Winner waste 2021 – Cres


From waste to green Hydrogen on Cres-Lošinj Archipelago

Winner GTI Awards 2021 – Waste

General information:

Island (Region, Province, Country):
Cres – Croatia

up to 10.000 inhabitants

Budget / cost of the project:
€ 8.000.000

Project partners:
Active Solera

Partner type of involvement:

Active Solera is Cres municipalities’ partner for the deployment of an innovative technology on the island, with the goal to turn organic municipal waste into clean energy for islanders’ consumption. Therefore, AS will (1) provide the technology, engineering/research workforces and technical support to the project, (2) be responsible for relevant studies and permitting procedures, (3) finance, build and operate a SMO unit on Cres Island and (4) operate the plant.

Other partners:


Project objectives:

Like many other Mediterranean islands, Cres-Lošinj Archipelago is a sunny location where limited land availability restricts deployment of classic RES, and where waste production infers management problems. SMO is the first energy-autonomous waste processor using exclusively solar thermal energy to transform carbon-based waste into competitively priced Clean Hydrogen, together with Carbon Products. We will build a pilot plant on Cres, comprising (1) a waste sorting and preparation unit and (2) a SMO unit to daily turn 27 tons of locally available waste and biomass into 2.5 tons of clean, affordable Hydrogen, converted into Electricity sold to the grid for Islanders’ consumption.


Project description of activities and specific interventions:

– Project design and funding: the partners are currently concluding an agreement to allocate project investment, inputs and outputs, and responsibilities. The financing plan is being structured, and the partners are requesting funding from public and private bodies;
– Permits and authorizations: we will hire consultancy companies to (1) prepare pilot plant’s basic design, (2) make an inventory and a roadmap of general legislative steps for project implementation, (3) prepare the permits/authorizations requests, (4) make a grid connection study. A consultancy company will identify subcontractors that might be able to reach requirements, providing a list of reliable companies to invite to tender for the project in Croatia. To consolidate the CAPEX, the consultant will estimate the global cost of the project, including the construction cost, engineering cost, and various costs such as consultancies and building related taxes.
– Plant construction: we will build the plant, composed of (1) a waste preparation unit, to isolate carbon based-waste fractions and convert it to pellets used as input in the process, and (2) a SMO unit, to turn the waste pellet into Clean Hydrogen, converted into clean electricity sold to the grid. Construction phase includes preparatory soil conditioning, construction phase, operations prior to reception, reception and commissioning. The construction will be supervised by an Assistant to the contracting authority.
– Communication: citizens will be consulted when preparing the pilot plant construction on Cres Island, to ensure social acceptance of the project. Therefore, we will organize information-meetings on Cres Island.


Public outreach, education and awareness efforts and results:

SMO solution has earned recognition with the Overseas Tech4Islands Awards 2020, an International competition to showcase concrete and rapidly deployable solutions BY and FOR the “Islands of tomorrow “, where it was one of 4 winners chosen among 186 solutions from 37 countries. Besides, SMO Solution is also the only Caribbean solution receiving the Solar Impulse label, that identifies efficient and profitable solutions to protect the environment.
The project will be presented to the public both by the municipalities of Cres and Mali Lošinj and by the waste management Company “Komunalne usluge Cres Lošinj” commonly owned by the two municipalities. The main communication channels used are dedicated web page “Ekootoci” ( and the leaflets distributed together with the monthly invoices for the waste disposal services.
Winning this GTI award would allow us to communicate widely on the project toward a large audience of islanders, sensibilizing public to our Just transition commitment.


Economic value added and how calculated:

Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) on Cres-Lošinj Archipelago are currently being transferred to the nearest waste processing facility on the mainland, Marišćina. The current price for this service is 70€/ton, representing a cost of 1.5 M€/year for municipalities of Cres and Mali Lošinj. This project will reduce Cres and Mali Lošinj waste management costs from 50%.
Cres and Lošinj Archipelago has a 60 GWh annual electrical energy consumption. Within the project, the partners expect to produce around 10 GWh worth. It will supply clean, affordable, secure energy from Clean Hydrogen each year at competitive cost compared to existing market rates.
The project will generate 15 000 tons marketable carbon offsets annually, currently trended on the ETS upward of 70€/ton, together with 1500 tons carbon black sold around 500€/ton.


Ecological and social project outcomes:

This project will support new value chains in isolated territories where job and value creation often need boosters. A decentralized production system, it will enable islands to be more autonomous and resilient, qualities outlined by the recent COVID crisis.
The project will increase the EU’s climate ambition, capturing and avoiding 15 000t of CO2 per year, acting as a dynamic Carbon Sink.
In addition to producing Clean Energy, the project will recycle the carbon content of 9000 tons waste input annually, including plastics, and market them as valuable feedstock for farming or industry, creating local jobs and new value chains for isolated territories.
The project will also accelerate the shift to sustainability & smart mobility. Whether directly for fuel cell vehicles or by converting to electricity to charge Battery EVs, the Clean Hydrogen will provide solution to decarbonize mobility.

Recycling yard Pržić and waste transshipment station (the communal waste is shipped to the mainland for processing). Near is the former landfill which has been rehabilitated and closed. Within this area the waste preparation unit and the SMO unit will be located. (Author Robi Sablić)
Area view of the island of Lošinj and neighboring smaller islands (Author: Ivan Brčić)