Author Archives: Ines Kantauer

LooPi is the winner of the Green Concept Award 2021 in the Category “Architecture and Tiny houses Start-up”

LooPi® won the Green Concept Award 2021 in the category Architecture Architektur & Tiny Houses.

„Loopi has an interesting approach, it would be nice if there were more such public toilets in the future.“  Official Green Product Award Statement

LooPi® is an autonomous plant-based unisex urinal for public spaces. Flushing water is treated in an integrated vertical constructed wetland, and reused for flushing. The plants take up the nutrients, thereby cleaning the water. Surplus nutrients are absorbed at biochar, made from agricultural residues. Saturated biochar can be used as soil conditioner. LooPi® can be used contactless and hygienic by all genders, including children. LooPi® is made of stainless steel and includes 200 plants from 30 species. LooPi® is both: a functional urban green infrastructure and a public sanitation facility.

The Green Product & Concept Award is awarded annually to products & concepts that stand out in terms of design, innovation & sustainability. The best 100 products and concepts were nominated. The winners came from Germany, India, Canada, Netherlands, Austria, Spain, Taiwan, USA, among others. They were presentedduring the award ceremony by jurors – Katja Reich (DBZ), Tina Kammer (InteriorPark.) Prof. Kiersten Muenchinger (University of Oregon), welcomed and awarded.

You can watch the record of ceremony 2021 online.

Renewable Materials Conference 2021

Online event – Three-day program:

Which renewable materials are solutions that meet the needs of future societies? As a response to this challenging question, nova-Institute has decided to unite all relevant industries in the new “Renewable Materials Conference”, May 18–20, 2021, featuring a unique concept to present all renewable material solutions at one event: bio-based, CO2-based and recycled. There is a growing market demand for advanced and ready-to-use renewable material solutions with a low carbon footprint – that are fossil-free.

For the first time, nova-Institute jointly presents all renewable material solutions: bio-based, CO2-based and recycled. Highlights and innovations of bio- and CO2-based chemicals and materials, and of chemical recycling will be presented. Or in other words: All material solutions based on renewable carbon – avoiding the use of additional fossil carbon.

Program of the “Renewable Materials Conference”

Innovation Award “Renewable Material of the Year 2021”

For the first time, the innovation award “Renewable Material of the Year” will be awarded to the most exciting new materials made from renewable carbon! The application period is open until 31 March, pioneers from all sectors are invited to submit their innovation

A jury consisting of experts from nova-Institute, the advisory board and sponsors of the event will nominate the outstanding “Top 6” applicants prior to the conference. The nominees will present their innovation in a 10-minute presentation to the audience on the second day of the Renewable Materials Conference (19 May 2021). The audience will vote online for the three winners. The innovation award is sponsored by Covestro (DE).

Find all information about the new conference

Our alchemia-nova community gets a 20% discount. Just use the code: alnova21 for your online registration at

Renewable Material Innovation Award

Renewable Material Innovation Award


Our GRETA green façade panels for greywater treatment can be admired at MUGLI.

MUGLI is a mobile showroom for building greening and is operated by the GRÜNSTATTGRAU competence and network centre. By providing information and knowledge to the general public, MUGLI aims to set impulses for more green in densely built cities. As a modular experimental room, it is perfectly suited for the demonstration of our innovative GRETA panels, which allow a triple use of water and thus save resources.

GRETA was developed as an external façade panel within a research project, the goal of which being, to use construction and demolition waste for new construction elements (EU-project Green INSTRUCT,GA-No 723825). The results are prefabricated modular façade panels consisting of more than 80% from recycled material.

During the summer 2020 MUGLI was presented at the Stadtraum am Kempelenpark in Vienna Favoriten. From 8th of September 2020 it can be visited at the IBA exhibition in the former Sophienspital in Vienna in Stollgasse 17, 1070 Vienna.

Around the MUGLI you can find many bars, foodtrucks and relax in the beautiful outside area of WEST.

