Discover CleanTech, Issue 3, June 2022

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ISSUE 03

1,000km on one charge – the future of EVs is here

| JUNE 2022 | COVER PRICE: £5.25

PLUS EDUCATION – FIND YOUR PATH INTO THE CLEANTECH SECTOR MARJAN VAN AUBEL – DESIGNING FOR A FUTURE OF SOLAR DEMOCRACY TRAVEL – DISCOVER YOUR NEXT GREEN HOLIDAY DESTINATION CHINA – TAKING THE LEAD IN THE CLEANTECH REVOLUTION

THE MAGAZINE PROMOTING THE PEOPLE, BUSINESSES AND IDEAS TRANSFORMING OUR WORLD.



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Contents JUNE 2022 6

COVER FEATURE: 1,000km in one charge; with its one-off concept vehicle, VISION EQXX, Mercedes-Benz has shown us what the future of EVs looks like. We explore the technology and how it might be applied in commercial vehicles.

SPECIAL FEATURES: 12

The rush to install clean energy technologies is a global concern, but one country holds the key. We investigate China’s dominance in solar panel and lithium-ion battery manufacturing.

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Meet Marjan van Aubel, the Dutch designer who is working to democratise solar energy through captivating designs.

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Can special weather sensors help supercharge the renewable energy system? Cleantech and technology expert Jason Deign explores the key role sensors are playing in the clean technology evolution.

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SPECIAL THEMES: Sustainable travel “To travel is to live” – the famous saying by Danish writer Hans Christian Andersen has inspired this month’s focus on sustainable travel, in which we look at some of the destinations working to take the lead in sustainable tourism as well as the many exciting developments taking place to make aviation greener and more sustainable.

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The role of educational institutions in the cleantech revolution An increasing number of universities and government departments are working to transform the educational sector and create a new generation of green innovators. We look at the role they play and the opportunities they offer.

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A green investment is a great investment – the Danish Minister for Higher Education and Science, Jesper Petersen, writes on why his government is investing heavily in green research, innovation, and education.

REGULARS AND COLUMNS: 48 74 76 80 85 86 102 106

Cleantech Structure of the Month Column – David Hunt Cleantech Products of the Month Investing in cleantech Book of the Month News Events Writers of the Month June 2022

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Dear Reader, We all have some things in life we find it difficult to restrict ourselves from, even if we know they contribute to climate change. For me it’s travelling. Ever since I set off on my first interrail through Europe at 16, travelling and exploring have shaped and enriched my life. Unfortunately, I cannot say that it has always been done by train nor in sustainable accommodation. But now that is changing, and luckily the travel and tourism industries are hard at work to make it possible for people – who like I, cannot imagine a world where they cannot discover new cultures and landscapes – to do so without causing harm to the world they are exploring. In our Sustainable Travel theme, we explore some of the cities and sectors working to make travelling greener, but we also hear from organisations that think it could and should happen faster.

Discover CleanTech Issue 3, June 2022

Anders Lorenzen Karin Blak

Published 06.2022 ISSN 2753-8729

Executive Editor Thomas Winther

Special contributions by: Danish Minister for Higher Education and Science Jesper Petersen Randy Durband, CEO of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) Rosa Thurman, director of Foreign Affiliate Services and Sustainability at Amcham Finland

Creative Director Mads E. Petersen

Cover Photo Mercedes-Benz

Editor Signe Hansen

Sales & Key Account Manager Vera Winther

Copy-Editor Karl Batterbee

Publisher: SCAN CLIENT PUBLISHING SCAN MAGAZINE LTD. The News Building, 3 London Bridge Street SE1 9SG, London

In short, there are thankfully an increasing number of select luxuries which cleantech can allow us to enjoy with reduced impact on the environment. It’s heartening, perhaps even to a degree that it may make some want to join the cleantech revolution. In our Education theme, we take a look at how that might be achieved. The message from the people inside the sector is clear – cleantech industries are growing with explosive speed, and investors, private individuals, and the world all stand to benefit.

Phone: +44 (0)870 933 0423 Fax: +44 (0)870 933 0421 Email: info@scanclientpublishing.com

Needless to say – we are here for it!

Published by Scan Magazine Ltd.

Graphic Designer Mercedes Moulia Contributors Jason Deign Anna Turns Mike Scott Helen Massy-Beresford Lena Hunter Emma Rodin

Another indulgence many may struggle to deny themselves is cars; fast, sleek, and powerful cars. In our cover feature, we explore the technology behind one of the most impressive ones, electric of course, to have toured the roads of Europe. It’s an uplifting look into the future of electric transport.

For further information please visit www.discovercleantech.com Signe Hansen Editor, Discover CleanTech

© All rights reserved. Material contained in this publication may not be reproduced, in whole or in part, without prior permission of Scan Group – a trading name of Scan Magazine Ltd. This magazine contains advertorials/promotional articles.


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1,000km on one charge - the future of electric vehicles is just around the corner With its one-off concept vehicle, VISION EQXX, Mercedes-Benz has demonstrated how close “the future” is when talking electric vehicles (EVs). Driving a record-breaking 1,000km through southern Europe on one charge, the VISION EQXX and its maker have proven that an ultra-long-range EV may very well be on the roads very soon. Discover CleanTech investigates what the journey might mean for the carmaker’s upcoming ‘entry-luxury level’ electric vehicles. BY SIGNE HANSEN

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“We did it!” says Ola Källenius, chairman of the board of management of Mercedes-Benz Group AG. He goes on to explain that as the VISION EQXX powered through more than 1,000km on a single battery charge, and with a consumption of only 8.7 kWh/100 km in real-world traffic conditions, it is “the most efficient Mercedes ever built”. Considering that many EV critics still argue that the limited range of EVs means they will never truly replace combustion vehicles, the achievement of the VISION EQXX is certainly uplifting. Because, even though the vehicle is a research prototype engineered by Mercedes-Benz to “underpin the company’s Lead in EVs”, the company confirms that the technology components will be deployed in its upcoming MMA (Mercedes Modular Architecture) platform for smaller entry-level EVs. Markus Schäfer, chief technology officer responsible for deJune 2022

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The VISION EQXX achieved more than 1,000km with a single battery charge in real everyday traffic

velopment and purchasing, says: “The VISION EQXX is the result of a comprehensive programme that provides a blueprint for the future of automotive engineering. Many of the innovative developments are already being integrated into production, some of them in the next generation of

modular architecture for compact and midsize Mercedes-Benz vehicles.” TOP AERODYNAMICS Travelling from its home in Sindelfingen, Germany, across the Swiss Alps and Northern Italy, to its destination on the

“Mercedes-Benz has a clear roadmap on how to become carbon-neutral. By 2030, we want to reach the half-way mark. In order to make faster progress in protecting the climate, we need maximum dedication and more collaboration among governments, companies and society as a whole.” 8 |

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Côte d’Azur, France, the VISION EQXX’s journey was undertaken at regular road speeds, including prolonged fast-lane cruising at up to 140 km/h on the German autobahn. The route profile – from motorway to mountain passes, including roadworks – and the changing weather conditions helped document the effect of the VISION EQXX’s many efficiency measures. For instance, the gentle headwind in some sections was mitigated by the car’s low drag coefficient value of 0.17, giving the wind virtually nothing to grab hold of. It is a feature that its creators are rightfully proud of, something which is reflected in the loving detail with which it is described as a “result of the intelligent interaction of many individual measures, starting with the basic shape of the body, cradling the smooth-surfaced dome of the


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The VISION EQXX’s software-driven approach is the key to its success in achieving efficiency targets and a fast development process, including a sophisticated battery management system.

greenhouse as it flows elegantly like a water droplet towards the rear”. Equally beneficial to the aerodynamics are the small frontal area of 2.12m² and the reduced rear track. Because this is 50mm narrower than at the front, the rear wheels roll in the slipstream of the front wheels. No-

ticeably, the car also has a double rear diffuser which automatically drops at 60 km/h, to provide better airflow and reduce drag. LIGHTWEIGHT BUT POWERFUL In a mountainous landscape like that of France and Italy, the VISION EQXX also scores significant sustainable points with

its lightweight design of only 1,755kg, allowing it to save significant energy uphill. The measures implemented to achieve the

savings include everything from the materials used to innovative bionic structures that deliver a favourable power-to-weight ratio. One example of this is the sustainable carbon-fibre-sugar composite material used for the upper part of the battery, which is also used in Formula 1. Another is the BIONEQXXTM rear floor, manufactured using an aluminium casting process. The light metal structural component replaces a much heavier assembly of several interconnected parts. It has gaps in places where structural strength is not required, thus saving material. This innovative design approach results in a weight saving of up to 20 per cent compared to a conventionally manufactured component. The battery too is designed to reduce weight. At 100 kWh, it has almost the same amount of energy as the battery of Mercedes-Benz’s existing EV the EQS. However, it has 50 per cent less volume and is 30 per cent lighter. The outcome is that the compact battery, measuring just 200 x 126 x 11 cm, is also comparatively light at 495kg and fits in a compact car. June 2022

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The range of EVs is in no way all about the batteries. VISION EQXX gains significant efficiency benefits from its tyres, developed specifically for the VISION EQXX by Bridgestone, the world's largest tyre and rubber company. With their extremely low rolling-resistance rating of 4.7. (the current EU tyre label requires a figure of 6.5 for the top rating in Class A.), the specialist Turanza Eco tyres combine two innovative Bridgestone technologies that enable a higher range: ENLITEN technology reduces both rolling resistance and weight by up to 20 per cent. The ologic technology reduces tyre deformation while driving, in part through a more tensioned belt section.

Mercedes-Benz’s green ambitions At the Mercedes-Benz ESG Conference in April, the carmaker presented its ambitious plans to create a “holistic environmental, social and governance concept along the entire value chain”. The Plan includes a goal of going all-electric at the end of this decade and cutting the carbon footprint per passenger car by more than half by 2030 compared with 2020 levels.

To achieve this goal, the company will be focusing on electrifying the vehicle fleet, charging with green energy (Mercedes-Benz enables ‘green charging’ at all of the around 300,000 public charging points in the Mercedes me Charge network throughout Europe), and improving battery technology, as well as an extensive use of recycled materials and renewable energy in production. One step in this process is the foundation of a CO2-neutral recycling factory in Kuppenheim, Germany, which is set to begin a pilot project of recycling end-of-life electric vehicle batteries using a new hydrometallurgical technique which increases the recycling rate to 96 per cent in 2023. Furthermore, Mercedes-Benz plans to cover more than 70 per cent of its energy needs through renewable energy by 2030, by rolling out solar and wind power at its own sites as well as through further Power Purchase Agreements. Another important step to lower lifecycle emissions has been the company’s work to set up a green steel supply chain to expand its use of low-CO2 and zero-CO2 steel. In 2021, the company became the first car maker to take an equity stake in Swedish start-up H2 Green Steel (H2GS), with the aim of introducing green steel in a number of production models by as early as 2025. Furthermore, the carmaker has put several sustainable materials in series production in some vehicle models. These include seat upholstery fabrics from 100 per cent recycled PET bottles as well as floor coverings made with yarns from fishing nets recovered and fabric remnants from old carpets. Despite all this, more initiatives are needed from society as a whole, for carmakers to become successful in their transition to a sustainable production, stresses Källenius. “Mercedes-Benz has a clear roadmap on how to become carbon-neutral. By 2030, we want to reach the half-way mark. In order to make faster progress in protecting the climate, we need maximum dedication and more collaboration among governments, companies and society as a whole.”

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The electric drive was developed in cooperation with the experts from MercedesAMG Petronas F1 Team. SOLAR POWER While the VISION EQXX is designed to reduce energy consumption from within in every possible way, the prototype vehicle also packs a few tricks to take advantage of external features to recharge its battery. When going downhill, the vehicle recuperates braking energy to regenerate its energy reserves. It can use the recuperation effect on any type of gradient and during every braking manoeuvre. While some sort of recuperation technology is integrated in most EVs, another, a, for now, less common source of extra energy for the VISION EQXX, is the sun. With a fixed solar roof with 117 solar cells, the 12-volt battery, which supplies power to auxiliary consumers such as the navigation system, is automatically recharged while driving. The added value is measurable through the load this removes from the high-voltage battery, displayed by the onboard computer. Overall, the solar booster increases the range by more than two per cent, which adds up to a good 25km on a journey of over 1,000km.


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Thanks to the many efficiency-enhancing measures of the VISION EQXX, it ended its 1,008km road trip with a remaining range of around 140km. THE FUTURE OF EVS With an ambitious aim to achieve up to 50 per cent share of plug-in hybrid and battery EVs by 2025 on the way toward going all-electric by 2030 (where allowed by market conditions), Mercedes-EQ, the electric mobility brand of Mercedes-Benz, has been expanding its portfolio rapidly over recent years. The portfolio already includes six all-electric models, the EQA, the EQB, and the EQC (WLTP: combined electrical consumption: 25-21,3 kWh/100 km; combined CO2 emissions: 0 g/km); the EQS, and the EQE 350+ (WLTP: combined electrical consumption: 18,7-15,9 kWh/100 km, combined CO2 emissions: 0 g/100 km) as well as the EQV. This year will also see the launch of EQS SUV, the EQE SUV, and the EQT. However, in 2024, the company plans to expand its offering even further by introducing the Mercedes Modular Architecture, its platform for a range of ‘entry-luxury level’ electric vehicles. This would be an addition to the Mercedes Electric Architecture platform which underpins the production of its existing six medium to larger EVs

The VISION EQXX’s ultra-thin roof panels feed the battery system and provide up to 25km of additional range.

The vehicles from the MMA platform will be based on Mercedes-Benz’s internally developed operating system MB.OS, which will become the basis for all future MercedesBenz vehicles as a unique and standard software platform. The MB.OS operating system will link the vehicles with the cloud and the IoT, and comprise four central domains: Powertrain, Autonomous Driving, In-

fotainment and Body and Comfort Systems. Schäfer says: “They will feature many innovations that stem from the tech programme behind the Vision EQXX. As part of this, we are refocusing our portfolio and reducing at the same time, complexity. We aim to achieve this with a smaller number of alternatives. Instead of seven, we plan to offer four models in this segment.”

Mercedes-Benz’s latest luxury-class electric vehicles, the EQS, has a range of up to 770km (WLTP), a powertrain output of up to 385 kW and charge in approx. 31 minutes. Here seen with Markus Schäfer, chief technology officer responsible for development and purchasing.

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The scale of China’s domestic market has led Chinese solar manufacturing to gain a solid lead in quality and efficiency. Photo: iStock

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Why China holds the key to the green transformation The rush to install clean energy technologies is a global concern, but one country holds the key. Thanks to its massive dominance in solar panel and lithium-ion battery manufacturing, China is critical to the world’s plans for a cleaner energy system. BY JASON DEIGN

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China, the nation with the world’s largest cumulative carbon emissions, is making gigantic leaps in the production of green energy. Photo: dreamstime.com

Renewable energy analysts have long had trouble working out what to do with China. If wind and solar installation estimates are sketchy in many Asian countries, in China, with a closed administration and massive production capacity, it’s really a matter of guesswork. And then there is what happened in January 2021. Researchers at big analyst firms such as BloombergNEF and Wood Mackenzie had been holding their breath to see if 14 |

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the Chinese National Energy Administration (NEA) would confirm 2020 solar and wind installation figures that the analysts already thought would be on the high side. What happened blew them away. The NEA’s figures were on the high side alright: it said China had installed 48 GW of solar power, a third more than BloombergNEF’s already-generous estimate of 36 GW. But China’s official wind installation figures were even more breathtaking, at 72 GW.

