The Zero Emission Campus Project at Al-Akhawayn University in Ifrane, Morocco
In partnership with Trier University (TU) in Germany, who boast the first holistic Zero Emission campus in Europe, Al-Akhawayn University (AUI) developed a Zero Emission Campus Project at AUI in the context of a dual master degree between AUI’s Sustainable Energy Management (SEM) and TU’s International Flow Management (IMAT) program. New concepts such as “Material Flow Management”, “Green Business Development”, “Circular Economy”, “Sustainable Society”, and “Zero Emission Concept” were explored collaboratively.
Under the innovative teaching concept of Travelling University, which facilitates faculty and student group exchanges and joint work on projects, TU brought IMAT students to Morocco, together with 12 SEM students from AUI. Both universities’ students were supervised by their professors and divided into groups: Material Flow Management, Technology, Finances, and Communication.
The educational approach of project-based learning that the initiative implemented focuses specifically on the problems and solutions relevant to the locational context, in this case the AUI campus in Ifrane.
After an energy consumption assessment, the Zero Emission Campus Project took off: students and their supervisors defined and evaluated the ZE technologies to be implemented and developed a business plan. This led to a gradual switch from fossil fuels towards biomass at the campus in 2016, and new strategies on waste, CO2 emissions, and water consumption. Specific projects included pump replacement, insulation, use of solar thermal and biomass, and improved water efficiency and waste handling.
Strategies to develop a Zero Emission Campus involved management, awareness raising, financing, long-term economic perspective and educational value. AUI also invited CEA institutions to develop a Travelling University concept together.