Biological Engineering in China

Upon invitation of Ramboll Studio Dreiseitl Beijing, a delegation of alchemia-nova conducted a three-days’ workshop on selected methods of Biological Engineering in Chengdu, China, at the Chengdu Tianfu International Aerotropolis project site. The aim was to equip the stakeholders on site with the knowledge and skills necessary to conduct the planned big-scale river construction using the nature-based methods of Biological River Engineering.


Layman’s Agromine Report

Farming for Metals: 

Layman’s Agromine Report got published (see below) and includes information about the Life AGROMINE project which uses nickel-accumulating plants to extract nickel from soil and store it in the above-ground biomass.

Find here the report in EN, DE, AL, ES, FR, GR to download:

The picture shows a field of hyperaccumulated plants in Albania (Poskje)

Video Houseful Upcycling Session

Video Release of the HOUSEFUL Upcycling Workshop! The social project was launched by alchemia-nova in collaboration with Caritas Wien. The workshop brought together a diverse group of refugees that gave birth to a upcycled office space.

The new creation of furniture was under the guidance of Christina Skrabal from the design label “Miststück” with support from Helmut Schabschneider.

The inspiring project was a platform for integration and sustainability, helping to create job opportunities and skills, and recycle materials that would otherwise be discarded as waste.

Find the video in a high resolution at vimeo

Article in Ecological Engineering

The article “Long term decentralized greywater treatment for water reuse purposes in a tourist facility by Vertical Ecosystem” written by our colleague Andrea Zraunig with the assistance of Heinz Gattringer and Johannes Kisser published by Elsevier is available on ScienceDirect – anyone clicking this link before September 18, 2019 will be taken directly to the article. You are welcome to read or download – no sign up, registration or fees are required.


A horizontal flow wetland was integrated, in a cascading vertical set-up (vertECO), in a Mediterranean tourist facility for decentralized treatment of real low load greywater streams – see demEAUmed project.

Picture: Journals Elsevier

#2 stand-up innovation

“If you recycle bad stuff, it gets caught in endless loops that keeps getting added to. This harms everyone. “

Inspiring evening of ideas for how to deal with materials in a circular economy – alchemia-nova’s second stand-up innovation event took place on 12th of June, 2019 at Impact Hub Vienna. How we see, distribute and set legal requirements for materials will be a major challenge for the next years.

“Less is more – this is the key to circular materials.” Johannes Kisser, alchemia-nova

Johannes Kisser, CEO of alchemia-nova research, made clear how necessary it is to start thinking in circles, like nature always has. The system has to change if we want to protect the environment for future generations. Labels try to protect us from wrong decisions when buying. Apps, like Codecheck, help us detect possible harmful ingredients when shopping for food and cosmetic products.

“It’s a way of thinking – not reducing harm but feeding the system with positive nutrients. “ Johannes Kisser, alchemia-nova

Why do we need that many additives and ingredients, when nature can create all shapes and forms with just 5 polymers? Once we start using positive lists instead of negative lists, we can ensure that our materials and products are save and can be kept in the loop.

“Nature’s principles should be implemented into products. You can build any kind of product with this mindset.” Johannes Kisser

A huge percentage of the waste is demolition waste. If we would build in a more modular way, using save materials that can be separated into it’s parts, we could save a lot of resources. One project which was presented and tries to consider that is PVadapt. A material that should be used are Oriented Strand Boards (OSB) from agricultural waste.

The second speaker Markus Meissner from BauKarussell is working exactly on the topic of reusing building materials. He talked about their work of dismantling buildings and the importance of coming up with a reuse- or recycling-process early enough.

“We need to change the value chain, how people run their businesses, we need to change the system.” Markus Meissner, Baukarussel

The Austrian Government made the commitment with the Energy- und Climate Strategy of Federal Government of Austria to reduce 36% of GHG emissions until 2030 (reference 2005). This is a lot. We have to act drastically to meet this goal. As the contruction is a big contributor, we need to start reusing, and not confuse it with recycling. Recycling is the worst of the best options. In order to be able to reuse materials from buildings, they need to be dismantlable and time is an important factor. To take the materials out you need time, you can not call one week before.

“We have to educate the new generation of builders that we must start thinking how we can reuse building materials later from the planning stage onwards. “ Markus Meissner

“The Form has to follow the planet” – Clemens Dus from designaustria spoke about responsibility regarding the design process of products – “Nature is an expert in attracting consumers and users”.