That was more than the Global Wind Energy Council, an industry body, was expecting to have seen installed in the whole of the rest of the world. “The wind numbers just challenged our imagination,” said BloombergNEF analyst Jonathan Luan Dong at the time. Increasingly, though, China’s dominance in cleantech defies belief. Wood Mackenzie estimates that the country now controls 50 per cent of all wind turbine man-


ChinaTech

International Energy Agency estimates almost a quarter of all electricity will have to come from solar panels. DOMINANCE IN CLEANTECH MANUFACTURING That simply will not happen without China, given the country’s hold on solar panel manufacturing. Not only are seven in ten modules made by Chinese companies, but the country also controls more than 95 per cent of polysilicon wafer manufacturing. Polysilicon wafers are a key component in solar panels, so even module makers outside of China rely on the Chinese supply chain. It was not always this way, though. When the solar industry was starting out, European companies held the lead and there were major module makers too across North America and Asia Pacific. Chinese-made solar panels were derided as being of poor quality. Ironically, what tipped the balance in China’s favour was a ban on Chinese exports. In 2011, the now-defunct German solar module manufacturer Solarworld requested an anti-dumping duty investigation on Chinese solar cells and modules.

ufacturing capacity, along with almost 70 per cent of solar module output and 90 per cent of lithium-ion battery production. China’s position in the solar manufacturing market is particularly noteworthy given the scale and importance of the industry. To cut emissions to net zero by 2050, the

This led to a trade spat between Western economies and China that hampered the ability of China’s nascent solar industry to sell panels abroad. “There was little domestic market back then,” BloombergNEF solar insight analyst Yali Jiang says. “But then China started to develop its own domestic market and gradually became the biggest solar installation market. That helped the solar manufacturing industry.” China’s domestic market accounts for a third of all solar installations, Jiang says, and the share is still growing thanks to plans to get to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions. The country is expected to in-

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stall a record 140 GW of clean energy capacity this year, according to a Blooomberg news report citing Tao Ye, a researcher with China’s National Development and Reform Commission, an economic planning agency. THE WORLD’S LARGEST RENEWABLES MARKET That is more capacity than was installed in the whole world in 2020, Bloomberg said. China is aiming to install 1.2 TW of renewable energy generation by 2030, with around 100 GW of solar power going into the ground every year from 2023 – up from between 70 GW and 75 GW in 2022. Over the last decade, this massive internal market has allowed China’s solar manufacturers to take the lead in quality and efficiency while delivering cost reductions through economies of scale. This pattern is being repeated in other key cleantech industries, such as wind power and battery storage. “The sheer scale of its manufacturing capacity affords China a major competitive advantage,” said Xiaoyang Li, principal analyst at Wood Mackenzie, in a press release in February. Chinese wind turbine prices fell by 24 per cent in 2021 and will drop by a further 20 per cent in 2022, Li anticipates. This dominance is a headache for countries that are keen to meet net-zero targets and see the energy transition as a means of creating local manufacturing jobs. Achieving emissions targets without depending on China “looks harder than ever as its manufacturers expand capacity and drive down costs,” said Li. “And with China’s power demand now cooling on the back of more manageable economic growth, local manufacturers are looking to further extend global reach.”

“Western markets are benefitting from trading with the IKEA of the energy transition, but balancing reliance on China’s technology providers...” June 2022

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Module Assembly Capacity 358.4-GWp

Canada < 1% Africa < 1%

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ChinaTech Latin America 1% Indonesia 1% Singapore 1% Philipp ines 1% Japa n 1% Taiw an 1 % Eur ope 2%

Discover CleanTech

Middle East < 1%

Thailand 2% United States 3% South Korea 3%

India 5%

Vietnam 9%

Malasya 11%

China 61%

More than three in five solar modules are assembled in China, with the major markets of Europe and North America barely contributing to five per cent of global production. Source: SPV Market Research.

POWERING AHEAD WITH MORE CAPACITY Indeed, all signs point to China’s cleantech lead growing rather than dwindling. China’s production capacity for solar modules is rising faster than forecast global demand, Wood Mackenzie said in February, while its wind turbine component and battery manufacturing capacity will grow by 42 per cent and 150 per cent, respectively, over the next two years. This manufacturing capacity is backed by huge supply chains. In polysilicon, for example, “a massive expansion wave is underway,” says Johannes Bernreuter, head of 16 |

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specialist analyst firm Bernreuter Research. “The number of new entrants has grown to around a dozen, and market leader Tongwei has announced an annual capacity target of up to one million tonnes by 2026.” According to Wood Mackenzie, “China’s renewables manufacturing has emerged from 2021 bigger and more competitive than ever before. Western markets are benefitting from trading with the IKEA of the energy transition, but balancing reliance on China’s technology providers with local interests is now a key political as well as environmental challenge.”

Other countries might wish to emulate China’s success in cleantech manufacturing, but the truth is that the Asian giant is likely too far ahead to be overtaken. “The energy transition and move to solar, electric vehicles and wind we see today would not be possible without the scaling and cost declines led by Chinese manufacturers in the last decade,” says Alex Whitworth, head of Asia Pacific power and renewables research at Wood Mackenzie. “China is now a technology leader rather than just a low-cost leader, and strong re-investment in technology helps protect its advantage.”


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Marjan Van Aubel

Inspired by the ancient Egyptian sun god Ra, who was seen as the creator of the sun, the work is powered by sunlight. Ra turns solar energy into a form of art. Using organic photovoltaics, a thirdgeneration solar technology that is printed on thin foils, the electroluminescent paper of Ra changes colours throughout the day. Photo: Pim Top


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Designing for a future of solar democracy Using her designs to explore and tell the story of a future free of fossil fuels, Dutch designer Marjan van Aubel has designed a number of striking solar works, aiming to democratise solar energy and make it available to as many as possible. BY SIGNE HANSEN

“It is about imagining how in a hundred years, we want to live – that’s the principle you, as a designer, have to integrate, you have to be moving towards that,” says Aubel. Indeed, the word ‘futuristic’ does seem highly apt in the description of Aubel’s designs, which utilise, integrate and captivatingly showcase the newest possibilities of solar technology. “We have an abundance of sunlight, but we are not using it enough; there’s so much potential,” she explains. “I want to focus on that and on how we can capture that energy, and turn every surface into energy harvesting, make every object and building harvest its own energy. If you can do that, solar provides a very democratic source of energy, you can have it everywhere, on very big or very small surfaces.” By integrating solar cells in stylish design items that work inside the home, the designer thus hopes to democratise solar energy by making it accessible to everybody in their everyday life. The Sunne lamp is made from one long curved strip of aluminium, shaped like the horizon. Thanks to the lamp’s curve, the solar side of Sunne has a larger surface that allows for maximum solar cells to harvest energy. The energy is stored in an integrated battery.

Photo: MvA Studio


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Marjan Van Aubel

Photo: MvA Studio

“The idea was to have a never-ending sunset, created by the sun.” SUNNE, A NEVER-ENDING SUNSET One of Aubel’s current designs is her solar lamp, Sunne, which can recreate the sunset at night with the power collected from the sun during the day. In other words, the lamp literally brings the sunlight into your home at night. The light has three settings that imitate all the stages of the natural sun, the sun rise, the sun set, and the day glow. Explaining how she came up with the idea for the design, Aubel says: Photo: Pim Top

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“I think most people, like I, like the moment when the sun goes down and you can see

the change of colours. I wanted to capture that magical moment and put it in a light, and I thought – why not use the energy from the sunlight to power it… The idea was to have a never-ending sunset, created by the sun.” However, Aubel stresses, though the idea was idealistic, its realisation involved a lot of practical considerations. To solve some of the challenges of creating an indoor solar product, she employed technology developed in collaboration with Dutch energy research centre ECN.TNO. “Regular solar panels are developed to be outside and directed towards the sun, so if you move it indoors, behind glass, and you don’t know where people will place it, you have to have another technology. When you are working with the sun and cannot control these aspects, you need to


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develop a solar cell that works under different light conditions,” she explains. The technology from ECN.TNO means that while the lamp needs light to work, and it will work the best if facing south, it will also work if facing north. The design for the lamp won Aubel the Dezeen Award’s Public Vote for Lighting Design of the Year in 2021, as well as the Wallpaper Life Enhancer Of the Year Award. After a crowd funding campaign to start production last year, her studio received more than 2,000 prepaid orders, and is now setting up a website and production site for the lamp. A SOLAR FRAME

Photo: Pim Top

While Sunne is the first of van Aubel’s solar designs to become commercially available (others have ended up in design museums such as MoMA in New York) it is unlikely to be the last. Among other current designs is Ra, a work that turns solar energy into a form of art. Using organic photovoltaics,

Photo: MvA Studio

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Photo: MvA Studio

a third-generation solar technology that is printed on thin foils and is produced in a circular manner, the electroluminescent paper of Ra changes colours throughout the day, depending on the position of the sun. In the evening, a glowing ring proudly displays its captured energy in the form of light. And while the name of Ra is inspired by the past, Aubel hopes that the Ra series will tell the story of a post-fossil future where people have turned to the power of the sun “where we will look up at the sky instead of digging down into the ground”. It is a techno-optimistic view, but it is, says van Aubel, the only way to think about the future. “I don’t think we have a choice,” she answers when asked if she is a technological optimist. “If you look at the numbers and the facts, it is very depressing. It does not look good. The only thing we have is hope – there are still ways of fighting and, as a designer, I try to contribute 22 |

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in the way that I can. I will not produce if what I make just contributes to creating more stuff. What I am building needs to contribute to creating a better world. Design can create intelligent change – change behaviour – by creating an object to make the possibilities tangible, and that is what we, as designers, need to do – inspire the development of change.” THE SOLAR BIËNNALE Together with fashion designer Pauline van Donge, Aubel has created the Solar Biënnale to “present a new and holistic perspective on the energy of the sun”. The first Solar Biënnale will take place in the Netherlands from September to October 2022, with the city of Rotterdam as the main location. The Solar Biënnale explores new solar futures built on the power of design. The central question of this first edition is: ‘How can we design a post-fossil future using the power of the sun’.

The works by Dutch designer Marjan van Aubel focuses on what she calls a future of solar democracy, how solar cells can be integrated into daily life and made available for as many people as possible. Photo: Sander Plug


Photo: Pim Top

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How zero emission technologies are taking flight Modern air travel has expanded the world and its possibilities – but, it has come at a cost. Before the pandemic, the global aviation industry accounted for about two to three per cent of man-made CO2 emissions; fortunately, industry leaders are hard at work to reduce emissions. Aviation specialist Helen Massy-Beresford investigates the possible future of zero emission flight. BY HELEN MASSY-BERESFORD

GKN is aiming to develop a liquid hydrogen propulsion system for sub-regional aircraft that could eventually be scaled up to larger planes. Photo: GKN

After two years of unprecedented crisis, the aviation sector is enjoying its recovery: holidaymakers and business travellers alike are ready to get back in the air and bookings are increasing. But it’s not quite back to business as usual. Those long months of empty airports and silent skies focused minds like never before on the sector’s next big challenge. 24 |

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Cutting carbon dioxide emissions is now a major priority for airlines, airports and manufacturers around the world. “Decarbonising aviation is the challenge of a generation, but we know it can and must be done,” said Johan Lundgren, CEO of easyJet on 19 May, as the low-cost carrier set out a new interim target of cutting its

carbon dioxide emissions by 35 per cent from 2020 levels by 2035. Last year, the global airline industry agreed on an ambitious target: net zero by 2050. In Europe, reducing the environmental footprint of aviation, and the broader transportation sector, is a key part of the European Union’s long-term climate goals.


Aviation

SMALL BUT IMPORTANT CHANGES Getting legislation in place to effectively manage areas such as the taxation of aviation fuel, the development of green technologies, the more efficient management of airspace and the effective offsetting of airlines’ carbon dioxide emissions will be vital in driving the decarbonisation of an industry that brings social and economic

benefits in the form of trade and connectivity but at a price – aviation worldwide accounted for about two to three per cent of man-made CO2 emissions before the COVID-19 pandemic. Airlines and manufacturers are already working hard on the technologies that will reduce their environmental impact in the years to

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come. Some of the changes are straightforward – albeit not easy to implement. In April, Air France launched Air France ACT, a decarbonisation programme targeting a 12 per cent reduction in total emissions by 2030, compared to 2019. Areas of focus include the cabin, where the airline can demonstrate to increasingly June 2022

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can simply be ‘dropped in’ or blended with standard kerosene, cutting a flight’s carbon footprint at a stroke. In May, Air France demonstrated the potential of SAF – alongside that of other technologies – with two flights from its Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport base, one to Montreal, Canada and one to Lisbon, Portugal. The Montreal flight, an Airbus A350, was fuelled with 16 per cent SAF and the Airbus A220 flight to Lisbon with 30 per cent SAF. That compares with a 1 per cent minimum required by French authorities from the beginning of this year.

Airbus is using its ZEROe project to explore the possibilities of hydrogen. Photo: Airbus

sustainability-conscious customers that it is making a difference. “We want to give our customers a more sustainable flight experience,” says Fabien Pelous, the airline’s senior vice president of client experience. “First, because that’s our responsibility as an airline, but also because it’s now a real expectation among customers, and even a factor in their choice of airline.” Steps include reducing waste through advance in-flight meal choices and limiting the use of single use plastics – plastic cutlery and glasses have already been eliminated and soon meals will be served in dishes made from sugar cane residue. THE INVISIBLE CHANGES MAKING A REAL DIFFERENCE While passengers can see and appreciate changes such as these, to meet CO2 reduction goals, Air France’s ACT program also relies heavily on what is currently the most important – but completely invisible – change the industry is putting in place. Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF) can take the form of biofuels, made from renewable 26 |

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waste such as cooking oil or agricultural residues, or synthetic kerosene, produced from hydrogen. While aircraft cannot yet operate on 100 per cent SAF, these fuels

Air France has committed to cutting total emissions by 12 per cent by 2030. Photo: Air France

The airline also demonstrated what eco-piloting (steps such as choosing the most fuel-efficient trajectory or using only one engine for taxiing on the ground) and electric ramp and cargo transport equipment can achieve, and plans to look into the potential of other technologies; including artificial intelligence to optimise flight paths or autonomous vehicles to transport baggage. The flights emitted around 45 per cent less CO2 than a comparable normal flight – great news for aviation’s sustainability efforts.


