (CCCA).

Among six challenges, two official EIT Climate KIC Climathon Challenges with focus on solutions which are generating a positive climate impact will be offered. Montanuniversität Leoben is involved as a challenge provider. The Chair of Industrial Logistics, together with the RIC Leoben, are providing a challenge, where the students should develop a digital solution, in the form of a web application, to increase the transparency of a commercial PET-bottle product cycle (PLC), which provides all the necessary information for consumers to increase sustainable purchasing.

High demand, production and consumption of plastics worldwide have a strong impact on climate change and environmental pollution. This is due to both, the production process, and disposal of plastics, which often is dispersed into the environment with consequent pollution of land, rivers and oceans. Nevertheless, nowadays plastic remains an incredibly useful material, in some cases still essential at several levels of application in society. What appears to be crucial is to reduce the demand and production of single-use plastics products, as well as, to improve the collection, recycling and disposal. Furthermore, the circularity of plastic-based material systems should be accelerated through eco-design, smart manufactory and new business models.

Since society is facing an acute climate crisis and the United Nations has agreed to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals, there must also be a rethinking of consumer behaviour regarding the sustainable use of our resources. Therefore, as a central part of our challenge, the most important information along the PLC, such as, CO2 footprint, country of origin, etc.  to increase the awareness towards more sustainable purchasing, should be made clearly available to the end customer in aggregated form.