In his presentation you find the requirements for circular design. We have to start somewhere. Just do it! – “Doing the right things before doing things right.”, Clemens Dus.

Presentation slides:

Johannes Kisser PRESENTATION materials in a circular economy

Clemens Dus PRESENTATION design the change

Markus Meissner PRESENTATION BauKarussell

Energy Globe Award Austria

alchemia-nova won the Energy Globe Award Vienna 2019 in the water category as well as the overall prize with vertECO – the vertical ecosystem for greywater purification and the Energy Globe Award Austria 2019 in the Water category.

The ENERGY GLOBE Award was founded in 1999 by Austrian energy pioneer Wolfgang Neumann and is today the world’s most prestigious environmental award. Every year, the Energy Globe Award honors outstanding, sustainable projects with a focus on resource conservation, energy efficiency and the use of renewable energies. The aim of the award is to present the solutions developed in the submitted projects for our environmental problems to a broad public and to anchor them in the consciousness of all.

alchemia-nova convinced the jury with the vertical ecosystem for greywater treatment – vertECO

Fotocredits: Florian Wieser (WKO-pictures)

Upcycling Workshop

“DerStandard” has published an article about our Upcycling-Workshop (in german)

The social project in collaboration with Caritas Wien brings together a diverse group of refugees in a workshop that will give birth to a upcycled office space.

The inspiring project is a platform for integration and sustainability, helping to create job opportunities and skills, and recycle materials that would otherwise be discarded as waste.

Over the coming weeks, under the guidance of Christine Skrabal from the design label, Miststück, refugees will undertake the upcycling workshop which will see old and unused furniture brought back to life.

The background story…

It’s a well-known reality that for people with a refugee background, it is difficult to find work in Austria. The wait for a positive response to an asylum application (which can often take months, or years) can make integration, and living a fulfilled life difficult.

As the refugees are not able to work during the processing period of their asylum application, this workshop aims to offer them skills, keep them active, and better their chances of their application being successful.

‘As alchemia-nova is an international team, made up of people from 8 different nationalities, we value the benefits that are born from people with diverse backgrounds working together. With this in mind, we came up with the idea for this upcycling project that will see Vienna’s first completely circular office created in a currently unused space,’ says alchemia-nova CEO, Francesco Menconi.

The goal of the project…

alchemia-nova’s mission is to advocate the circular economy approach, and to encourage businesses & individuals to #thinkcircular and start seeing waste as a valuable resource that can be repurposed and reused.

‘We hope that this project, which demonstrates ‘circular economy thinking’ being applied in a practical way, will be seen as an example of how repurposing materials makes more sense than simply discarding them,’ says Francesco.

Most importantly, we hope that it’s a social project that brings value to those people with a refugee background who get involved.

stand-up innovation #2: materials in a circular economy

stand-up innovation is like stand-up comedy, but instead of comedians performing comedy, scientists, pioneer thinkers, and circular economy pundits set the stage for innovative ideas. Ok, we promise they’ll throw in a few jokes, too.

Globally, the circular economy movement is gaining momentum, and the Vienna-based NGO, alchemia-nova aims with stand-up Innovation to inspire people to think circular in Austria.

This second event of the stand-up innovation event series is focussing on materials in a circular economy. How will they circulate, what does it need for it? Quality, Infrastructure, customers, new laws, …


Markus Meissner: Resource Manager at Austrian Institute of Ecology; associate of the pulswerk GmbH

Verena Anger: Sustainability Manager of gugler* brand-digital-print, Environment and Resource Management

Johannes Kisser: CEO and founder of the circular economy research & innovation lab alchemia-nova

Following these fascinating talks, a collective problem-solving session.

++++ Welcome Cocktails ++++

Free tickets on Eventbrite

12th International Conference on Bio-based Materials (BMC)

Bio-based polymers can be found in almost all application areas such as packaging, consumer goods, toys, vehicle construction, textiles or coatings. Biodegradable polymers open up new markets. New bio-based building blocks are available for body care, cosmetics, food ingredients and pharmaceuticals. On top of that, more and more biogenic side streams from the food industry are utilised via biotechnology as part of the circular bioeconomy. More than 200 experts and 30 exhibitors are expected.

