Past and upcoming events

Pilot training on "Hydrogen Economy" conducted by the Institute for Sustainable Transition and Development

22.11.2022

Pilot training on "Hydrogen Economy" conducted by the Institute for Sustainable Transition and Development under the project Accelerating Sustainable Hydrogen Uptake Through Innovation and Education (KICstartH2)
On November 15 and 16, the first training session on Hydrogen Economy in Bulgaria was held at Trakia University, conducted jointly by the Institute for Sustainable Transition and Development at Trakia University and researchers from the Faculty of Economics. The initiative was organized as part of the project “Accelerating Sustainable Hydrogen Uptake Through Innovation and Education” (KICstartH2), within the European Institute for Innovation and Technology HEI Initiative, funded by the European Union. The aim of the Hydrogen Economy course was to introduce students to the emerging European and global economy based on innovative hydrogen technologies. The training raised questions related to the features of this type of technology, which covers the production, storage, transfer and use of hydrogen in industry, transport, energy, household, and fosters sectoral integration. More than 50 students, doctoral students, faculty and representatives of the non-academic staff of the University successfully completed the training. The leading speaker was Prof. Dr. Daria Vladikova - Head of the project “Accelerating Sustainable Hydrogen Uptake Through Innovation and Education” (KICstartH2). Prof. Vladikova is the Head of the Hydrogen Technologies and Energy Systems Department at the Institute for Sustainable Transition and Development at Trakia University-Stara Zagora and a professor of electrochemistry at the Institute of Electrochemistry and Energy Systems at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. She introduced the trainees to the basis of hydrogen technologies and current policies in the field. The lecturers from the Faculty of Economics - assoc. prof. Georgi Alexiev, PhD and chief assist. prof. Dora Doncheva, PhD, presented topics focused on innovation management, business development and business modeling methods in the field of hydrogen technologies. During the training, a survey was conducted among the participants. The results show that 100% of them have a positive attitude towards the hydrogen economy and consider it to be an important factor in making Europe the first carbon-neutral continent. They find the idea of introducing hydrogen technologies in Bulgaria promising. 10% of the respondents believe that specifically for the Stara Zagora region, the integration should happen smoothly, and the remaining 90% indicated that it is necessary to implement the new technologies urgently. The trainees were asked to justify their answers, the analysis of which highlighted several important reasons for the introduction of hydrogen technologies and hydrogen economy. The main opinion is that this would lead to a reduction in harmful greenhouse emissions, which would contribute to a decrease in environmental pollution. The interviewees indicated that the introduction of these technologies would offer an alternative to energy supply, while at the same time highlight the problem of safety when using hydrogen at home and in industrial conditions. An undisputed motive was also the possibility of restructuring and/or creating new production enterprises, entirely based on hydrogen technologies, which will lead to new employment opportunities.

TRAKIA UNIVERSITY TO ACT AS A FULL PARTNER IN THE EIT HEI INITIATIVE THROUGH ITS INSTITUTE FOR SUSTAINABLE TRANSITION AND DEVELOPMENT

01.07.2022

The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) announced the 26 winning consortia selected to participate in the initiative of EIT HEI with Trakia University in Stara Zagora as one of them. Nearly 300 higher education institutions and their partners from 38 countries will receive a total of up to EUR 31.2 million to strengthen their innovation capacity. Among the winners are 3 Bulgarian universities: the University of Forestry and Technology In Sofia - with a focus on climate change, Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski” with a focus on the problems of ecosystems and Trakia University in Stara Zagora with one of the most significant themes of the century - the absorption of hydrogen. The partners of Trakia University are higher schools from Belgium, Romania, the United Kingdom, Spain and Ukraine, three German and two Italian universities. A higher school from Switzerland is an associate partner. The KICstartH2 Consortium, which brings together nine higher education institutions, two research institutes and one consulting firm for small and medium-sized enterprises, aims to accelerate hydrogen uptake across Europe through education and innovation aimed at students and industry professionals. Through six actions, KICstartH2 will build on the institutional capacity for digitalization, internationalization and cooperation to provide online modules for hydrogen education and business innovation. The first phase of the implementation of the project is from July to December this year, and the second - from January 2023 to June 2024.