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EasyJet is working with Wright Electric on an electric aircraft that could enter service in 2030. Photo: EasyJet

“Zero emission electric cars are already a reality on our roads, but in the 2030s, we could be flying on holiday on electric or hydrogenpowered zero emission aircraft too.” THE STICKING POINTS But the sticking points for the whole industry when it comes to SAF are their higher cost, and (limited) availability. “We know that we will have to continuously increase the level of SAF that we are putting in our aircraft,” Air France CEO Anne Rigail says, noting that the airline would need to use more than 10 per cent SAF by 2030 to meet its goals. The challenge will be finding sufficient supply, Rigail says, and the solution may lie beyond biofuels. “We know that we need more volume and that for bio-SAF it will be limited. The big question is: will energy providers be able to invest in a different type of fuel – will we be able to have synthetic fuel,” she explains. Industry players agree synthetic fuels will play an important role in decarbonising the sector. “Synthetic drop-in fuels are an essential pathway to enable net-zero

CO2 emissions for the large existing aircraft fleets in operation today,” says Max Brown, VP Technology at GKN Aerospace. “This is a fundamental step in decarbonisation and is necessary for new aircraft until new technologies, e.g. hydrogen aircraft, become available,” Brown says. Boosting the use of SAF, whether biofuels or synthetic fuels, will require the cooperation of fuel producers, airlines, airports, and governments, which need to encourage investment in the emerging sector. Many are already on the case: British Airways, for example, has teamed up with sustainable fuel producer Velocys, while in May, in a bid to boost investment and knowledge, the British government launched an ambitious challenge to operate the first zero emission transatlantic demonstrator flight by 2023. Air France’s sustainable flights also showcased its new Airbus A350 and A220 airJune 2022

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craft, which burn between 20 and 25 per cent less fuel than previous generation aircraft.

an Airbus A380 test platform with a view to developing the world’s first zero emission commercial aircraft by 2035.

ZERO EMISSION TECHNOLOGIES

Engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce’s Spirit of Innovation electric aircraft is already flying – and flying fast. In January, it set a record of 555.9km/h over three kilometres, becoming the world’s fastest electric vehicle.

For all airlines, replacing ageing fleets with modern, more fuel-efficient upgrades, is a major carbon reduction tool – even if it represents major expenditure – 1 billion euros per year for Air France – a tough call after two years of unprecedented disruption. But for net zero, even the latest generation of aircraft equipped with SAF, won’t cut it. Aircraft and engine manufacturers are working hard – and in close cooperation with airlines – on the future technologies that will allow for a more dramatic reduction. Zero emission electric cars are already a reality on our roads, but in the 2030s, we could be flying on holiday on electric or hydrogen-powered zero emission aircraft too. Toulouse-based aircraft manufacturer Airbus is working on hybrid-hydrogen aircraft through its ZEROe concepts, which are powered by hydrogen combustion through modified gas turbine engines. Liquid hydrogen is used as fuel for combustion with oxygen, and hydrogen fuel cells create electrical power that complements the gas turbine, resulting in a hybrid-electric propulsion system. The manufacturer launched its ZEROe demonstrator earlier this year and aims to test hydrogen combustion technology on

Air France’s Airbus A350 flight to Montreal used 16 per cent sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). Photo: Air France

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The aircraft used a 400kW (500+hp) electric powertrain and the most power-dense propulsion battery pack ever assembled in aerospace, Rolls-Royce confirms, noting that it worked in partnership with aviation energy storage start-up Electroflight and automotive powertrain supplier YASA. Warren East, CEO of Rolls-Royce, said at the time of the record: “This is another milestone that will help make ‘jet zero’ a reality and supports our ambitions to deliver the technology breakthroughs society needs to decarbonise transport across air, land and sea.” Rolls-Royce has also agreed to work with aircraft manufacturer Embraer, and Norwegian regional airline Widerøe, to study the concept of a zero-emission regional aircraft. The partners have committed to studying a wide range of applications for new propulsion technologies, looking into solutions including all-electric, hydrogen fuel cell or hydrogen fuelled gas turbine powered aircraft.

Widerøe itself hopes to have at least one zero emissions aircraft in commercial service by 2026 and, by 2030, plans to start replacing its ageing fleet of Dash8 aircraft with zero emission successors. THE FUTURE POTENTIALS EasyJet is also exploring all the options. It has been working on a planned 186 electric aircraft with Wright Electric for some years – in-flight engine testing is set for 2023, and entry into service for 2030. The lowcost carrier is also working with aerospace supplier GKN Aerospace, supporting the

In May, Air France operated two flights to demonstrate the impact of combining green technologies. Photo: Air France


Aviation

technology specialist’s development of Hydrogen Combustion (H2JET) and Hydrogen Fuel Cell (H2GEAR) technology, a collaboration programme aiming to develop a liquid hydrogen propulsion system in which liquid hydrogen is converted to electricity within a fuel system.

ers including development and verification of the economic viability of the technologies,” Brown says. “This will include an investigation of the potential tipping points between the application of hydrogen combustion and advanced cryogenic hydrogen electric (fuel cell) propulsion.”

Teaming up with an airline provides valuable operational insights: “Partnering with easyJet was important to GKN Aerospace in order to understand the potential future platform and fleet operational needs, as well as develop scenarios on future driv-

GKN itself is working on a variety of technologies, including integration for battery electric aircraft; fuel consumption drivers such as mass, aerodynamics and noise; the recyclability of materials and the increasing electrification of aircraft.

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The partners will next focus on developing the current and future anticipated drivers for the economic model for hydrogen aircraft as well as exploring the opportunities for flying technology demonstration, Brown says. The first flight of this technology could be as early as 2026, with likely entry into service between 2031-2035 including industrialisation, Brown predicts. Looking further ahead: “Hydrogen combustion is scalable to larger, even longer range aircraft.”

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Sustainable Tourism

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Helsinki

Photo: Helsinki

Lead the way, Helsinki Can you travel without leaving a mark? Perhaps not yet, but it is an idea not too far from reality in the city of Helsinki. At the forefront of sustainable change through a multitude of efforts, the Finnish capital is reaching for carbon neutrality by 2030 – and aims to become the most sustainable destination in the world. Ambitious? Yes. Impossible? Far from. BY EMMA RODIN

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Helsinki

tic Sea is only a bike ride away, and there are plenty of green areas to help residents recharge and breathe. “You are never more than 10km away from the sea in Helsinki,” explains Birgit Liukkonen, senior sustainability advisor at Helsinki Partners. “It is a great blend of urban culture and the calm of nature,” she adds.

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tally friendly and energy-efficient, but also made up of citizen wellbeing, equality and functional everyday life,” says Liukkonen. There is also Helsinki’s Tourism and Events programme. This outlines the city’s sustainable tourism principles and exists to help the city propel into new heights by promoting wellbeing.

A PLACE OF SUSTAINABLE GROWTH Titled ‘A City of Growth’, Helsinki’s current city strategy outlines numerous guidelines for 2021-2025 and incorporates the most important choices and priorities into the city’s everyday life, including nature conservation and ambitious climate objectives. On that note, Helsinki is committed to achieving carbon neutrality by 2030, and to promote a more sustainable way of life for everyone. Helsinki also continues to evaluate and guide the growth of the city in line with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Along with New York, Helsinki is one of the first cities in the world to report SDGs on a city level. “Here in Helsinki, the view to sustainability is holistic by nature. We like to think that sustainable solutions are not only environmen-

The sustainability aspect of tourism in Helsinki is indeed heavily considered, with the city aiming to become the world’s most sustainable destination in due course. This action, together with the reach for carbon neutrality and UN SDGs reporting, work in harmony to push Helsinki onwards and upwards. THINK SUSTAINABLY Created to make sustainability more accessible to locals and visitors alike, Think Sustainably is a digital service on myhelsinki.fi, a website run by Helsinki Partners – the city marketing, investment and talent attraction company owned by the City of Helsinki. Described as easy access to sustainable choices, Think Sustainably gives anybody the chance to choose, live or visit sustaina-

For a fifth consecutive year, Finland was recently voted the world’s happiest country in the World Happiness Report. The report, which is based on variables including freedom to make life choices, helps tell the story of Helsinki and the positive path the city is on. With a solid foundation as such, Helsinki’s overall growth, level of innovation and action-taking – are hardly surprising. The city is itself a pioneer in urban development with nature on its doorstep. The Bal-

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Photo: Jussi-Hellsten

bly. It guides users to greener services, including everything from transportation and attractions to food and hotels, inviting anyone to be part of the change. And although the service primarily helps the public make better choices, it is equally useful for businesses as a tool to promote their sustainability efforts. Win, win.

MEET THE CRITERIA Businesses that are included in Think Sustainably get a green tab if they meet the criteria. These fit all kinds of businesses, from small cafés to big hotels, and are separated into categories like attractions, or restaurants, cafés and bars. The events category, for instance, has 23 criteria focused on areas including recycling, energy saving

“The service is tailor-made for Helsinki and is based on criteria that highlights ecological and social sustainability as well as environmental issues,” explains Liukkonen. Participating brands need to meet these criteria, which works well for brands on either side of the spectrum. Brands that have only just started their climate journey will gain insight into their operations and can use it as a checklist, while those already on a good path get help to communicate just that. “We are firm believers that change needs to happen on a city level, and this service has become an important part of giving anybody the opportunity to be part of the change,” adds Liukkonen. 32 |

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Photo: Jussi-Hellsten

and vegetarian food, plus other ways of reducing the carbon footprint of events. Another aspect to highlight is the service review system, which is based on trust and transparency. There is no auditing process for the criteria as their fulfilment is left on a trust-based agreement with the service providers. Additionally, the myhelsinki.fi


Helsinki

website offers an easy way for users of the service to leave feedback on the brands involved. “We believe that businesses that choose to take part in this service are already motivated to change and work towards sustainability,” explains Liukkonen. HELSINKI, TODAY AND BEYOND Helsinki is a compact and walkable city. This, together with its popular city bike system and functional local transportation (such as rail traffic run on sustainably produced electricity), makes it easy for visitors to move about in a green way.

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“Here in Helsinki, the view to sustainability is holistic by nature. We like to think that sustainable solutions are not only environmentally friendly and energy-efficient, but also made up of citizen wellbeing, equality and functional everyday life,” Helsinki Events Juhlaviikot The night of arts. Photo: Julia Kivela

An impressive 40 per cent of Helsinki consists of green areas, and the city is also one of few capitals with real nature so close by. There are over 60 nature reserves in the city area and 130km of seashore open to everyone. All in all, this forms a unique experience for visitors and is a place of pure goodness – quite literally. Thanks to its neat size, Helsinki can play around with different sustainable solutions and is a perfect example of what change on a city level can look like, done well. One can only hope that other cities will follow suit, and that the title match for the world’s most sustainable destination becomes one that everyone can (and wants to) fight.

Web: www.myhelsinki.fi

Facebook: @myhelsinki

Instagram: @myhelsinki

Photo: Helsinki

Photo: Julia-Kivela

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Transforming tourism on land We can, should, and must move faster on land – Randy Durband, chief executive officer of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC), writes on how the land components of the global tourism sector could and should drastically reduce emissions: BY RANDY DURBAND

Travel and tourism is believed to provide something on the order of 8 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). That’s lower than its 10.4 per cent contribution to global GDP, but higher than it should be because all sectors need to reach net zero as soon as possible. Tourism faces urgency also for business reasons, because its GHG contribution is more visible than other forms. That’s the case especially for aviation because everyone flies and thinks about those carbon emissions. Aviation is looking hard at Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) and continually strives for enhanced aircraft design to reduce their carbon footprint, but the sector is years 34 |

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away from major reductions. Cruise Lines are moving positively towards GHG reductions, so there is progress on the water. Land components, however, can and should be much cleaner, much faster. We have the technology and proven practices needed to wipe out GHG for all tourism activities on land immediately. We just need the will. What do I mean?

they turn over their fleets quickly anyway, and a non-competitive mandate would be fair in that all players share the cost structure. Tax incentives for commercial buses, vans, etc. that serve visitors for conversion to clean energy vehicles, would not be difficult or painful. Rail infrastructure is important because much of tourism’s short haul and medium haul can utilise that cleaner – and more enjoyable – mode of transport.

Land transport can move faster to clean energy vehicles. Imagine if an entire destination installed EV charging stations everywhere visitors go with their rental cars, and mandate a three-year transition to EVs by the car providers. That’s doable because

Hotels have the ability to greatly reduce their energy costs with more rapid application of affordable technologies and practices to reduce air conditioning and heating costs and emissions. Cost is no longer a major barrier; lack of will and lack of understanding is a


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Sustainable Travel

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Land transport used in the tourism sector can move faster to clean energy vehicles, says Randy Durband, CEO of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council. Photo: dreamstime.com

much larger barrier. Another barrier is the franchise model for major hotel chains; the brand centre can ask for more sustainable properties, but it’s up to the hotel investors, owners, and management companies to actually do it. Plastics reduction in hotels is easier and cheaper than most owners know; it’s actually now cheaper to operate an in-house glass water bottle sterilization and refill system than to buy all those harmful single-use plastic bottles. Food and beverage is a neglected topic in the battle against GHG. Food waste is an enormous GHG contributor: carbon is emitted in food production, in food distribution from the farm to the table, and when food waste enters landfills instead of being composted it generates harmful methane. So we can, should, and must move faster on land. Travellers should demand it, and owners and operators should wake up to the imperatives and opportunities. They can save money and increase guest satis-

faction by noting that a 2021 booking.com survey of global travellers indicated that 53 per cent of them are annoyed when they cannot recycle while travelling. Traveller annoyance will grow, costs are going down – yet owners/operators are moving slowly. They need to rapidly increase the pace of conversion to clean energy transport vehicles and modalities.

Randy Durband is CEO of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC), the UN-created NGO that manages global standards for sustainable tourism, and president of GSTC Asia Pacific. He is a frequent advisor and speaker to governments and businesses on sustainable tourism policies and implementation. Furthermore, he has served on numerous tourism boards and committees in Asia, North America, Europe, and Africa, and as a judge for leading sustainable tourism awards.

“We have the technology and proven practices needed to wipe out GHG for all tourism activities on land immediately. We just need the will.” June 2022

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The City of Aarhus

Aarhus: A leader in sustainable tourism With a third place on the Global Destination Sustainability Index (GDS), it is well documented that Aarhus is a city with many eco-friendly attributes. But although it is proud of this achievement, the city’s tourist organisation also recognises the responsibility this status brings. BY KARIN BLAK |

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The Infinite Bridge by Varna Beach/Ballehage Beach in Aarhus.

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The City of Aarhus

Paddle boarding by Navitas Science and Innovation, one of the many buildings which have recently emerged on the waterfront.

