By Francesca James

Funding worth €35 million for 42 eco-innovation projects selected under the 2010 Competitiveness and Innovation Programme (CIP) is now coming on stream, as applications are ongoing for the 2011 call for proposals.

Last year's successful applicants include a non-invasive method to repair leaks in water pipes; acoustic panels to dampen noise from railways using rubber from old tyres; biodegradable interior panels that can reduce the weight of an aircraft by 15%; a fermentation process that allows CO2 recovery in breweries; and a prefabricated housing system made of locally sourced renewable materials (wood and straw).

The 42 projects cover a wide range of environmental innovations that have one thing in common: they all contribute to protecting our precious environment while sharpening Europe's competitive edge.

Commenting on the new projects, European Commissioner for the Environment Janez Potočnik said: "These eco-innovations are a great source of inspiration. They show a more environmentally-friendly, yet highly successful way of doing business in Europe. And I am delighted to be able to say that the funding available for 2011 is €38 million — an increase of three million from last year — but still far below the increasing level of demand."