THE INSTITUTE FOR SUSTAINABLE TRANSITION AND DEVELOPMENT IS THE NEWEST MEMBER OF HYDROGEN EUROPEAN RESEARCH

05.06.2022

During the event “Days of Science and Innovation. Clean energy, present state and prospects”, which took place on 3 and 4 June in Stara Zagora, Prof . Dr. Daria Vladikova announced the news for ISTD’s membership in the Hydrogen European Research thinktank. Maria Gabriel, the European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, the Deputy Minister of Energy Plamen Danailov, MPs, representatives of the municipality and business, as well as Bart Biebuyck, Executive Director of the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking also took part in the forum. Among the speakers were several representatives of the Institute for Sustainable Transition and Development. On the first day, reports and scientific communications related to the achievements of science, practice and business of using and implementing renewable energy sources, hydrogen technologies, transport and production were presented. Mr. Julian Popov, Member of the Management Board of the IUPR delivered a report on "The transition in the Maritsa-East complex based on the available assets". During the discussion meeting on June 4, Prof . Dr. Daria Vladikova – Head of the Hydrogen Technologies and Energy Systems Department, announced publicly ISTD’s membership in Hydrogen Europe Research. He clarified that this is the second Bulgarian organization besides BAS which was admitted as a member. Prof. Vladikova also presented a report named "Opportunities for Education, Qualification and Retraining", and mentioned the intentions for the implementation of a new project as a master's program. Mr. Rumen Radev, member of the Management Board of the ISTD and Holding Zagora, and Mr. Georgi Simeonov from Stara Zagora Municipality presented a joint project of the municipality and the business.

PRESENTATION OF "THE BULGARIAN MODEL OF AURORA ENERGY RESEARCH"

29.03.2022

On March 28, 2022, a virtual presentation of the Aurora Energy Research model, developed especially for the Bulgarian energy market was delivered by representatives of Aurora Energy Research - a leading international energy analytics company, based in Oxford with an worldwide sphere of activity.
Among the participants in the meeting were the Minister of Energy - Mr. Alexander Nikolov and the Deputy Minister of Energy - Ms. Iva Petrova, representatives of the energy federations of the two independent unions, the administration of Maritza East Mines and the associated TPPs. Attendees asked questions about the opportunities offered by the presented model.
During the event, the issues related to the transformation of Bulgaria's energy system were actively discussed. Speakers John Federsen, Founder and CEO of Aurora Energy Research, Panos Kefalas, Research Fellow for Aurora Energy Research's Electricity and Renewable Market Forecasts in Southeast Europe, explained how their model could apply to our country, and Evangelos Gazis leads Aurora’s team in South Eastern Europe, covering Greece, Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary. Special attention was also paid to the serious difficulties facing the energy market as a result of the military conflict in Ukraine.

WORKSHOP TO PRESENT „THE BULGARIAN MODEL OF AURORA ENERGY RESEARCH“

08/03/2022

Following an approved decision of the ISTD board in January, we shall continue to organize meetings with leading companies in the energy sector. On March 28, 2022 we are hosting a virtual presentation of the Aurora Energy Research model, developed especially for the Bulgarian energy market. Aurora Energy Research is a leading international energy analytics company based in Oxford that operates worldwide.
During the event we will focus on issues related to the transformation of Bulgaria's energy system. Emphasis will be placed on the dynamics of the transition, the role of renewable energy sources and their implications for the stability of the energy system. Rising electricity prices due to increasing gas and carbon costs will also be addressed, and concrete measures will be proposed to address the challenges and reduce the carbon footprint.,
Keynote speakers at the event will be John Feddersen, Founder and CEO of Aurora Energy Research, Evangelos Gazis, Team Leader of Aurora Energy Research in South Eastern Europe, covering Greece, Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary, and Panos Kefalas, Research Associate responsible for Aurora’s South Eastern European Power and Renewables Market Forecasts.
Agenda

A PLATFORM FOR PRESENTATION OF NEW MODELS

09/02/2022

INSTITUTE FOR SUSTAINABLE TRANSITION AND DEVELOPMENT – A PLATFORM FOR PRESENTATION OF NEW MODELS At a meeting of the Board in mid-January, it was agreed to hold a series of working meetings between the board of ISTD, leading companies in the field of energy and stakeholders in fair transition, including the Ministry of Energy, representatives of the two trade unions of energy federations in Bulgaria, as well as representatives of the Mining Federation. The purpose of these meetings is to show models for energy transition in the context of the Green Deal, allowing a "clash" between their concepts to determine the one with the best opportunities applicable in the affected coal regions.
The first meeting was held on January 18, 2022. It was attended by Mr. Dimitar Enchev, managing partner of the risk investment fund - PostScriptum Ventures, who introduced the participants to the company's projects focused on energy transformation in the world. The model he presented was developed over 12 months, focused on Bulgaria and its five neighboring countries and stirred heated discussions. Dimitar Enchev explained that the modeling is done hourly over the next thirty years, based on different criteria.
This meeting was also attended by the Minister of Energetics - Mr. Alexander Nikolov and the Deputy Minister of Energetics - Ms. Iva Petrova. Participants inquired after the opportunities and threats arising from the presented model.