The preliminary programme and further workshops can be found on the conference website.

premiere of stand-up innovation

alchemia-nova hosted Vienna’s first ever exciting new talk series that aims to inspire discussion & circular economy innovation in Austria – Stand Up Innovation. The first event took place on 2nd of April at “Das Packhaus” in Vienna’s 3rd district under the topic “circular economy at home” – how innovative technologies can integrate circular solutions, and how consumers can apply circular economy principles on a daily basis at home.

About stand-up innovation:

stand-up innovation is like stand-up comedy, but instead of comedians performing comedy, scientists, pioneer thinkers, and circular economy pundits set the stage for co-creating innovative ideas on the spot.

Circular economy “thinking” and solutions look to define waste as nutrients and make the most out of resources. Globally, the circular economy movement is gaining momentum, and the Vienna-based research company, alchemia-nova aims with stand-up innovation to inspire people to think circularity in Austria, and at home.

stand-up innovation #1 circular economy at home

stand-up innovation is like stand-up comedy, but instead of comics performing comedy, scientists, pioneer thinkers, and circular economy pundits set the stage for innovative ideas. Ok, we promise they’ll throw in a few jokes, too.
Globally, the circular economy movement is gaining momentum, and the Vienna-based NGO, alchemia-nova aims with stand-up Innovation to inspire people to think circular in Austria, and at home. If you have no idea what circular economy is, firstly, we suggest you attend our event.
But to give it to you short: circular economy “thinking” and solutions look to minimise and reuse waste, and make the most out of resources.
The premiere of stand-up innovation is bringing together some of Vienna’s most forward-thinking minds in the circular economy to talk about circular economy at home – How innovative technologies can integrate circular solutions, and how consumers can apply circular economy principles on a daily basis at home.


Innovators on stage:
+ Johannes Kisser: CEO and founder of the circular economy research & innovation lab alchemia-nova
+ Rainer Pamminger: Senior researcher at Vienna University of Technology in the area of Ecodesign and Circular Economy
+ Mario Gruber: Researcher about diffusion on radical innovations and sustainability at King’s College London
Following these fascinating talks, a collective problem-solving session will follow in which the audience will be invited to throw up problems in applying circular economy approaches, both in daily life and in the construction industry, to be workshopped by the speakers, and the wider audience.
+ Try our “once-in-a-lifetime” green cocktails “shaken & stirred”

stand-up innovation is powered by alchemia-nova

A big thanks to our sponsors:


plant-based Urinal

News about our plant urinal “LooPi”.

Together with the design studio EOOS we developed the idea of a self-sufficient urinal based on a plant treatment plant. The sewage flows through several vertically arranged basins containing various special plants in a particular arrangement. Through microbiological processes, the water in the root systems of the plants is cleaned and reused.

Press Releases (in german):

Revival für Pflanzen-Toilette von Hundertwasser – Presseartikel Bauforum pdf

Pflanzen-Klär-Klo – Presseartikel Buildingtimes pdf

Ideen fürs stille Örtchen sollen Welt verbessern – Presseartikel Heute pdf

Future public toilets

Exhibition EOOS. Liquid Gold

Come and see how public toilets in the future could look like and found out what the artist Hundertwasser has to do with it!

The exhibition “EOOS. LIQUID GOLD” shows a prototype of a self-sufficient urinal based on constructed wetlands. For this alchemia-nova has installed a vertical ecosystem for greywater treatment.
The design studio EOOS presents their innovative “Blue Diversion Toilet”, which has been developed in cooperation with the Swiss Water Research Institute Eawag and received an award from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in 2012.

The exhibition shows research material with information, photographs and objects about the idea and use of plant-based purification systems for urinals.

The project forms the interface between art, design and technology. It’s a tribute to Friedensreich Hundertwasser’s visionary artistic and ecological work. He would have turned 90 this year.

More information:
Kunst Haus Wien – Museum Hundertwasser 

Facebook-Event alchemia-nova