The Slovenia Times

Carbon-free technologies to be developed in mining region

Science & Technology
The location of the new Carbon-Free Technology Demonstration and Training Centre in Zagorje ob Savi. Photo: RRA Zasavje

The Institute of Chemistry has been given the go-ahead for a €32 million Carbon-Free Technology Demonstration and Training Centre in Zagorje ob Savi. This is the largest project in the restructuring of Zasavje, a region in central Slovenia that abandoned coal mining a decade ago.

The bulk of the funding for the project, €27.3 million will come from the Just Transition Fund of the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Innovation. The centre is due to open in 2025.

According to the ministry and the Zasavje regional development agency, the first instalment of €10 million in advance payment should be paid out by the end of the year.

The centre will be the first public scientific research institution in the region of Zasavje. It will focus on research of advanced technologies and host two laboratories, for hydrogen technologies and battery technologies.

The centre will also conduct research into technologies for capturing carbon dioxide from the air.

According to Martin Šikovc, head of the Zasavje Centre for a Just Transition, the fund's release of funding is a key step towards implementing the vision of sustainable development and improving the quality of life in the region, which has also been highlighted as good practice by the European Commission.

The approval of the project is an important milestone for Zasavje. "The Just Transition Fund has already allocated 48% of the funds for the Zasavje region through the direct approval of this operation and the calls for tenders for economic and business zones and incubators, which amounts to around €36 million of the €75 million envisaged," said Jani Medvešek, head of the Zasavje regional development agency.

The new centre, which is due to open in 2025, will be located on the premises of the plant Skitti in Kisovec. The 1,600-square-metre centre is to contribute to the diversification of the economy in Zasavje and job creation. It is to employ 30 highly trained staff.

Zasavje is one of two Slovenian coal regions apart from Savinjsko-Saleška that is eligible for funding from the EU's Just Transition Fund to transition towards climate neutrality. Savinjsko-Saleška in the north is home to Slovenia's only active mine, Velenje, as well as a coal-powered thermal power station.


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