Slovenia to get R&D centre for carbon-free technologies

Zagorje ob Savi, 2 September - The National Institute of Chemistry will build a development centre for carbon-free technologies in the Zasavje region, north-east, it announced on Friday.

The centre will develop all technologies for the green transition, such as hydrogen and carbon capture and conversion technologies, and advanced battery technologies.

The institute said that accelerating the green transition is the best way of achieving climate neutrality and securing the EU's energy independence.

The centre will focus on pilot testing of carbon-free innovations for industry; education and training for carbon-free technologies; networking with businesses; participation in international research projects; and development of high-tech research infrastructure.

The Centre for Development, Demonstration and Training for Carbon-Free Technologies will also enhance the transfer of know-how to industry and accelerate commercial deployment.

The government classified it as an operation of strategic importance in the country's programme of European cohesion policy for 2021-2027.

Covering an area of 1,600 sq. metres, the centre will be seated in Kisovec, a town in Zasavje region some 50 km north-east of Ljubljana.

The institute's director Gregor Anderluh finds it crucial that it will enhance the flow of domestic groundbreaking know-how from labs to industry and onto the market.

This will have a positive impact on the Slovenian economy, in particular new products and services related to transition to a low-carbon society, he was quoted in the press release as saying.

While the centre is seen as important for Slovenia and the broader region, it has also been welcomed by local officials in Zasavje, once a coal region that is now getting restructured.

Mayor of Zagorje Matjaž Švagan said the region used to be a heavily neglected "energy valley", while the centre, which he estimates at EUR 25 million, brings new opportunities and better times, including new high-tech jobs.

The centre will feature two labs, one for development, preparation and testing of batteries and another for chemical reaction engineering of CO2 and hydrogen conversions.