April 2022 is marking an important milestone for the GRETE project consortium: month 36 of the 4-years-collaboration, precisely one year left to its conclusion. Coming together in a physical meeting after 4 online editions over the past two years felt unusual and exciting at the same time. Almost all partners were able to join, which reduced the hybrid interactions to a minimum and helped to strengthen the bond between the several project contributors.
Project coordinator Stina Grönqvist from VTT implemented the 2-day meeting structure experienced in the online gatherings, while several additional activities helped to exploit the trip to Aveiro (PT) and its surroundings. The town is the second most populous city in the Centro Region of Portugal and hosts the University of Aveiro, consortium member and leader of the work package related to the regeneration of the GRETE man-made cellulose fibres. The University Campus of Santiago, where the GRETE partners met, was built in the late 1980ies by architect Nuno Portas, who coordinated a team of some of the most prestigious Portuguese architects of the time, including Álvaro Siza Vieira. Being there physically allowed for a sneak peek into the labs of the chemistry department guided by Armando Silvestre, director of the chemistry department, and João Coutinho, coordinator of the associate laboratory CICECO.
Near to Aveiro is located also Celbi, the Portuguese industrial partner supporting the project’s research in a consistent manner. After a short bus trip, the GRETE delegation arrived at Celbi’s premises: the company established in 1965 was refurbished at the beginning of the century after entering the Altri Group and the meeting participants enjoyed the plant visit of the modern short fibre paper pulp and electricity producer.
Besides offering a moment for the consortium to update all members about the ongoing activities, share the achieved results and coordinate for the upcoming steps, this meeting allowed to finally get to know in person some of the stakeholder group members and have a direct exchange. After the presentation made by Ali Harlin of VTT introducing the challenges the textile industry is facing and how the GRETE solutions help to overcome the current bottlenecks, the consortium members reflected on the hurdles that need to be addressed and the actions that are requested, in addition to an adequate commercial offer, from the consumers and the governments with specific policies to make the transition to a more sustainable textile industry happen.
The interaction and discussion during the meet-up of both, the consortium members having not met for a long time, and external stakeholders finally being able to approach the partners in an informal manner, triggered interesting conversations and new food for thought that makes the next meeting planned in October already a highlight for the upcoming months of work. And, the dates for the final event have been set: the GRETE project will be present at the next edition of the International Conference on Cellulose Fibres to be held on March 8 + 9, 2023. Save the date and subscribe to the newsletter to keep up to date.