Pia Lange Christensen, CEO of VisitAarhus, talks with pride about the leaps Aarhus has made towards a greener and more sustainable tourist destination. And quite rightly so: from a host of eco-friendly hotels, to sustainable events, attractions, and modes of emission-free transport, the city is teeming with green initiatives. However, when asked about other certifications, Christensen responds: “It isn’t about reaching for the next certification, it is about carrying on improving sustainability from here on, developing strategies that are workable and collaborating to achieve the best for the people and the nature surrounding us.” This is a city that is thinking green and achieving more than just a certification. DENMARK’S MOST CLIMATE FRIENDLY HOTEL Aarhus boasts an amazing choice of eco-friendly hotels. Around 70 per cent of rooms are certified eco-friendly with hotels aiming for sustainable management of the whole hotel. From water usage, to cleaning materials, sourcing of food and dealing with the inevitable waste, every aspect is under 38 |

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scrutiny as hotels work towards a greener, better future and a hospitality sector that is healthy for people and nature alike. As an example of the achievements by local hotels, Christensen mentions Hotel Scandic Aarhus City, named the most climate friendly hotel in Denmark by Momondo, and a flagship for hotels in the region. Although the building dates from 1875, long before sustainable tourism was thought of, it has managed to receive the Swan eco-label in recognition of its implementation of green solutions. These include 90 per cent of its electricity consumption being generated by solar cells which cover the roof of this city centre hotel. In addition, leftover food does not go to waste: a system at the hotel extracts water from the food and what is left is sent away to be used as animal feed, fertiliser or biogas. GREEN NATURE AND CULTURE Over 20 years of collaboration to regenerate Aarhus River and its banks has resulted in biodiversity returning to this historically important waterway. Fish now flourish,

attracting hobby fishing, and Christensen laughs as she talks about the paddle boarders, boaters and canoeists that now can be seen enjoying the journey through the city, with stop offs at various eco-friendly eateries and coffee bars on the way. Not many cities can proudly present a list of eight beaches, plus a harbour lido, all clean and ready to welcome a relaxing day or a fun filled family outing. Four of the beaches are Blue Flag 2022 destinations, which is an international labelling system that considers quality of water, surrounding facilities, safety, and the continuing work to improve on existing standards while making a difference for the environment. The beaches are, at the most, a short bus ride out from the city centre. Green spaces are also plentiful, with nine parks within a walk or quick bus ride, one of which is the Royal Palace, whose grounds are open to the public when the Royal family is not in residence. Tasked with bringing green areas into the city, Christensen talks enthusiastically about the roof garden on


The City of Aarhus

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Plant-based eating in one of many eco-friendly cafes.

The Latin Quarter is the oldest and one of the most charming quarters in Aarhus.

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The City of Aarhus

The Salling Rooftop is a sensational roof terrace with a café and an urban oasis.

the top of the department store, Salling, in the city centre. This rooftop already presents a glass viewing platform overlooking the pedestrianised street, or Strøget, beneath. Bringing more green areas into Aarhus city centre can be a challenge when little space is available, so the development of this rooftop garden, which opens on 17 June 2022, is a welcome alternative. There is also much positive progress in Aarhus when it comes to culture and art. One event taking the lead in the work towards reversing the impacts of climate change is the NorthSide music and culture festival at the beginning of June. This year, the aim is for the festival to be 100 per cent sustainable, including waste and energy, while suppliers of food and drink are requested to only provide organic plant-based food and biodegradable, eco-friendly take-away containers.

CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENTS Aarhus is expecting over 60 cruise ships to berth in the harbour during 2022. Their diesel engines cause a significant amount of air pollution and, of course, add to the city’s CO2 output. But a project is underway to clean up this side of tourism as well. Soon, Aarhus harbour will have available a new electrical charging point for the ships to plug into, making even a cruise holiday more environmentally friendly. Christensen talks about how their success working towards increasing sustainable and eco-friendly tourism is not the end, but the beginning, as “being third means working harder at maintaining and improving what we already have”. The sustainability strategy for Aarhus is constantly under review. This gives the city, its inhabitants and its visitors alike, the best possible sustainable and eco-friendly experience; with new

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projects and collaborations continuously being considered, there is no stopping for this forward-looking city. MAKING A GREATER IMPACT Talking about the success story of VisitAarhus, Christensen puts the accomplishments down to collaborations and partnerships with organisations, individuals, and neighbouring municipalities. She also emphasises that without their organisation of volunteers, they would not have been able to achieve what they have. Because of the success VisitAarhus has had with its volunteer programmes, it is offering Masterclasses to organisations


The City of Aarhus

The beach ‘Den Permanente’ (English: The Permanent) is by far the most popular beach.

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Having fun at the Harbour Lido.

Getting around in Aarhus is easy with Denmark’s first light rail, Letbanen.

in Denmark and other countries in how to develop their own organisation of volunteers. And at this point, Christensen says: “It isn’t enough that we here in Aarhus are successfully implementing change. If we are to make an impact on climate change, we need to share our ideas with others; then we stand a chance of making a far greater impact.” There is no doubt Aarhus is a destination with a constant focus on sustainability and improvements toward building a city where sustainable tourism is the norm. This is a place to explore knowing that an eco-friendly approach to life doesn’t have to be compromised when taking a break.

Marselisborg Palace is open to the public when the Royals are not in residence.

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Special Feature

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Weather Sensors for the Grid

You simply cannot predict the weather – or can you? – The role of sensors in supercharging renewable energy systems While the fact that the weather is notoriously hard to predict may have saved many an awkward dinner party silence, renewable energy companies are striving to improve forecasts. Cleantech expert Jason Deign takes a look at the key role sensors are playing in the clean technology evolution. BY JASON DEIGN

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Weather Sensors for the Grid

Vaisala’s WindCube vertical profiling lidar is used for accurate, bankable offshore and onshore wind data.

Tomorrow’s energy systems will rely mostly on wind and solar power. That means it will be key to know when the wind is blowing, and the sun is shining. A host of sensor technologies is coming into play to help grid operators and renewable energy companies get their forecasts right. One of them is the German grid operator Tennet, which came up with an unusual way of forecasting the weather in 2017. The company was concerned about getting forecasts right because cloud cover or gusty conditions could affect the amount of energy coming onto the grid from wind and solar plants, which are growing in number. So, as well as pulling weather data from standard meteorological sources, Tennet 44 |

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came up with an idea to tap into a massive source of information on real-time conditions: cars. Modern vehicles are equipped with sensors measuring everything from brightness and temperature to humidity and air pressure. Tennet teamed up with automaker Volkswagen for a pilot incorporating this data, duly anonymised, into the systems used for grid control.

Where the Internet connects people, the IoT connects things such as pressure gauges or temperature sensors, making it easier to monitor and control physical infrastructure. “Using IoT data to enrich existing data sets is super important,” says Steve Hilton, co-founder and president at MachNation, a leading benchmarking and testing firm for IoT middleware and platforms.

While it is, at this moment, unclear how the pilot fared, the experiment shows the lengths that cleantech industries are going to in integrating data into their systems and products. Furthermore, this push comes as sensor technologies are increasingly linked to data networks in what is called the Internet of Things, or IoT.

“It’s similar to tuning up the supercharger on a high-performance car: the vehicle already runs well, but a tune-up will boost performance even more,” he adds. A KEY FUNCTION FOR RENEWABLES This fine tuning is particularly important for technologies such as solar power, where


Weather Sensors for the Grid

the output from a plant might be seriously affected by a single cloud or by factors such as smoke or mist that might not even show up in a weather forecast. Assessing a plant’s output correctly is not only important for grid operators, however. Renewable plant owners get paid according to how much power they can provide and may be penalised if they get their forecasts wrong. Because of this, renewable energy plant developers begin gathering detailed weather data from their sites even before they start building their projects. “Our customers require the most accurate estimate of how windy or sunny it has been at a location, so they can understand investments associated with building projects and financing them,” says Pascal Storck, head of technology at Vaisala, a technology leader in weather measurements. “They also demand the best forecasts for renewable energy output, from the next five minutes through the balance of the trading day, all the way out to scheduling tomorrow and maintenance for the week. The single best thing you can do to understand weather at a location is to measure it.”

These may be installed on shore to track conditions in offshore wind farms. Lidar units are used before wind farms get built, to make sure the energy that could be obtained from a site matches expectations based on historical weather reports. Developers will usually take a year’s worth of readings before going ahead with a project. Lidar is also used when the farms are operational, to make sure the power being produced by the turbines corresponds to the amount of wind available. If it does not, that could indicate a turbine is not working properly. But “if you don’t understand the resource, you can’t even begin to troubleshoot or improve your performance,” Storck says. “You need to know what the resources at your site are – which direction and how hard the wind is blowing [or] what’s the irradiation if you are building a solar plant,” says Elvira Aliverdieva, who works in busi-

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ness development support at Vaisala. “Basically, the whole project depends on the resources of your site, so it’s essential to know what’s going on there.” LIDAR’S REMARKABLE CAPABILITIES Lidar represents “the absolute best technology” for weather sensing, says Storck. “To measure the wind speed 100 metres above ground, that’s not child’s play,” he says. “Stand at the bottom of a 30-storey building and imagine how on earth they’re going to measure the wind up there.” In many solar projects, key meteorological data is frequently collected using a sensor that is even further away – beyond the atmosphere. Since solar project developers only really need to know how much sunshine is reaching their arrays, they can make do with commercial satellite remote sensing data. “The satellites that are orbiting, from space, can detect how sunny it is,” Storck says: “They can see the clouds.”

Cloud cover can affect the amount of energy coming onto the grid from solar plants, and predicting outputs are essential to renewable plant developers. Photo: dreamstime.com

RECENT ADVANCES IN FORECASTING Weather forecasting has come a long way in recent years, with on-site measurements being combined with historical records and analysed using artificial intelligence to make detailed predictions. Weather sensors themselves have become increasingly sophisticated. A good example is a technology called Light Detection and Ranging, or lidar. This technology uses beams of light to probe the atmosphere and can be used to provide accurate measurements of meteorological conditions such as wind speed and shading. Modern lidar devices can measure wind speed and direction at 20 heights of up to more than 300 metres. Scanning lidars, meanwhile, can carry out long-range measurements of up to ten kilometres. June 2022

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In the solar industry, he says, “satellite-derived data sets are considered bankable, such that many projects are financed and built without ever taking any on-ground measurements.” Thanks to cleantech’s preoccupation with measurements, the amount of weather data being collected by renewable energy plant owners increases by the day. Most large wind farms, particularly offshore, now have a lidar or meteorological station, or

Photo: Isae-Supaero

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Weather Sensors for the Grid

both, and some may even have two lidars. As time goes by, though, the need for even more data could start to decrease. That is because algorithms are increasingly helping to work out the weather. “Once you’ve measured the weather for a

sufficient period of time, you can train a weather prediction model to fill the gaps,” says Storck. “It’s not just about measurements or weather forecasting, it’s about fusing all this together with machine learning to make digital representations of the weather and climate.”

“It’s similar to tuning up the supercharger on a high-performance car...”


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Canary Wharf

Structure of the month: London’s Canary Wharf to become an eco-friendly site for culture, sport, and biodiversity 48 |

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Plans are taking shape for the transformation of the urban areas at Canary Wharf London, with biodiversity as a focus. The vision is to develop and increase the green areas where people and nature can share the benefits of biodiverse spaces. It will be realised by a partnership between Canary Wharf Group (CWG), an experienced urban promotor of sustainable living and working environments, and The Eden Project, a Cornwall-based expert in biodiverse environments. Shobi Khan, CEO of CWG says: “Sustainability has been front and centre for CWG’s buildings over the last 20 years. We already have over 20 acres of parks and gardens and 5km of waterside paths. Our partnership with the Eden Project will ensure these spaces and new areas support the ecosystems that people and nature depend on as we bring transformational change to the estate.” GREEN SPACES The focus of the partnership is to work with the challenges of enhancing biodiversity in urban public areas at Canary Wharf, specifically with the aim of making improvements to waterways and public areas.

Thanks to the expertise of two distinct eco-conscious organisations, London’s Canary Wharf – best known for its many towering glass and steel office buildings – is set to be transformed into an eco-friendly site that enhances biodiversity and supports the bionetworks that people and nature depend on. BY KARIN BLAK |

PHOTOS: CANARY WHARF GROUP

The first project will be the creation of a partly covered green spine running through the centre of the Canary Wharf estate, London’s financial centre. Following this will be the development and further enhancement of existing parks and gardens, waterside access, performance spaces, new bridges and boardwalks, and floating pontoons. The vision is also to create new spaces for the arts and culture, and for water sports June 2022

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Our urbanising world cannot become sustainable until cities work for nature as well as people.

Architect’s drawing of the green spine running through Canary Wharf.

such as paddle-boarding, open water swimming and kayaking. As such, when completed, the area is set to become a sustainable choice for a day of activities, a cultural exploration, musical events, or just a picnic. With the new Crossrail Elizabeth Line station at Canary Wharf, it will be quicker and easier to get there as well. A GLOBAL EXAMPLE OF BEST PRACTICE CWG started out in the 1980s with the aim of developing a sustainable regeneration of West India Docks, a greatly neglected part of the Isle of Dogs, and originally one of the busiest docks in the world. Since then, the company’s approach to development and its persistent high sustainability ratings, have earned it a strong track record; it has more sustainably certified spaces than any other UK developer. Working together with the Eden Project, CWG has ambitious hopes of transforming Canary Wharf into a global example of best practice and innovative ideas for biodiversity. Ultimately, the aim is to showcase the possibility of people living in harmony with nature within dense urban environments. Shobi Khan says: “Our urbanising world cannot become sustainable until cities 50 |

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work for nature as well as people. In partnering with biodiversity expert, the Eden Project, CWG will accelerate thinking and action on how urban environments can be re-designed with nature at the heart.” THE BENEFITS TO THE COMMUNITY Research by psychologists has shown that green spaces have a positive effect on mental health, de-escalating stress levels and lifting down-turning moods. Having parks and gardens, as well as a waterside to enjoy, will no doubt provide a natural an-

Crossrail Elizabeth Line at Canary Wharf.

tidepressant and much needed relaxation in a city environment. How is this being included in these transformative plans? The award-winning architect Glenn Howells, whose approach is specifically to consider the wellbeing of the individuals and the communities using the spaces he develops, has been appointed to assist with the overall masterplan. His presence will ensure the human aspect of this impressive scheme will play a major role during the planning and development phases.


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The hope is that this collaboration will build on the existing achievements by CWG of reducing Scope 1 (direct) and 2 (indirect) CO2 emissions by 49 per cent since 2012, to reach their commitments of Net Zero by 2030. It will be interesting to see if the collaboration and the lessons learned will also result in opportunities for environmental education for the visitors to Canary Wharf. HIGH HOPES When listening to climate experts, it is clear that there is an urgency for all of us to become more aware of the effect of our lifestyle on nature. When it comes to placing the collaboration between CWG and the Eden Project in this context, David Harland says: “There is not a moment to waste. CWG and Eden are primed and ready to work together not just to make Canary Wharf a greener place rich in biodiversity, but also to share what we learn in order to bring nature back to other urban developments in the UK and across the globe.”

Architect’s drawing of waterside at Canary Wharf.

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The Eden Project Founded over 20 years ago with the idea of creating life in an area of utter dereliction, an old china clay pit in Cornwall, The Eden Project is now an influential educational charity and social enterprise, and a popular destination for tourism, schools and conferences. Founder Sir Tim Smit says: “we all need to embrace the notion of survival being based on having clean air, clean water, fertile soil and a degree of much greater equity around the sharing of those resources.”

Canary Wharf Group Being the sustainable developer of the largest urban regeneration project in Europe, CWG has, since 2012, purchased 100 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources and, since 2009, has sent 0 per cent operational waste to landfill. CWG’s mission is to further develop sustainable environments while embracing change and encouraging innovation.

The collaboration Sharing knowledge and skills, as these two major organisations have now set out to do, provides an inspirational example of how collaboration between industry and education can help to transform our world and hopefully enhance biodiversity to the benefit of people, nature and the environment. About the collaboration, David Hartland, chief executive of the Eden Project International, says: “CWG and the Eden Project are both based on the transformational redevelopment of a former industrial site into a world-renowned icon of regeneration. Our exciting new partnership feels natural and vital. Eden’s known track record in sustainability leadership aligned with the Canary Wharf Group’s consistently high sustainability ratings for their buildings offers a great platform upon which to build.”

Planned roof garden.