The Institute Joins the Most Prestigious European Scientific Organization on Hydrogen Technologies

01/12.2021

On December 1, 2021, the General Assembly of Hydrogen Europe - Research admitted as its member the Institute for Sustainable Transition and Development, at Trakia University. Hydrogen Europe - Research is one of the three pillars that support the Clean Hydrogen Joint Understanding and represents its European headquarters, coordinating the development of hydrogen technologies, that unite science and industry. 102 European research organizations are already members of Hydrogen Europe - Research - in just 2 years they have grown from 60 to 102. The other Bulgarian representative is BAS, which has been a member since 2014.
The membership enables the Institute to participate in the development of topics for the annual project programmes, and to receive current updates on all hydrogen activities at European level.

Trakia University Participates in the European Platform for Just Transition to the EC

02/11/2021

The Rector of Trakia University, Assoc. Prof. Dobri Yarkov, has been elected a core member of the Just Transition Platform (JTP) Working Group on Horizontal Stakeholder Strategy at the DG Regional and Urban Policy of the European Commission. Trakia University’s Institute for Sustainable Transition and Development has also joined the initiative as a participant in the development of a strategic approach that shall involve stakeholders in the implementation of the Just Transition Fund.
Specialists from the Institute will voice their expert opinion and offer recommendations on issues related to the specific social, economic and environmental challenges in the regions most affected by the transition to a sustainable and climate-neutral economy. Theoretical, experimental and applied research in the field of natural, engineering and social sciences will be carried out, focusing on the application of new scientific knowledge and applied science products, services and public-private partnerships.
The European Commission has launched the Just Transition Platform to help Member States and regions benefit from the support available through the Just Transition Mechanism in carbon-intensive regions. Four working groups will operate as structural units within the platform. Trakia University and the Institute for Sustainable Transition and Development are part of the Intersectoral Coordination Group for the identification and evaluation of approaches and good practices for the involvement of all stakeholders.
The working groups of the Just Transition Platform will be officially presented and will start work during an upcoming meeting in November, 2021.

Green hydrogen production and its future

28/10/2021

Trakia University with Scientific Contribution to New Technologies
An international seminar on new research and innovative technologies for green hydrogen production will be held on 4/5 November 2021 in the Italian capital - Rome.
The event is organized by the Italian Ministry of University and Research and the Bulgarian Ministry of Education and Science, within the Pan-European Initiative SRIA.
The co-organizer of the event and a representative from Bulgaria will be Prof. Daria Vladikova DSc, Head of the Department “Hydrogen Technologies and Energy Systems” at the Institute for Sustainable Transition and Development at the Trakia University, Stara Zagora and Julian Popov, member of the Management Board of the Institute for Sustainable Transition and Development, Trakia University.
During the two days of the seminar will be discussed topics related to the production and storage of green hydrogen, the creation of appropriate transport infrastructure, ways to stimulate the market for its consumption. Gasification, biomass and waste management, new technologies in the field of thermochemistry and photoelectrolysis will also be discussed.
The seminar will take place in a hybrid form. Only the first 68 registered participants with a green certificate for a full vaccination course will be admitted to the Ricerche National Congress Center in Rome. There is no limit to online discussions.
For more information, follow the link: https://www.bmbf.de/bmbf/shareddocs/kurzmeldungen/en/green-hydrogen-for-a-sustainable-future.html

Roundtable “JUST TRANSITION AND INDUSTRIAL MODERNISATION IN BULGARIA”

27/09/2021

The roundtable will discuss the balance between climate action, industrial modernisation and just transition in Bulgaria. The challenge is how to use the large EU financial support for propelling advanced economic development rather than just using EU funds only for limited mitigation of the impact of the transition. The roundtable will bring together leading figures from the European Commission, Government, trade unions and business. The roundtable will prepare key conclusions that should assist the policymaking process and the preparation of the territorial plans for the most affected regions.

