Gland, Switzerland – While political will appears to be lacking in terms of tackling climate change, the will of creative and energetic entrepreneurs working in the field of climate innovation is on the increase.
Companies with winning technologies have recently been announced by WWF under its Climate Solvers programme, underscoring both the benefit and opportunity for business to contribute to fighting climate change.
Innovation is typically a new way of doing something while increasing the value for a customer. WWF believes that this customer value must include radically reduced carbon emissions, energy access and compatibility with a transition to a renewable energy future as described in WWFs Energy Report.
Climate innovations are often primarily associated with mitigation activities but infrastructure that enables more renewables and energy access solutions are also considered climate innovation, as are innovative financial services that can scale these to market faster.
WWF's Climate Solvers programme recognizes top climate innovations in key countries. While it has been implemented in Sweden for the past five years, innovation work has now expanded to the UK, Netherlands and China. India will announce their first selection of Climate Solver entrepreneurs in early 2013.
The global market for clean technology manufacturing doubled between 2008 and 2011 to almost reach 200 billion Euros per year. By 2015, the clean tech sector is expected to rival the oil and gas equipment market, when the forecasted market size will be between €240 and 290 billion, says Samantha Smith, WWF's Global Climate and Energy Initiative leader.
"What science tells us and what millions of people experienced this year is that fighting climate change is now extremely urgent. This year alone, we have witnessed some of the most devastating effects of climate change all around the world.
As CO2 emissions reached record highs, Artic sea ice reached record lows, droughts blistered the world's grain-producing areas, and wheat, corn and soybean prices hit historic peaks. And when food prices spike, poor people go hungry. While we work to urge our political leaders to start taking decisions that will positively impact climate change, we also work to encourage and support innovators who are making a difference right now," she says.
Climate innovation is also about business opportunities and poverty alleviation. It's about avoiding wasteful consumption and job generation that make emissions in our society shrink, says WWF's Innovations programme manager Stefan Henningsson.
"The transition from a high-fossil-fuel economy to a clean, renewable energy economy requires new solutions, products, systems and services which will radically reduce climate impact. Such climate innovations are numerous, proven and available. The question is how to employ them at speed and scale, globally," he says.
Innovations that have a good business case can instill confidence for policy makers to dare to increase ambition on reducing cuts so that these innovations can grow and create even more decent jobs, says Henningsson. Investors, business and policy makers all need to play proactive roles for major commercialization of climate positive solutions carried by entrepreneurs.
Some of the innovations recognized this year include
•rental of solar charged vehicles with no upfront costs;
•retrofit mortgage for energy efficiency in existing building stock;
•innovative solar cell manufacturing technology;
•one stop shop for business/home info on renewable energy investments;
•smart storage battery charging;
•waste gas reuse for improved steel manufacturing;
•financial services and technologies for better access to cooking, lighting and charging in poor countries with the help of easily available renewable energy.
See a list of WWF innovation award winners for 2012 listed below by country.
LIST OF CLIMATE SOLVER WINNERS BY COUNTRY
Universal Energy Electrical Co. Ltd: Smart Self-Adaptive Storage Battery Charger
Universal Energy Electrical Co. Ltd: Smart Self-Adaptive Storage Battery ChargerElectric cars are more and more a match for their fossil fuel counterparts in terms of comfort and performance. One of the main reasons they aren't more prevalent is that compared with petrol stations, battery chargers aren't common and the entire battery charging process can be slow. Universal Energy's Smart Self-Adaptive Storage Battery Charger improves charging energy efficiency from a conventional 60%-85% up to 97%, which helps makes charging at least twice as fast as with traditional chargers. Further, the charger is only about 1/20th the weight of typical charging solutions with the same power output. Universal Energy's chargers are currently used by the Chinese military, but with their high-performance characteristics, the company is hopeful they'll receive strong interest from the private sector.
Wuhan Yunhe Dingyu Refrigeration Science & Technology Co. Ltd: Thermal-Chemical Absorption Refrigeration System
In China, refrigeration, from air conditioning to freezing, is a major consumer of electricity and hence emitter of carbon emissions. Beyond that, the commonly used refrigerants are much worse greenhouse gases than carbon dioxide. Yunhe's Thermal-Chemical Absorption Refrigeration System replaces electricity as the power source with heat from diesel engine exhaust, industrial steam, or even solar energy. Further, it replaces substances with high global warming potential as the refrigerant with ammonia, and gets rid of electric compressors altogether. You can already find Yunhe technology in the air conditioners, ice makers, and freezers of some fishing boats.