This is a project with high hopes. Combining knowledge and expertise to carry out this ambitious masterplan could provide a template for others to follow. Thinking big is a skill. But so is thinking small, which is required when narrowing in on the details of developing natural habitats that supply food and shelter for animals. The choice of native plants that provide flowers with nectar and pollen for pollinators, as well as fruit and seeds for birds, will be critical, for 52 |

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instance. There is much more to biodiversity than just designing herbaceous borders. Living together in harmony with nature might mean big organisations taking charge, changing their idea of what investment means and widening their scope to include concepts such as the circular economy and ecosystem services. Perhaps with Canary Wharf Group and the Eden Project collaborating and taking a stand, more will follow.


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Tomorrow University

Courses and degree programmes are tailored for students that want to not just change the world, but make it better.

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Tomorrow University

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Educating the changemakers of tomorrow While the pandemic accelerated the speed by which many universities are bringing knowledge online, Tomorrow University of Applied Sciences* is taking things one step further. Focused on educating the changemakers of tomorrow, the remote-first university is bringing not just knowledge but learning online. Co-founder and Co-CEO Dr. Thomas Funke tells Discover CleanTech why he believes this approach may help accelerate the green transformation.

MADE IN PARTNERSHIP WITH TOMORROW UNIVERSITY

BY SIGNE HANSEN

| PHOTOS: TOMORROW UNIVERSITY

When founding Tomorrow University of Applied Sciences* in 2020, Funke and his co-founder and CEO Christian Rebernik, wanted to provide two things – what was missing and needed on the educational market and what was wanted by potential students. This led to the decision to focus not just on entrepreneurial and technological subjects such as business administration, software development and artificial intelligence, but also on the topic of sustainability. “The biggest need we see is in the topic of sustainability in general. At universities, we are used to teaching entrepreneurship and building businesses, but what is missing is a focus on the impact of the business, not just in terms of financial health, but its impact on the planet, its stakeholders and society at large,” says Funke. “It is about responsible entrepreneurship, about the context that your business operates in. People have been talking about that for years and there’s beJune 2022

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come a huge need to educate for green competencies, for people not just driving change but driving change for the better.” With four degree programmes (three bachelors and one masters), and a number of open challenges and certificate programmes, Tomorrow University of Applied Sciences* received its first batches of change-eager students from all over the world last year: 50 joining the degree programmes and 150 the open challenges. From next year on, the university is planning on accepting 200 students across its four degree programmes (with four annual uptakes), but long-term, the ambition is even bigger. “The wild idea is to have one million learners in 2030,” says Funke, and specifies: “Not only students in degree programmes, but also people taking part in our open challenges.” STUDENTS NEED TO FACE CHALLENGES When things have been developing at lightning speed for Tomorrow University of Applied Sciences*, it has not just been a result 56 |

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of the increased focus on online education during and after the pandemic, but also of the university’s unique problem-solving approach to learning. “If you look at the technology that has been used [in education] during the past ten years, it has mainly been directed at solving an excess, at making knowledge available and digitalising the traditional way we teach by bringing lectures online,” explains Funke. “It’s no longer necessary to go to university to listen to a lecture, which is why we need to take things one step further – knowledge is just one part of education, something that can be consumed, but learning happens when you’re out of your comfort zone, and with our technology we put the challenge at the centre of everything. Students get to start something that they cannot do on their own, they will need the help of their mentors as well as the relevant knowledge.” On top of learning from the experienced entrepreneurs that act as mentors on all courses, students are enabled to build meaningful relationships with their peers


Tomorrow University

from all over the world. Despite the online format, the courses offer a strong focus on cohort learning. Students will stay connected through regular live sessions and course discussions. Besides this, to progress through the challenges of the courses, participants will be required to collaborate and give and receive feedback at all steps. “The challenges are designed so you need to share – it’s a core part of learning,” stresses Funke. “We make sure that you cannot progress without checking in with others and getting and giving feedback.” To foster the feeling of being part of a global cohort, students do not participate in courses through traditional video calls, but through a virtual campus created with award-winning technology. VIRTUAL LEARNING – REAL WORLD CHALLENGES Even though the online campus and tailored app create a unique learning experi-

ence, the success and speed by which Tomorrow University of Applied Sciences* has gotten off the ground has also been helped by timing and luck, says Funke. “We’ve been fast, of course we could praise ourselves for that, but with this kind of venture, you also need the right moment and a bit of luck. For instance, with our partner university [WU Executive Academy]. They said – we need precisely that; our core students are not happy with what we are offering in terms of online education. The ministry said something similar – we need offers that provide a modern learning experience and use tech for that. So, the market situation really made us fast.”

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The market demand has also been reflected in the interest from students which did not, as the founders had feared, decline once the pandemic had been less present. “It’s interesting – students want to come back to campus but not to the lecture hall, and with our learning model the world is your campus,” says Funke. While the 38-year-old has over 15 years of experience in the educational sector, both founders of Tomorrow University of Applied Sciences* have started several companies and have a strong awareness of the competencies needed to make it in the world of tech and entrepreneurship.

“It’s no longer necessary to go to university to listen to a lecture, which is why we need to take things one step further – knowledge is just one part of education...”

The team behind Tomorrow University.

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Tomorrow University’s app and online platform allows students to participate in learning virtually everywhere.

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This means that while some of the six core competencies the university focuses on are, of course, shared with traditional universities – and Funke stresses that what Tomorrow University of Applied Sciences* is doing is not replacing but complementing the existing offers – the focus of the courses is strictly on competencies that can be applied in the real world. These include cognitive efficiency, technology literacy (because, as Funke says: “tech needs to be not just understood, but built”), self-empowerment through the awareness of what you can do and cannot do, entrepreneurial thinking, sustainability, and social intelligence. “The six competencies are broken down to 75 smaller competencies – it is what everybody studies with us and what is needed in the 21st century,” stresses Funke. TOMORROW UNIVERSITY OF APPLIED SCIENCES* WANTS TO MAKE THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE Through the different courses, students pick from a variety of challenges inspired by scenarios from the real world and created in partnership with the university’s three founding partners: Share, Tier, and Wandelbots. However, students bring their own ideas with them as well. Seeking to develop concepts that will e.g. replace plastics, reduce the emissions of the coffee industry, or create a fully sustainable airline, the 50 students currently enrolled in degree programmes are already using the virtual university as a springboard for change in the real world, and that is exactly what the founders are hoping for. “One pattern [for students at Tomorrow University of Applied Sciences*] is that they are interested in driving change. They really want to make change happen, to be a changemaker. That means they don’t just want to understand the concept of sustainability, but to learn the tools, the mechanisms and the methodology to make change happen. So if you, for example, want to join a corporate setting, you would not just be the corporate sustainability manager that writes the report, but the one that drives change and informs the organisation towards being more sustainable. If it is entrepreneurship, then June 2022

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it is about being the person who starts the business, not just about the concept of an entrepreneur,” stresses Funke, and rounds off: “That’s what they all want, and the shared ambition is – maybe it sounds a bit cheesy – but they want to make the world a little better.” TOMORROW UNIVERSITY OF APPLIED SCIENCES* IN SHORT: Tomorrow University of Applied Sciences* is the first European start-up to launch a world-leading university focused on educating future generations to create solutions for a more sustainable society. The university offers three Bachelor’s Degree programmes (accreditation pending) and a fully-accredited Professional Master Degree in Sustainability, Entrepreneurship, and Technology (SET). In February 2022, the university’s technology was awarded with a nomination among the Top 20 at the GSV Cup — the world’s largest pitch competition for EdTech startups at the 13th Annual ASU+GSV Summit. The Uni-

versity is founded by CEO, Christian Rebernik and Co-CEO, Dr. Thomas Funke, and partners with Wandelbots, Share, and Tier Mobility. The university has four yearly uptakes and is planning to launch more degree programmes in the coming years. TOMORROW UNIVERSITY OF APPLIED SCIENCES* HAS FIVE LEARNING PRINCIPLES: Mission-driven The programme and curriculum are designed to change with the times. This means students pick from a variety of challenges inspired by scenarios from the real world. Flexible All of the university’s programmes are fully-remote and while the expectation to master subject areas is constant, the timeline in which to achieve them is flexible. Students move through challenges rather than traditional courses and build competencies in real-time to consider the needs of everyone’s individual learning process.

Christian Rebernik (L), CEO at Tomorrow University of Applied Sciences* has 20+ years experience in tech and entrepreneurship. He is an investor, mentor, and also the founder of several other successful start-ups holding myriad C-roles in other Austrian and German-born ventures. CAO, Academic and entrepreneur, Dr. Thomas Funke (R) has always been an impassioned entrepreneur and also holds over 15 years of experience in the education sector.

Personalised The university’s technology guides students through the programme, adapts to individual needs, and gives feedback from the start to the finish. Each student’s goals and their understanding of core competencies are individually adapted on the app, creating a unique learning experience for everybody. Students will see a visual record of their learning progress throughout their studies, making it easy to stay focused on desired outcomes. Self-empowered Rather than failing a subject or challenge, students are given the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge until mastery. They can submit their work until reviewers and experts believe they fully grasp the chosen concept. Social The virtual campus enables learners to build meaningful relationships and enjoy engaging, as well as obtain effective remote-first learning experiences. Together with their cohort, mentors, and the vast global community, they will stay connected and engaged through regular live sessions, course discussions, and events. The challenge-based learning method promotes collaboration and 360° feedback from all participants, peers to mentors, and vice versa, at all times.

Degree Programmes offered by Tomorrow University of Applied Sciences* Professional Master in Sustainability, Entrepreneurship, and Technology Bachelor of Art in Responsible Entrepreneurship Bachelor of Arts in Sustainable Product Management Bachelor of Science in Artificial Intelligence & Sustainable Technologies For more information visit: www.tomorrow.university *Tomorrow University of Applied Sciences is in the process of accreditation


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The Role of Educational Institutions in the Cleantech Transformation

Creating a new generation of thinkers – and doers The transition towards a more sustainable, circular economy begins right back at the drawing board. Chemists, engineers, and eco-entrepreneurs are designing greener, safer, cleaner products, processes, and supply chains. Now, an increasing number of universities and schools are inspiring a new generation of expert innovators able to problem-solve, think creatively and critically, and help drive this systemic change around the globe. BY ANNA TURNS

In the UK, the Society of Cosmetic Scientists runs Scrub Up On Science courses for school children, while a teacher programme run by US not-for-profit Beyond Benign brings the subject of green chemistry to life in classrooms by creating content directly with teachers and embedding green chemistry education into science curriculums. Not only does this drive institutional change and help to create a workforce and scientific community that can expand on these green technological advances in the future, it equips all students to better understand the science behind the products they buy, and to become more eco-literate. 62 |

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With support from the International Sustainable Chemistry Collaborative Centre, Isemar Cruz, a fashion designer who studied biotechnology engineering, and Jacqueline Cruz, an industrial engineer, have designed an innovative biomaterial that they hope will “disrupt the leather industry”. Photo: Leqara


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The Centre for Alternative Technology in Wales aims to empower people with the skills and knowledge to transform sustainability in every sector. Photo: CAT

Co-founder of Beyond Benign, Dr Amy Cannon holds the world’s first PhD in green chemistry from the University of Massachusetts, Boston. She believes that education is ‘central’ to supporting the much-needed transition to green and sustainable chemistry: “If we are not preparing scientists with new skills and sustainability mindsets, then we will not be able to realise change,” says Cannon whose goal is for 25 per cent of graduating chemists in the US to have training in green chemistry by 2025. Ongoing peer-to-peer support is crucial. Beyond Benign actively fosters communities of educators who can share their green chemistry experiences and, in 2023, she is launching an online community hub for 64 |

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both teacher and student support. “Chemists, with green chemistry skills, have tremendous potential to address sustainability challenges such as climate change at the design-stage of a product lifecycle. By driving change in chemistry education, we can improve chemistry’s impact on human progress on a global scale through a preventative, upstream approach,” adds Cannon. FASHION BASED ON SCIENCE At a start-up level, two sisters in a lab in Peru are doing just this by challenging the fashion norm. Jacqueline and Isemar Cruz began their venture when they realised how much pollution resulted from the use of chromium in leather tanneries in their home city of Arequipa. Isemar, a fashion design-

er who studied biotechnology engineering, and Jacqueline, an industrial engineer, have designed an innovative biomaterial. Together with support from the International Sustainable Chemistry Collaborative Centre (ISC3), a Germany-based think tank, they have developed a way to use microbes to transform abundant food waste into vegan leather. Just as yoghurt and beer production use fermentation, microbes derived from flowers and fruit are grown in a biotech lab and used to transform abundant food waste into vegan leather without using any hazardous chemicals or heavy metals, such as the chromium used in conventional leather tanning. “We use science, biotechnology


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Students Surevy. Photo: CAT

Student Earth. Photo: CAT

and organic waste to create a 100 per cent eco-friendly material – the process is easy, cost-effective, scalable and fast,” says Isemar, who can adapt the technology to mimic any desired texture, colour, toughness or thickness of leather.

Though breathable, strong, and soft just like leather, Leqara’s vegan leather is created through the use of microbes and food waste without the need for hazardous chemicals or animal slaughters. Photo: Leqara

Not only does their company Le Qara not use toxic chemicals, but it also does not produce any waste and contributes to a circular economy because the materials are ultimately biodegradable. Any residues leftover at the end of the process can be used as liquid compost, so it is a zero-waste solution and the material is breathable just like leather and can be used to make clothes, bags and accessories without the need to slaughter any animals. June 2022

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business sense, as Dr Thomas Wanner, managing director of ISC3, explains, “entrepreneurship can be a strong driver in the transition towards a sustainable economy and can help to close the gaps between science, innovation and business.”

CAT Lecture. Photo: CAT

Le Qara – which means ‘leather’ in Quecha, the indigenous language of the Incas – has already grown to employ ten people, mainly biotechnology engineers. “We aim to make a real change in the fashion industry and believe that our tech has the potential to disrupt the leather industry,” says Isemar. “It’s vital that we use science and biotechnology as our allies to fight back against this unbalanced, unproductive, and polluted world we have created.” SPEEDING UP THE CLEANTECH REVOLUTION

Leqara Founders. Photo: Leqara

A NEW WORLD, NEW ENTREPRENEURS To be truly sustainable, we need more circular systems like Le Qara’s; systems that design out waste and contamination while improving our quality of life and ensuring a healthy, balanced economy. Dr Claudio Cinquemani, director of science and innovation at ISC3, explains that tech needs to not only be good for the planet, but also needs to be economically successful and ethical for society. Through his collaborative work with more than 150 sustainable chemistry start-ups around the world, he has noticed that entrepreneurs in different countries have very different perceptions of waste. “In the developing world, waste is 66 |

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considered to be a resource – we need to rethink that.” He adds that, “the transition to more sustainable chemistry will happen, perhaps by 2030 – every business model that is unsustainable will have no future. I’m sure about that because at some point you will have to pay for carbon emissions, you’ll have to pay for waste.” ISC3 has established an international school for sustainable chemistry and launched a new master’s degree in sustainable chemistry at Leuphana University, Germany, with plans to roll out more specialist education programs at universities around the world. Upskilling makes good

From school visits and degrees to short courses for councils, community groups and businesses, the Centre for Alternative Technology in Wales aims to empower people with the skills and knowledge to help implement climate and nature-based solutions that could transform sustainability in every sector. Head of CAT’s Graduate School of the Environment, Dr Adrian Watson, explains that education has been at the heart of CAT’s mission for nearly 50 years. According to Watson, sustainability should be embedded in every aspect of a course in order for it to be fit for the future. “Sustainability awareness is an essential requirement for all learners. Educators should be given support and creative freedom to empower their students with the knowledge, skills, attitudes and values of sustainability within their curriculum,” he says. So institutions have an essential role to play in speeding up the greentech revolution: “Institutions can provide a culture and leadership that allows their educators to take that step and allow those principles of sustainability to be embedded in the curricula across the whole institution in the same way that life skills are already being taught.” From undergraduate degrees in sustainable design or renewable energy, to postgraduate degrees in architecture and green building, learning the right skills could help futureproof your career and open up exciting new opportunities.


