European Business Briefs: European loans; activated sludge; pulp production

In this week’s European Business Briefs, bank loans to Hungary to rebuild its road, rail and water infrastructures; a wastewater treatment contract; awards for developing and understanding the activated sludge process; and the cancellation of a pulp production project in Indonesia.

The European Investment Bank has agreed five loans totalling €395 million for transport and environmental projects in Hungary. The loans will cover road and railroad rehabilitation works throughout Hungary, as well as environmental projects to improve sewerage networks, water treatment and solid waste disposal. The European Commission is co-financing the projects.

Swedish company Munters has been awarded a contract to supply its BIOdek media for wastewater treatment to UK water company United Utilities, reports Watertechonline. The contract, worth €5.6 million, is part of United Utilities €5 billion investment programme running to 2005. Munters BIOdek media will be installed in more than 20 of United Utilities’ water treatment plants during 2003 and 2004.

The European Water Association has awarded the William Dunbar Medal to Professor Rolf Kayser for his outstanding contributions to the development of the activated sludge process. Prof Kayser developed what is today the most commonly used formula for excess sludge production while working at Texas University in the US. Meanwhile, the French Society of Hydrology has awarded Cemagref researcher Jean-Christophe Baudez the Jean Valembois prize for his advances in the understanding of sludge fluid mechanics.

Dutch company Akzo Nobel has cancelled its plans to participate in the construction of a pulp factory on the Indonesian island of Kalimantan. Friends of the Earth Netherlands campaigned against Akzo’s role in a scheme to replace 50,000 hectares of tropical rainforest with plantations to supply wood pulp to a paper factory. Akzo Nobel originally agreed to build a chemical plant to manufacture bleaching agents for the factory, but later cancelled the deal, stating that it shared the campaigners’ concerns over mismanagement and deforestation in Indonesia.

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