Agenda

International meeting

28/07/2021

On July 28, 2021 at Trakia University, Stara Zagora, an international meeting was held between representatives of the Faculty of Economics and Agriculture, members of the Board of ISTD, Mrs. Natalie Samovich and Mr. Mark Rechter, representatives of Resilient Group.
The meeting discussed the Green Recovery Plans set out in the EU's Green Deal. The main emphasis was on increasing the efficiency of available energy resources in a combination of incentives, innovations and investments assisting the growth of solar and wind industries.

Webinar on "Hydrogen and Hydrogen Technologies - Present and Perspectives"

15/06/2021

The topic of perspectives and challenges related to hydrogen and hydrogen technologies was presented by Prof. Daria Vladikova, IEES-BAS and Mr. Rumen Radev, Member of the Board of ISTD and Deputy Chairman of the Board of the Association of Industrial Capital in Bulgaria - AIKB.

Webinar on "Bulgaria's electricity connectivity - national, regional and European perspectives"

29/04/2021

Our guest speakers and the main topics we focused on are as follows:
• Angelin Tsachev, Executive Director Electricity System Operator EAD - "Status and prospects for the physical electricity connectivity of Bulgaria"
• Konstantin Konstantinov, Executive Director Bulgarian Independent Energy Exchange EAD - "Status and prospects for the electricity market connectivity of Bulgaria"
• Ivan Ivanov, Chairman of EWRC / Plamen Mladenovski, EWRC - "Regulatory challenges and opportunities for the European electricity connectivity of Bulgaria"

Webinar on "Territorial plans for a fair transition for regions with an active coal sector"

07/04/2021

ISTD initiated a discussion on the opportunities and challenges for countries such as Bulgaria, Poland, Romania, the Czech Republic and others, in connection with the territorial plans for a fair transition for regions with an active coal sector. The main topics on which the focus of the discussions and debates came can be reduced to:
• The economic opportunities of the regions in the context of the European Green Deal.
• The role of trade unions and employers in the process of fair transition.
• The key challenges and opportunities in the different regions with an active coal sector.
• Potential strategies in developing territorial plans for a fair transition.

International Meeting "Economic Diversification and Transition to Sustainable Development in Mining Areas"

30/03/2021

The virtual event brought together governmental representatives from Germany and Bulgaria, the local administration, business, academia and trade unions to discuss a possible approach to Stara Zagora and the region based on the experience of the German region of Leipzig in the energy transition.
The meeting discussed the long-term perspectives and specific projects / business models for diversification of energy sources, as well as the possible social and environmental effects in connection with the implementation of the Green Deal activities in the region and in particular, the preparation of a Program for energy development of the largest state-owned coal mining company "Mini Maritsa-East" EA, the future of the region and its participation in the Green Deal.
The main focus was on discussing the possibilities for a sustainable growth trajectory and the support of the transition to a low-carbon economy in our country through the development of plans and the introduction of technologies while maintaining employment in the long run.

Workshop with the Management Board of ISTD and representatives of PricewaterhouseCoopers, Bulgaria

18/03/2021

The aim of the workshop was to acquaint the Management Board of ISTD with the work of PricewaterhouseCoopers, Bulgaria on the project for technical assistance for the preparation of territorial plans for a fair transition in Bulgaria, as well as opportunities for interaction and cooperation.

Workshop with the Management Board of ISTD and representatives of the companies from Maritza Iztok Complex

17/03/2021

The first of a series of working meetings between ISTD and representatives of the companies from Maritza Iztok Complex, during which the goals, activities and key directions of ISTD were presented, as well as the opportunities for cooperation in the conditions of fair / green transition. Reports were presented by researchers from Trakia University on "Circular economy in action - biotechnological solutions for carbon dioxide absorption" and by the University of Mining and Geology "St. Iv. Rilski” on the topic “Possibilities for underground storage of carbon dioxide”.

"Establishing a dialogue on the energy transition between the British region of Humber and Stara Zagora"

09/02/2021

The online event was part of the British Embassy's campaign to promote the energy transition and exchange of best practices ahead of the UN Climate Conference COP26 later this year. The purpose of this event was 1) to share lessons from the phased closure of coal-fired power plants in the UK, 2) to establish a link between stakeholders from the Humber region and the municipality of Stara Zagora and 3) to identify initiatives that could help maintain growth, the creation of alternative employment and attracting investment in the municipality of Stara Zagora. The event sought to bring together government, municipal, business, academia and trade unions to learn from the UK's transition to clean energy and discuss what Stara Zagora's approach might be. The aim is to support Bulgaria in its attempts to turn the ambition for an energy transition a reality.