China City Environment Protection Engineering Co. Ltd: LHVG Safe and Clean Power Generation System
China has grown into the world's largest steel producer. And all that steel making produces vast amounts of chemical gases containing vast amounts of heat, which represents not only great wastage of chemical and thermal energy, but also air pollution. CCEP's Low Heat Value Gas Safe and Clean Power Generation System can take these otherwise waste gases, combust them to create greater heat, and then drive a gas or steam turbine to produce power for the steelmaker. www.ccepc.com
Nanjing Xingfei Cooling Apparatus Co. Ltd: Hydrodynamic Cooling Tower
You've seen the huge cooling towers that dot China's landscape marking a chemical plant, pulp and paper manufacturing, steel industry, power station or any other business that produces a large amount of waste heat. Many of these towers use electric fans to aid in the cooling process, and the electric fans add to power bills, are an added danger for workers, and emit carbon emissions with their power use. Xingfei's Hydrodynamic Cooling Tower design is able to take full advantage of all the water already circulating in these cooling towers and use it to drive hydrodynamic fans, making electric fans completely unnecessary in the cooling process. www.njxingfei.com.cn
Winner of the 3rd Dutch Cleantech Star Award:
Tempress: provides machinery and associated technology for the production of highly efficient solar cells. www.tempress.nl
Waves4Power - Wave Buoy for Ocean Power -
An IPCC Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation (2011) estimates a global technical potential of 500 GW for wave energy but this resource remains yet untapped.
Heliospectra AB - L4A Efficient Greenhouse Lighting
An estimated 30 billion m2 of commercial greenhouses are used to produce vegetables, herbs and ornamentals globally. Using supplemental LED-based lighting uses the full spectrum of light, leading to increased yields per m2 in tailored light regimes whilst cutting energy consumption.
Solelia Greentech AB - Solar Charging for Electrical Vehicles
Today, the upfront investment in renewable energy and energy efficient technologies is often held as a major barrier for governments, companies and consumers to choose them. Solar PV and electrical vehicles are two examples of this. Solelia's approach is to transform these capital-intensive products into a user friendly service so that customers can rent this without any upfront capital cost. http://www.solelia.se/en
Emerging Cooking Solutions - Biomass-waste pellets for efficient cookstoves
The strong, global urbanization trend in combination with widespread use of charcoal and weak or absent systems for recycling and waste management is damaging people's health as well as ecosystems. Efficient cookstoves limit the smoke hazard by reducing its fuel consumption by 40%, or more. By making use of locally available biomass waste and providing pellet-fuelled cookstoves as a subscription-fee service, Emerging Cooking Solutions is an inspiring example of how to address this urban challenge. www.emerging.se
HiNation - HiLight solar light & charging
An estimated 1.3 billion people living in rural areas have no access to electricity. This fact seriously limits the ability for almost a quarter of the world's population to provide for their basic human needs and rise out of poverty. Nevertheless, 500 million people living off-grid have mobile phones, which offer connectivity and hope for the future. The HiLight Solar Light & Charging is an example of a solution for powering both lighting and communication. www.hination.com
Winners of the WWF UK Green Game Changers Award:
YouGen: Enabling direct renewable energy and energy efficiency investments
The purpose of YouGen is to make it easy for home and business to learn about, invest in and enjoy the benefits of renewable energy and energy efficiency. Provides Information about renewable energy on the internet answering the really practical questions. http://www.yougen.co.uk
Whiskers: Refurbishment insulation services for hard-to-treat social housing
WHISCERS™ (Whole House In-Situ Carbon and Energy Reduction Solution) is a process for Internal Wall Insulation (IWI) of hard-to-treat social housing, like tower blocks, that uses laser technology for the first time, enabling residents to continue to live in their homes throughout the refurbishment works. The patented process and eco measures installed in a home have proven to greatly improve energy efficiency and reduced fuel bills by nearly £600 a year whilst carbon emissions have been cut by 77%. http://www.unitedhouse.net/refurbishment/whiscers
C-Change Retrofit Mortgage: making good energy performance pay off
Ecology Building Society's C-Change Retrofit Mortgage is a financial service addressing that most of our houses waste huge amounts of energy... and money! If you want to improve the energy efficiency of your current property, the C-Change retrofit scheme can help shrink the mortgage payments as well as the carbon footprint. For every grade improvement in a home's Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating, C-Change offers a discount of 0.25% from the standard rate. http://www.ecology.co.uk/mortgages/c-change-retrofit/