Oxford Analytica, commissioned by CMS Legal Services, produced a report on the state of European clean technology innovation.
The new report predicts that clean tech will not only experience a surge of change, but also change the marketplace with new corporate and government emissions considerations.
Significant "bedrock" changes in policy are spurring clean tech, and the European Union has remained "at the forefront" of related law and policy, explains the report.
The economic crisis could also serve as a catalyst, pushing countries to adopt new efficient technological innovations. Just as in the great depression, new technology can help a recovery to gain momentum.
However, the economic downturn could also be perceived to threaten administration concerns that mandatory targets could harm emerging industries and low oil prices could undermine the need to curb consumption.
The report is focused on less well-known areas of clean technology—that is, avoiding renewable energy. Personal and freight transport were suggested to be risky for clean technology, in regards to new evolving efficiency and emissions regulations.
Agrichemicals and water management regulations are receiving new attention, and both CMS and Oxford Analytics put forward that they believed in a "huge potential for improved efficiency in water management within the agricultural production process." The sector will see a shift away from flood irrigation systems, combating salinization and wastewater reclamation. Significant improvements are predicted for methods in targeting agrichemicals as well as production waste management.
The same positive prediction was made in regards to waste management, and the report singled out real estate as a prominent greenhouse-gas contributor. Marked as being responsible for 40 percent of EU emissions, tremendous potential opportunity exists with faster progress better waste management in new buildings over existing buildings.
The EU directive likely to be passed in 2009 will require all public road vehicle purchases to consider lifetime emissions and costs. The development of low-carbon vehicles is expected to be driven by the EU's history of purchasing over 250,000 automobiles a year.
New EU funds, to the tune of around EUR 5 billion, towards public-private clean tech partnerships will encourage development. Battery technology is expected to improve and receive pressure to evolve as the car industry switches its focus.
Hydrogen received some attention in the transportation overview of the report, where it was described as the "next evolutionary step." Currently, its energy intensive production demands hold the technology back. Lithium was suggested as "unlikely to be the final solution" for electric vehicles due to dwindling global supplies and safety risks associated with production.
Voluntary codes and certifications, much like in America, are driving the implementation of clean technology in buildings throughout northern Europe. Real estate is described as benefiting from the attractive green business market, however the challenge the sector faces is the fact developers rarely reap the full benefits in the face of up-front investments.
In terms of construction, there were discoveries with impressive long-term potential, such as the entrance of CO2 absorbing carbon-negative concrete, and the understanding of the benefit of white roofs. In the short term, retrofitting was the dominant theme in terms of focus.
Potentially, Abu Dhabi and several cities in China are rising in the global green city trend. Masdar City in Abu Dhabi will be carbon neutral and has already attracted 17 billion in funding and investments.
Energy from waste also received a note from US Army activity testing Tactical Garbage to Energy Refineries and served to highlight the importance of methane mitigation in several livestock heavy EU members.
The report also highlighted the need for two necessary efforts to build clean technology support—a need for lobbying and life cycle responsibility. Today, Wal-Mart recently announced a new effort to take lifecycle emissions into consideration and work to reduce them— their UK office produces responsible eggs that are carbon neutral.
Making clean tech opinions known is vital to the success of the market and forming broad, cross industry alliances will help shape legislation.
You can read the report here.
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