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Beyond Benign brings the subject of green chemistry to life in classrooms in the US. Photos: Beyond Benign

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Danish Minister Op-ed

Photo: iStock

A green investment is a great investment The Danish Minister for Higher Education and Science, Jesper Petersen, writes to Discover CleanTech to explain why and how his country is investing heavily in green research, technology, and education. BY JESPER PETERSEN

If you visit Denmark, we have many green sights to show you. If you go hiking or sightseeing in the countryside or along the coast, you will notice that wind turbines have become a natural background to many of our scenic views all over the country. If you visit one of our cities, you will probably notice how many Danes have the bike as their preferred mode of transportation. And if you need a snack break, you will find a big selection of organic groceries 68 |

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and vegetarian dishes on the menus in the country’s numerous restaurants. The green transition is happening all over Denmark. From carbon capture projects in Copenhagen on the east coast to Europe’s largest offshore wind port in Esbjerg on the west coast. From large EU funded research projects on green jet fuel in the south to an interdisciplinary energy research centre in the north.

The Danish general election of 2019 was a green election. The Danish people wanted a new green direction and they chose a new majority and government to deliver it. And we have been working on it ever since. In June 2020 we passed The Climate Act, which sets the goal to reduce Denmark’s emissions by 70 percent in 2030 and climate neutrality by 2050. And the Prime Minister started off 2022 by setting the goal


Danish Minister Op-ed

that all domestic air transport in Denmark is to be climate neutral by 2030. We’re a small country and our contribution to the fight against climate change needs to reach beyond our own borders via global export of technologies and ideas. Research, innovation and education play a key role in achieving that. Denmark invests almost 3.5 million Euro in public funding a year in research and innovation. That makes us one of the few countries that has a public research budget of 1 per cent of our GDP. In September 2020 we launched Denmark’s first national strategy for investments in green research, technology, and innovation. The strategy sets a long-term direction for green research and innovation accelerating the development of new green solutions and technologies. The development is centred around partnerships between universities, businesses, and other stakeholders, so that we bring together the people researching and developing new solutions and the people making them viable in the real world.

er our own carbon footprint, it would not make much of a difference in the grand scheme of things. Instead, we want to be a frontrunner and a green inspiration worldwide. We want to work across borders and find international solutions. The Esbjerg declaration – where Denmark together with Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands committed to making the North Sea a green power plant of Europe – is the latest

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great example of what we can achieve if we work together across borders. We want to show the world a green economy that is thriving and provides its citizens with a high quality of life. A green transition that does not come with painful side effects like unemployment and inequality. We want to show the world that a green investment is a great investment.

Danish Minister for Higher Education and Science, Jesper Petersen. Photo: Morten Fauerby / Montgomery

At the same time a lot is happening in our education system. A recent analysis shows that 65 per cent of Danish higher education programs are working actively with sustainability and the green transition. This will hopefully translate into talented graduates with green skills ready to work in the growing green industry. An industry characterised by inspirational businesses like Ørsted, Danfoss and Vestas, an abundance of green start-ups, and a brand new 170 million Euro Power-to-X-strategy. Everything happening in our education and research sector – I hope and believe – will lead to new cutting-edge green technologies and solutions, which will help us reach our ambitious goals and lead the way for the rest of the world. As I mentioned, Denmark is a small country and if our approach were solely to lowJune 2022

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Stanford

“We’ve brought a Stanford education to learners all over the world” At a time when the world urgently needs green energy experts, Stanford University’s online Energy Innovation and Emerging Technologies Programme is bringing together the expertise of some of the world’s most preeminent researchers, making green energy education accessible to students all over the world. BY LENA HUNTER

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MADE IN PARTNERSHIP WITH STANFORD UNIVERSITY

Stanford University, a world leader in research and education, is also a forerunner in online green energy education and home to Stanford Online, the university’s virtual campus.


Stanford

As the long-forecasted ramifications of the world’s energy use – rising sea levels, more regular heat waves, droughts, and storms – begin to manifest, the world is scrambling to pivot to green energy in a bid to halt the tide. In the European Union, the production and use of energy accounts for more than three-quarters of greenhouse gas emissions. Decarbonising the energy system is critical to the EU’s long-term strategy to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. Key to this is the EU’s Green Deal energy transition plan. This roadmap involves building interconnected energy systems and better integrated grids to support renewable energy sources, and promoting green technology, eco design, and EU energy standards at a global level. As a result, innovative, emerging technologies are reshaping the energy sector at a stunning pace. GREEN EDUCATION SET FOR DIZZYING GROWTH Demand for energy experts has never been higher. Despite surging interest in renewables and ongoing efforts to maximise the efficiency of fossil fuels, learning for environmental sustainability is yet to become a systemic feature of education policy and practice in the EU. But a sea change is coming.

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As part of the EU’s Green Education Initiatives, the European Sustainability Competence Framework sets out the skills and knowledge that learners of all ages will need for the green transition. A key element of this is the digitisation of learning. All said, the nascent sector of green education is blowing up, with accessibility at an all-time high. Learners who take advantage of the pioneering programmes available now will be amongst those to decisively shape the global green energy transition in the coming years. STANFORD UNIVERSITY: GLOBAL LEADERS IN ONLINE EDUCATION Stanford University is a first mover in this field. Leading the world in research and teaching, the educational institution is also a forerunner in online education and home to Stanford Online, the university’s virtual campus. As part of its professional development portfolio, the Energy Innovation and Emerging Technologies Programme offers flexible online and remote enrolment options for learners worldwide to access the skills to advance careers in the rapidly growing green energy sector – in Europe and beyond. Led by academic director Will Cheuh, associate professor of materials science and engineering, and senior fellow at the Pre-

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Stanford

court Institute for Energy, the programme offers a choice of eight courses, of which learners complete five to earn a certificate. COURSES ARE TAUGHT BY GLOBAL EXPERTS TO HELP LEARNERS: • discover and apply alternative energy solutions on a local, national, and global scale • master economic and technological concepts behind energy innovation • find investment and entrepreneurship opportunities The programme is continually updated and today’s courses cover subjects including the past, present and future of fossil fuels, strategies for transforming the grid, hybrid electric vehicles, economics, policy and fi-

nance of the green transition, the future of wind, water and solar, and energy storage. FLEXIBLE ONLINE LEARNING, ACCESSIBLE TO ALL The Stanford Centre for Professional Development, which operates Stanford Online, is a global leader in online education, and its longstanding expertise delivering remote education now mirrors a global cultural shift to remote working. “Stanford’s Energy Innovation and Emerging Technologies Programme offers learners flexibility and attainability. You can take individual courses one at a time or enroll in the All-Access Plan, which gives you total flexibility over a year to complete courses

at your own pace. On average, participants complete the programme in five months,” explains Nora Cata, marketing specialist at the Stanford Center for Professional Development and Stanford Online. “The faculty is renowned and, by teaching online, we’ve brought a Stanford education to learners all over the world,” adds Anita Wood, programme manager for the Energy, Sustainability, Entrepreneurship, and the Digital Transformation programmes. “It’s a great feeling to support a programme that teaches people all around the world about transitioning to clean energy. It’s a way to contribute to the fight against climate change.” A GLOBAL IMPACT

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Notably, 36 per cent of learners in the programme reside outside the U.S. In total, over 1,200 participants represent over 70 countries, with Europeans accounting for 9.5 per cent in the past year. And, while the courses are taught by global thought leaders in their


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fields, not all individuals who sign up are energy sector veterans. In fact, 42 per cent of programme participants have previous experience working in energy, while other top industries include government, finance, technology, and construction. Danna Frolova, senior business development analyst at Boston Consulting Group, is a past participant of the Energy Innovations and Emerging Technologies Programme: “The course matched all my criteria: up-to-date content contextualised with the ‘bigger picture’, ability to direct my own learning speed, tailored assessments to ensure comprehension. I was able to explore a complex and dynamic space, delivered in a great format, while working halfway around the world. Exactly what I expected from one of the top universities in the world!” DIGITAL LEARNING FOR SUCCESS Research has shown that accessibility of online education can improve learning outcomes for marginalised or disadvantaged students. Roslyn McConnell, who studied chemical engineering at Cornell

before switching to English and Africana studies, enrolled in Stanford’s Foundation in Computer Science graduate programme in 2017. “I worked full-time throughout my Stanford career, juggling both my work and school – which was not easy,” she says. “A big advantage of online courses is that you can practice self-pacing. The programme is designed to be flexible, in that you can study part time and adjust your course load as your schedule permits. That adaptability was key for me,” she explains.

REACH YOUR GOALS WHILE MAINTAINING YOUR CAREER With the rapid expansion of the green energy sector, now is the time to set yourself apart in the workforce. Stanford’s Energy Innovation and Emerging Technologies Programme can help you reach your goals in the field while maintaining your career. You’ll gain insights into the trends and driving forces that will determine the shape of the energy sector a decade from now. Website: online.stanford.edu/energy

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The Skills Gap

As both the clean energy and clean mobility transitions are increasingly going through rapid digitalisation, skills in computer science and engineering, are and will be in high demand. Photo: dreamstime.com

David Hunt on the cleantech skills gap and how to enter the industry BY DAVID HUNT

As a self-confessed cleantech nerd, I was delighted to see the launch of Discover CleanTech magazine, and even more so when asked to contribute a regular column. I’ve had the pleasure of working in the cleantech sector since 2007, launching a solar business way before subsidy support and Feed in Tariffs. I rode the ‘solar-coaster’ of UK solar/energy policy, sat on the policy board for the Renewable Energy Association (REA) and really enjoyed building a pioneering, nationwide, multi-award-winning renewable energy company. We designed and installed all 74 |

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of the clean technologies on Armstrong Point, the UKs first net-zero energy business park. Most memorably, though, was a solar and wind installation that involved Bear Grylls, a boat and an outdoor toilet. Maybe more of that another time (or it may come up in a Google search!).

ecutive search (headhunting) and founded Hyperion Executive Search, to work exclusively in cleantech. Eight years later, we have teams in the UK, Germany and the US, and have helped some of the world’s most innovative cleantech companies to grow and scale.

Having fallen in love with cleantech and all that can be achieved with new, innovative and sustainable technologies, I wanted to find a way I could help more technologies, and more companies in the sector to grow. I returned to my earlier career in ex-

These days I spend much of my time mentoring and supporting cleantech companies and their founders as an Entrepreneur in Residence (EiR), mentor and speaker for some of the world’s leading cleantech accelerators, such as Plug & Play, Tech-


The Skills Gap

stars, Rockstart and Foresight Canada. I also host the Leaders in Cleantech podcast, ranked in the top one per cent of podcasts globally. This just goes to show the interest in the topic area. Clean technologies are changing the world for the better as we speak. All of these things lead me to my core passion, the intersection of cleantech, entrepreneurialism, leadership and talent. As you would perhaps expect, I firmly believe that no business or technology can succeed without talented and committed people at the heart of things. In this publication, we have been exploring the role of educational establishments and government in pathing the way for the green jobs of the future. It is easy to criticise both for their slowness in making qualifications and career guidance fit for this new economy. The big issue is that traditional academia and government work slowly and cautiously. The cleantech sector, though, is moving at breakneck speed, and most of this growth and innovation is coming from start-ups, not large corporates, so agility and risk are central to this. There is a disconnect that isn’t easily solved. One thing is for sure, though; there is a talent shortage at all levels, and in all disciplines. It is not just in engineering and software development, and it’s from leadership to entry level. The lack of talent is already holding back companies in the sector, and therefore the growth of the sector as a whole. We need to educate the educators, show them the levels of investment and growth in the sector. This isn’t future technology or skills shortages, it’s NOW technology and a skills gap, and of course, accelerating at Tesla speed. THE SKILLS IN DEMAND One trouble I’ve found is that unless you are ‘in’ the cleantech sector it’s hard to see the scale of growth. You can look at statistics; in the EU last year, for example, over 11 billion euros was invested in cleantech companies, plus significant amounts in the UK, but if you talk to the average person on the street, they have no idea beyond maybe seeing some solar panels on the odd roof, and an increasing number of electric vehicles on the road. That’s why I think publications like this are so important.

I’m often asked what skills are most in demand, or what people should encourage their children to study at University. As mentioned before, the shortages are across all disciplines. That said, as both the clean energy and clean mobility transitions are increasingly going through rapid digitalisation, skills in computer science and engineering, particularly electrical engineering, are and will always be in high demand. Of course, not everyone wants to be, or has the skills to be an engineer or software developer. The good news is that most skill sets can be utilised in the clean technology sector. I’ve always found that universities are really poor at career advice and preparing their students for employment. This is even from traditional courses, let alone those geared towards the new technologies. It’s critical that universities engage more with industry, with trade associations, even with specialist recruiters, to hear what employers are looking for beyond qualifications. And just as importantly, so they can prepare and signpost their students, enabling them to make better choices. HOW YOU CAN MOVE INTO THE CLEANTECH SECTOR It’s far from just an issue for those new to the job market, it can also be difficult for those in employment but who are increasingly frus-

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trated and wanting to do something more impactful with their skills and their time; something more in line with their interests and passions. Most skills are transferable, but how do you know that, and how can you show it? This is also something I’m asked often and have blogged about in the past. I also created an independent, not for profit platform called ‘Careers in Cleantech’, to share insights and stories of those making the transition into the sector, and to answer any questions people have. The platform is visible on Linked In, Twitter and YouTube. The proof in point is that it is individuals and small companies trying to fill a void that governments should really be supporting. The other areas I’m asked about is which sub-sectors of cleantech are ‘hot’ from a careers point of view, or just from an exciting growth point of view. The two go hand in hand. At present, anything to do with batteries, at all scales, and the electrification of transport, of all types, are seeing massive growth and investment. It perhaps surprises many that it’s not just cars and buses that are increasingly battery powered, but boats, ferries and even small aircraft are already with us. I look forward to sharing more news, views and insights from the global cleantech sector in the coming weeks and months.

This isn’t future technology or skills shortages, it’s NOW technology and a skills gap, and of course, accelerating at Tesla speed. David Hunt is Founder and CEO of Hyperion Cleantech Group, parent of global executive search and recruitment businesses exclusively working in the cleantech sectors. He is a mentor for a number of international cleantech accelerators, host of the Leaders in Cleantech podcast, and a regular commentator on cleantech and talent issues in trade and the mainstream media.

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Cleantech Products of the Month

Cleantech Products of the Month Cleantech can be many things – products specifically aimed at making your lifestyle or home more sustainable, or innovations to make the products we must have more sustainable. Moreover, a product does not need to be ‘high-tech’ to be cleantech – it can be a simple idea that makes it possible to buy or do something we love in a more sustainable way, or to better face the effects of climate change. The products selected here, represent a bit of all of that, added with a lot of inspiration from the summer sun. Clean, green and innovative, they can help you enjoy – or at least endure – summer with a clean consciousness.

Photo: dreamstime.com

SOLAR CARPORT With electricity prices soaring and more and more electric vehicles on the road, what better time than now to think about installing a solar carport for your home or business. Available in various sizes and designs, solar carports allow you to combine two benefits in one roof: shade and cover for your car, and free green energy. But what exactly is a solar carport? To put it simply: solar carports are essentially taller ground-mounted solar panels and can be designed in all sizes and shapes and in all locations. The solar carport can also be designed to add energy to a home battery, and since it is designed from the ground up, it can, unlike solar panels on your roof, be placed to make the most of the sun. It is, in other words, a remarkably flexible way to integrate solar energy into your home or business. Prices for materials and installation for a residential size carport start around £1,200 www.solar.com

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SHINE TURBINE As the summer holidays approach, a bit of wholesome wilderness camping may soon be in the cards. But, of course, you want to have the full outdoor experience without losing your mobile connection, or camera power. Shine Turbine, an ultra-compact lightweight wind turbine that offers easy power for handheld electronics such as phones, tablets, lights, cameras etc, can ensure that. And, with the remarkable feature of being collapsible into about the size of a water bottle, it fits right into your backpack. Created by a Canadian team of outdoor enthusiasts with backgrounds in science and engineering, the three-pound, 40-watt mini turbine is extremely fast at generating and storing electricity in a range of weather conditions. Another handy feature is that Shine can both charge handheld devices directly or store power in its 12,000 mAh internal lithium-ion battery for later use. It can also be pre-charged at home using a standard wall outlet. Shine generates power in wind speeds from 8 to 28 mph and temperatures between 32 to 104 degrees F (0 to 40 C). Designed for ease of use, this wind charger is completely self-contained, with everything needed for quick setup stored inside its body including guy wires, mount, and pegs. $418 CAD www.shineturbine.com

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Cleantech Products of the Month

MISSION COOLING WEAR As we have seen heat wave after heat wave roll through various parts of the world, there is no escaping the facts – summer is getting warmer, sometimes to the point of causing serious stress and discomfort. For those struggling to stay cool, Mission’s cooling gear may be worth a try. The cooling gear, which includes, socks, underwear, gaiters, and hats, is based on two patented technologies, HydroActive™, which enhances the natural process of evaporation to provide instant cooling, and VaporActive™, which helps you stay cool and dry by releasing excess heat and moisture buildup. Most popular is the brand’s cooling bucket hat, which helps protect your face and neck from harmful UV rays and heat. Developed with HydroActive™ cooling fabric, the hat’s proprietary material cools instantly. According to Mission, when activated with water, it cools to 30 degrees below the average body temperature in under 30 seconds. In other words, it may allow you to continue outdoor activities like cycling, walking, and running, rather than retreating to the air conditioning of your car, also on hot summer days. www.mission.com

THE 5 OCEANS UNISEX SUNGLASSES BY SEA2SEE The summer sun and upcoming holidays may call for a new pair of sunglasses. Luckily, there are options that will not result in the production of new plastic. Created in UPSEATM plastics, 100 per cent recovered marine plastic, the 5 Oceans unisex sunglasses are designed by Sea2See, a company that turns waste into fashionable, high-quality frames by up-cycling it into a reusable, raw material in the form of pellets. For each pair of sunglasses sold, the company collects and recycles one kg of marine waste and turns it into light and durable frames. To date, the company has collected around 500 tonnes of plastic from Spanish and French ports and coastal areas of Ghana. Their stylish glasses are handmade in Italy, where the upcycled UPSEA™ polymer is heated up to 182 oC / 359oF and injected into molds. This, and several subsequent steps, create glasses of the same durability and quality as non-recycled frames. The glasses are in other words perfect for looking and feeling good in the summer sun. €120 www.sea2see.org 78 |

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THE SION BY SONOMOTORS As we are all about the sun this month, how can we leave out the Sion? With 248 integrated solar cells, it is set to be the first solar electric vehicle priced for the masses when in production in 2023. Integrated into the entire body of the Sion – the doors, trunk, roof and hood – the solar panels will add an average of 112 kilometres of driving range per week to the car’s maximum battery range of 305 kilometres. In other words, if you just want to use the car to drive to and from work, you might be able to do so without charging at all. During summer months, the Sion will be able to reach a maximum solar range of 245 kilometres per week, while during the darkest winter months it might go down to 35 kilometres per week. When charging via the grid becomes necessary, the Sion can reach 80 per cent in 35 minutes using CCS fast charging. It can also be recharged at any standard European charging station, via a regular home power socket or from another Sion. The Sion will be produced at the old SAAB factory in Sweden using 100 per cent renewable energy. €28,500 www.sonomotors.com June 2022

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Amcham

The Finnish approach is science-based and technologically agnostic In 2019, Finland set the ambitious target of becoming carbon-neutral by 2035 and becoming the “world’s first fossil-free welfare society”. Rosa Thurman, director of Foreign Affiliate Services and Sustainability at Amcham Finland, writes on how her organisation works to attract foreign direct cleantech investment. BY ROSA THURMAN

In 2021, Finnish electricity was 87 per cent CO2 free, and as it is available with the same terms across the country with one of the lowest costs in Europe, an excellent opportunity is created for energyintense businesses to substantially lower their CO2 footprint. Photo: Kosti Keistinen from Pixabay

The strengths of Finland’s business environment such as political stability, worker talent and digital infrastructure have long been recognised and have helped the country successfully top the Nordic rankings for attracting the most foreign direct investment (FDI) projects for several years in a row. The Finnish economy has continued to rebound swiftly from the Covid-19 crisis, but now with the war in Ukraine casting a shadow on the global investment landscape, the key question is how to retain the investor confidence in times of uncertainty and how Finland can continue attracting FDI in an increasingly competitive environment. “Do not underestimate the power of a strong, long-term vision.” That has been 80 |

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a core message from investors and company leaders alike. When Amcham Finland gathered its diverse community of international investors and asked what they would need to expand their operations in Finland, the importance for a longterm vision for FDI and talent from the decision-makers was very high on their agenda. The investors agreed that in the current investment climate, predictability and enabling regulation, stability, transparency, and regular dialogue with the decision-makers is more important than ever.

velop channels through which FDI can best support Finland in reaching the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s). The Finnish Government programme starts with the words ‘climate change’. In 2019, Finland set the ambitious target of becoming carbon-neutral by 2035 – in line with EU’s target of 2050 – and being the “world’s first fossil-free welfare society”. These ambitious targets require close cooperation between the public and private sectors, of which sector-specific low-carbon roadmaps are one pioneering example.

CARBON-NEUTRAL BY 2035 In Amcham’s Finland FDI Vision report, one of the drivers for Finland’s future competitiveness was to attract more FDI in the field of sustainability and to de-

Markku Kivistö, head of Industry, Cleantech, Invest in Finland, at Business Finland, the government organisation for innovation funding and investment, trade


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energy innovation system and was ranked first in entrepreneurial experimentation and market formation. The same year, Finland was also ranked number one by the UN in an international comparison of sustainable development. RELIABLE GREEN ELECTRICITY Mr Kivistö explains how both objective and innovative ways that focus on solving climate change are attracting an increasing number of companies and research organisations to Finland. “Finnish electricity was 87 per cent CO2 free in 2021 and volume is substantially increasing, likely also in the future. Electricity is available in a reliable manner with the same terms across the country with one of the lowest costs in Europe. This creates an excellent opportunity for energy-intense businesses to expand in the EU and Eurozone and substantially lower their CO2 footprint. This applies especially for companies in hydrogen, power to X, battery value chain and manufacturing sectors.”

and travel promotion, noted the importance of how the Finnish society is based on strong private-, research- and public partnerships, and how the cooperation also extends to working together with global organisations, the EU and its Nordic colleagues. Finland’s green competencies have been a clear pull factor in attracting cleantech FDI. In the Environmental Performance Index, which assesses 180 countries on their environmental health and vitality of their ecosystems, Finland has been consistently among the Top 10 greenest countries in the world. In 2021, Finland also topped the Global Energy Innovation Index that ranks countries according to national contributions to the global clean

Finland is rich in natural resources and the harsh climate has forced the country to develop efficient methods and alternative energy sources. This, together with the close connection to nature, has sparked innovative solutions on how to live in a sustainable and circular manner. Mr Kivistö also points out that the Finnish approach is science-based and technologically agnostic, leaving space for researchers and companies to develop innovative solutions. Meanwhile, political parties recently agreed to raise the public and private research and development spending to four per cent of GDP by 2030, to further help the overall landscape. Finland also has one of the best education

systems in the world, making Finland’s business environment attractive to cleantech investors. DIALOGUE IS KEY With the increased competition for FDI and the geopolitical uncertainty, clear and targeted value propositions are needed to end up on the shortlist when investment decisions are being made in global headquarters. Regular dialogue with the decision-makers is key. Amcham Finland facilitates regular peer-to-peer discussions for CEOs and country managers, helping international investors to understand the short, mid, and long-term scenarios for Finland on different parameters such as political, geopolitical, and where the opportunities lie. Cleantech was identified as the key theme of Finland’s country brand already in 2014, and it is believed that the key factors mentioned above and the open and welcoming mindset for FDI which the investors appreciate, will continue boosting the confidence among Finland’s existing and future investors.

Rosa Thurman is director of Foreign Affiliate Services and Sustainability at Amcham Finland, a Helsinki-based business network that helps international companies thrive in Finland and Finnish companies successfully establish their operations in the United States. Rosa works with around 100 foreign direct investors to gather insights for improving Finland’s business environment for international companies and talent alike. Rosa also runs Amcham’s Country Managers Network and serves as co-chair of the Advisory Board, which provides relevant insights from the community of international companies in Finland.

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TSP Ventures One of TSP Ventures’ investments is Perceptual Robotics, which uses autonomous drones and AI analytics to inspect wind turbines. Photo: Perceptual Robotics

One of TSP Ventures’ investments is Perceptual Robotics, which uses autonomous drones and AI analytics to inspect wind turbines. Photo: Perceptual Robotics

Why investing in early-stage technology can make a radical difference Finding investors to help develop the new technologies that could be part of the solution to the climate crisis is one of the greatest hurdles for start-ups all over the world. Environmental business journalist Mike Scott asks TSP Ventures, one of the investors looking to assist start-ups, how private investment can propel the cleantech market.

For small companies – particularly those developing new technologies – one of the biggest barriers to growth is moving their invention from the lab bench to the marketplace. This stage of a start-up’s development is when it has proved a product can work in the lab, but it needs significant investment to scale and bring it to market – investment that is hard to come by because 82 |

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MADE IN PARTNERSHIP WITH TSP VENTURES

BY MIKE SCOTT


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Investing in Cleantech

Envorem, one of TSP Ventures’ investments, uses water cavitation technology to treat waste oil sludge.

investors are understandably reluctant to commit to a company when there is no evidence that it works in the real world, or that customers will want to buy it. There’s even a name for it – the Valley of Death. One investor is looking to help start-ups with climate and environmental technology solutions to overcome the Valley of Death. TSP Ventures started three years ago with a mission to invest in early-stage companies that can make a significant difference in the fight against climate change (in the jargon, they invest from pre-seed through seed-extension to Series A). To get even more technical, TSP likes to invest in companies that are Technology Readiness Levels (TRL) 4-7. TRLs are a concept developed by NASA in the 1970s, initially for space travel. “At TRL 4, the science is proven in the lab. At TRL 7, they’re working with a small-scale prototype in field conditions,” says co-founder Chris Smith.

believe it is incredibly necessary due to the existential threat the world faces,” he adds. “Despite all of the rhetoric, pledges and green policies, we continue to resoundingly miss our collective targets on emissions and the consequences are playing out daily in the world around us.” Every year, around 5 million people die from extreme temperature, about 7 million people die from air pollution and approximately 3.5 million people die from water-related diseases. A Chatham House report ahead of the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow warned of potentially dire consequences if emissions follow the current trajectory. The report estimated that by the 2030s, some 400 million people would be unable to work outside and 10 million people would die from heat stress

| Discover CleanTech

“Unbridled capitalism has caused some of the Earth’s most substantial problems and a more balanced form of capitalism must help to solve them.” every year. While global food demand is set to rise by half, crop yields could be 30 per cent lower. By 2040, almost 700 million people would be likely to face six-month droughts every year and by 2100, almost 200 million people would likely live below the 100-year flood level, the report pointed out. SOLUTIONS WITH GREAT IMPACT The need to tackle climate change is urgent, “but at the same time, a lot of companies are not getting the advice they need to make the leap from lab bench to commercialisation. We’re often dealing with scientists who have limited experience in commercialising a technology and running a business. TSP Ventures with members of the Adaptive Grand Slam during their Cumbria Challenge in the Lake District.

“It is in these challenging early stages where we see a funding gap and yet it is from here, where all future technologies must emerge,” he adds. “It is also where we can add the most value by supporting companies early on. In short, it is where our purpose meets a substantial opportunity.” THE CONSEQUENCES OF LACKING INVESTMENT Typically, TSP invests £500,000 to £750,000 and it will account for more than half the money being raised. “We invest in this space because we passionately June 2022

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“Despite all of the rhetoric, pledges and green policies, we continue to resoundingly miss our collective targets on emissions and the consequences are playing out daily in the world around us.” “We believe in an approach which we call ‘venture, then nurture’. We want the companies we invest in to know that we are in their corner. We help our companies with strategy, future capital raisings, business negotiations, connections, hiring and coaching, but this has to be invited. We don’t want to interfere,” Smith says. TSP is looking for solutions that could have the greatest impact across the globe with a focus on energy; water; carbon capture, utilisation and storage; and waste, circularity and pollution. “We back hard science solutions with potential to make a radical difference globally. The most revolutionary technologies with the greatest potential haven’t been invented yet. This is why our mission is to back early-stage ventures. Scientists, researchers 84 |

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and engineers hold the key to overcoming some of Earth’s most significant challenges and it is our pledge to find, back and help these teams in any way we can.” Smith, former global head of strategy at brokerage and fintech company BGC Partners, says: “We want good technology and a large market – something that is saleable, scalable and defensible, making it a classic venture investment. “We look very closely at the people involved, too. We’re after people with grit, determination, enthusiasm, integrity, drive and humility. That combination can be quite hard to find. We have turned down a number of investments because we had doubts over the team’s ability to execute under pressure. We value steadiness under fire,” he adds.

Examples of TSP’s investments include Perceptual Robotics, which uses autonomous drones and AI analytics to inspect wind turbines; Envorem, which uses water cavitation technology to treat waste oil sludge; and HiiROC, which has developed a new Thermal Plasma Electrolysis process to produce low-cost, zero-CO2 hydrogen. “Our strapline is ‘Enterprise, People, Earth’,” Smith concludes. “This is our belief that the role of an enterprise is to serve the long-term good of people and the Earth. Unbridled capitalism has caused some of the Earth’s most substantial problems and a more balanced form of capitalism must help to solve them.” Website: www.tspventures.co.uk


Book of the Month

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Book of the Month

Your Essential Guide to Sustainable Investing As companies compete on who has the most sustainable business operations, and individuals are being urged to place their money into sustainable investments, how do you work out precisely what sustainable investments are? In Your Essential Guide to Sustainable Investing, Larry E. Swedroe and Samuel C. Adams set out to answer some of those questions. BY ANDERS LORENZEN

There is always something that drives changemakers to change course. In recent years, we have seen countless stories of individuals who have changed course to embrace sustainability as the only way forward, not only to conserve a liveable planet but also as a necessity to preserve a thriving financial world. Therefore, it is no surprise that Adams opens the book by explaining how he got to embrace sustainability, the journey he has been on, and the journey he hopes to take the readers on with this book. THE COMPLEXITY OF INVESTING SUSTAINABLY

In Your Essential Guide to Sustainable Investing, Larry E. Swedroe and Samuel C. Adams give a comprehensive introduction to how to invest sustainably.

Even someone who follows sustainability, climate, and energy developments closely may find themselves overwhelmed with the plurality of new phrases and words that have entered the talk of sustainability investments such as ESG, SRI and Impact Investing. So, what do they all mean?

For regular individuals, as well as fund managers who care about addressing climate change, it can be a minefield. That is why I thoroughly enjoyed Your Essential Guide to Sustainable Investing, and while it is perhaps not the kind book you take to bed before going to sleep, it is a highly useful tool on how to invest sustainably. The authors do a great job of thoroughly explaining all the different layers of sustainable investing, allowing you to make the right decision about where and how to place your money. To do this, they start by taking apart and in detail explaining what sustainable investing is in today’s world. They spend various chapters going through all the different methods of investing sustainably, such as ESG, SRI, and impact investments, and they also look at pension plans. At the same time, they explore how the sustainable investment world has evolved to its current complex multitude. At the end of the book, the reader will find a very useful set of appendixes detailing everything from resource guides to how ESG Mutual Funds, ETFs etc. operate.

Larry Swedroe.

Samuel Adams.

This book is heavy on details and technicality and it takes a bit of effort, one might even say investment, to get into; but it is an excellent reference book and useful guide as you explore sustainable investments. June 2022

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Iron Batteries

Form Energy is one of the battery-makers commercialising iron-based batteries.

Iron-based technologies join the energy storage fray Experts are looking to a new generation of iron-based energy storage systems to complement today’s lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery packs. BY JASON DEIGN |

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Iron Batteries

battery makers, ESS and Form Energy, that are commercialising products in this space. Both companies have received funding from Bill Gates’s Breakthrough Energy Ventures investment fund. ESS, of Oregon in the United States, has a battery that can deliver power for up to 12 hours and is already selling units around the world. Massachusetts-based Form Energy, meanwhile, is aiming to produce batteries with a discharge time of up to 100 hours. It lags ESS in terms of commercialisation, with a first megawatt-scale pilot plant not due to enter operation until next year.

Batteries based on iron chemistries “might be up to the task” of providing cheap energy storage for hours or even days at a time, says the prestigious MIT Technology Review, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The Review chose iron-based batteries as one of ten breakthrough technologies in 2022, alongside malaria vaccines and nuclear fusion reactors. It cited two iron-based

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“The price of cobalt, meanwhile, another key element for many Li-ion batteries, has risen to its highest level.” of the raw materials they need. The price of lithium carbonate, for example, has increased fivefold in the last year.

Even 12 hours is much longer than you can currently get with market-leading Li-ion batteries, however. Although Li-ion is used for almost all grid-connected battery systems today, the technology struggles to provide power for longer than around four hours.

The price of cobalt, meanwhile, another key element for many Li-ion batteries, has risen to its highest level in almost four years. Iron-based batteries could avoid these pricing problems in two ways.

That is because the capacity of a Li-ion battery is based on the number of cells it has. Since each cell costs the same, the cost of the battery grows steadily in proportion to the amount of storage capacity required.

The first is that they rely on iron, which is far cheaper and easier to get hold of than lithium or cobalt. The second is that their cost is not tied to their energy storage capacity in a linear way.

At today’s prices, to build a Li-ion battery that can provide several megawatts of power for more than four hours is prohibitively expensive. And although Li-ion cell prices have fallen significantly in recent years, the drop in costs is stalling.

The ESS battery, for instance, does not rely on cells but on tanks of electrolyte, which can be made bigger to accommodate larger storage capacities at very little extra cost.

The analyst firm Wood Mackenzie expects global Li-ion battery manufacturing capacity to increase five-fold by 2030, but four fifths of these batteries will be needed for electric vehicles.

“While Li-ion has served us well for devices and electric vehicles, the world needs to adopt new long-duration storage technologies to harvest renewable energy and decarbonise our energy networks,” Alan Greenshields, director of Europe at ESS, tells Discover Cleantech.

Meanwhile, the growth in demand for Li-ion batteries is leading to an increase in the cost

“We need a far more sustainable solution than Li-Ion systems.”

A FIVE-FOLD INCREASE EXPECTED

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Imperial College, Hydrogen Fuel Cells

Researchers at Imperial College have created a fuel cell catalyst from iron, carbon and nitrogen, which can potentially make hydrogen fuel cells economically viable. Photo: Imperial College

Researchers find a way to make fuel cells cheaper A European research team led by Imperial College London has brought the hydrogen economy closer to reality with a technology breakthrough in fuel cells.

The breakthrough involves creating catalysts from iron instead of more expensive platinum, potentially paving the way for much cheaper fuel cells that can be applied to many more situations. Fuel cells are key for the energy transition, allowing low-carbon fuels such as hydrogen to be turned into electricity. 88 |

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Polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells, the most promising technology for powering electric trucks and other vehicles, can combine renewably produced hydrogen with oxygen to create electricity, with water vapour as the only by-product. To do this, the fuel cells use catalysts that have traditionally been made of platinum, a rare and expensive metal.

BY JASON DEIGN

“Currently, around 60 per cent of the cost of a single fuel cell is the platinum for the catalyst,” says the study’s lead researcher, Professor Anthony Kucernak from the Department of Chemistry at Imperial. “To make fuel cells a real viable alternative to fossil-fuel-powered vehicles, for example, we need to bring that cost down.”


Imperial College, Hydrogen Fuel Cells

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Imperial’s catalyst design “should make this a reality,” he says, “and allow deployment of significantly more renewable energy systems that use hydrogen as fuel, ultimately reducing greenhouse gas emissions and putting the world on a path to net-zero emissions.”

The danger of having to rely on such a rare element was highlighted as long ago as 2008, when Cordelia Sealy of the Institute of Physics in London, UK, noted that the cost of the platinum in a fuel cell vehicle would be higher than the cost of an entire petrol engine.

“In transport, hydrogen is the most promising decarbonisation option for trucks, buses, ships, trains, large cars and commercial vehicles,” states the European Commission-funded Fuel Cells and Hydrogen 2 Joint Undertaking in its 2019 Hydrogen Roadmap Europe report.

Imperial says the researchers have created a catalyst from iron, carbon and nitrogen, all materials that are cheap and readily available, and shown it can be used to operate a fuel cell at high power.

“The high and volatile price of platinum alone could be a potential showstopper for fuel cells in any truly mass-market application such as transportation,” she said.

The Imperial College news comes shortly after an Australian company called Hysata claimed to have found a way to cut the cost of making the low-carbon hydrogen that will be needed for fuel cells.

The development is important because limited platinum reserves could drive up the cost of fuel cells just as they become more important for decarbonisation. There are only thought to be around 70,000 tonnes of platinum reserves in the world, more than 90 per cent of which are in South Africa.

Keeping fuel cell costs down will be important for sectors that are relying on low-carbon hydrogen as a substitute for fossil fuels.

Elsewhere, there are also moves to use iron in batteries, in place of other rarer, more expensive materials such as cobalt.

“To make fuel cells a real viable alternative to fossil-fuel-powered vehicles, for example, we need to bring that cost down.”

Imperial College London, (The Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine) is a public research university located in London in the United Kingdom. Photo: dreamstime.com

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Four jacket foundations for offshore wind turbines on which the brackets have been attached.

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Ørsted

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Offshore wind farm developer aims to create new coral reefs Denmark’s biggest energy company, Ørsted, is looking to use its leading position in offshore wind development to help support coral reefs. BY JASON DEIGN |

wind farms, which have the potential to replace fossil fuel-fired electricity generation with clean energy in many parts of the world.

PHOTOS: ØRSTED

The business, which has been ranked the world’s most sustainable energy company on Corporate Knight’s Global 100 index for four consecutive years, has unveiled an offshore wind turbine foundation design that has been created to stimulate the growth of coral reefs. Coral reefs provide a habitat for an estimated 32 per cent of all marine species. Ørsted says it will be testing its ReCoral foundation design in Taiwan’s tropical waters this June, at four locations in the company’s Greater Changhua 1 Offshore Wind Farm, located between 35 and 60 kilometres off the coast of Taiwan.

the surface area of the ocean, according to the United Nations Environment Programme. However, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, “multiple lines of evidence indicate that the majority of warm-water coral reefs that exist today will disappear even if global warming is constrained to 1.5°C.” Ørsted is already working to avert this crisis as the world’s top developer of offshore

The ReCoral concept, said to be a world first, aims to go further by allowing coral reefs to colonise deeper, cooler waters where they will be less at risk from climate change. The deeper waters are less prone to extreme heating, which kills or ‘bleaches’ coral. “The innovative idea behind ReCoral is that the relatively stable water temperatures at offshore wind farm locations will limit the risk of coral bleaching and allow healthy corals to grow on wind turbine foundations,” says Ørsted.

“If we succeed with ReCoral and the concept proves to be scalable, this Ørsted innovation could create a significant positive impact on ocean biodiversity,” Mads Nipper, group president and chief executive of Ørsted, says. “Governments are preparing a significant expansion of offshore wind energy, and I’m confident that if done right, the offshore wind build-out can support and enhance ocean biodiversity.” Coral reefs are found in more than 100 territories around the world and benefit an estimated one billion people and shelter 37 per cent of fish species and countless other marine organisms. This is a tremendous contribution to the planet given that coral reefs cover less than 0.1 per cent of

Artist’s impression of future coral growth potential. This is not a scientific illustration of the possible scale, species, or size of the corals.

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Ørsted / Surge in Demand for Renwable Energy

To avoid damaging existing reefs, project teams will look to set up colonies by collecting coral spawn as it washes ashore. Ørsted says it has been working on the idea since 2018, in conjunction with coral reef experts from the Penghu Marine Biology Research Centre in Taiwan. Last year, researchers at the centre managed to grow coral on underwater steel and concrete substrates at a quayside test bed. Coral spawn is buoyant and gets washed up on the shoreline, shown here in the characteristic ‘pinkish’ colour.

The ReCoral initiative forms part of a wider Ørsted pledge to have a positive impact on biodiversity in all the new projects it commissions from 2030 onwards. “The build-out of green energy must go hand in hand with protection of natural habitats and wildlife, including in our oceans,” said Nipper last year. Left: Submerged test substrates at the quayside of the research station during pilot experiments, testing whether coral larvae will settle and grow. Right: One of the net-cages that will be temporarily installed on the offshore wind turbine foundations using pre-installed brackets. In total, five net-cages have been shipped to Taiwan from Denmark (one extra net-cage for contingency). The net-cages have been fabricated in Grenaa, Denmark.

Corporate demand for renewable power surges across Europe Corporate demand for renewable power supplies is surging across Europe, according to research released this month from the energy marketplace software provider LevelTen Energy. BY JASON DEIGN

According to the company, 20 per cent of corporate power-purchase agreement (PPA) customers were accelerating their timelines for procuring green energy, likely prompted by the impact of high gas prices on wholesale electricity market pricing. “Demand for power purchase agreements is skyrocketing since these long-term renewable energy contracts can be used as effective tools to lock in electricity prices, in addition to their primary benefit: securing renewable energy,” LevelTen Energy says. 92 |

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“Voracious buyer appetite for PPAs is creating a rapidly growing imbalance between demand for renewables and supply from developers, who are struggling to build new solar and wind projects fast enough due to supply chain, interconnection and regulatory challenges.” Mounting demand for renewable energy is leading to significant project backlogs in major European PPA markets such as Germany, Italy and Spain, LevelTen notes. Spain, for example, has a pipeline of more

than 73 gigawatts (GW) of solar projects. Less than 19 per cent of these have been permitted so far. In other markets, however, lawmakers have started taking steps to speed up permitting. Italy, which has the second-largest share of European PPAs in LevelTen’s Energy Marketplace, changed its environmental review procedures last year to streamline and speed up renewable energy permitting. In Germany, meanwhile, where getting a permit for an onshore wind farm can take up to five years, regulators have also revised the permitting process. Plus, the German government has set aside two per cent of the land in the country to accommodate wind farms.


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Photo: iStock

These relatively recent measures have yet to make a dent on project backlogs, however. Meanwhile, galloping demand from companies wanting clean electricity is leading to a spike in PPA prices. The average price of a European corporate renewable energy PPA in the first quarter of 2022 was 57 euros per megawatt-hour, almost 28 per cent higher than the same period in 2021. “PPA prices are sky-high, reversing years of price declines at a time when procurements need to accelerate dramatically,” says Flemming Sørensen, vice president of Europe at LevelTen Energy. In October last year, the European Commission urged corporations to use PPAs as a way of avoiding high energy prices.

“The European Commission have [sic] singled out PPAs as a key part of their toolbox of measures to tackle the current situation in energy markets,” says Giles Dickson, chief executive of the wind industry association WindEurope. The market for PPAs was already booming at the time, making 2021 the eighth record year in a row for corporate clean energy procurement. “As the European corporate PPA market grows, a more diverse group

of organisations is signing PPAs and onsite deals,” says SolarPower Europe, the European solar energy trade association. These organisations included cities, small-to-medium enterprises, universities and state-owned agencies, SolarPower Europe reveals. “Industrial on-site installations are also enjoying rapid growth, with forecasts showing they could reach a total capacity of 407 GW by 2030,” according to the association.

“Voracious buyer appetite for PPAs is creating a rapidly growing imbalance between demand for renewables and supply from developers...” June 2022

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Life cycle assessment tool aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions An American software company aims to help cut the greenhouse gas (GHG) footprints of thousands of products with a system that measures life cycle emissions. Sphera, of Chicago, Illinois, says its life-cycle assessment (LCA) automation software will enable companies to instantaneously calculate emissions and model how they could be reduced.

products to enabling procurement professionals to establish lower carbon emission supply chains, LCA automation will transform decision making for the benefit of businesses and our planet,” says Sphera’s chief executive, Paul Marushka.

BY JASON DEIGN |

LCA is used in trying to work out how much carbon is emitted in the making and use of products. The results are sometimes counterintuitive. Moves to phase out plastic carrier bags, for example, can give the impression that they contribute to climate change. That is true, but alternatives such as paper bags have an even greater carbon footprint because they require more energy to make and move around (single-use plastics are being phased out to reduce waste pollution).

PHOTOS: SPHERA

The goal of Sphera’s LCA automation tool is to help businesses—especially those in sectors with complex supply chains, such as manufacturing, consumer goods, paints and chemicals—to reduce the GHG emissions from their product portfolios more effectively, says the company. LCA is not new, but the process until now has been painstaking, which means it is not carried out often. Sphera claims its au94 |

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tomation tool will be able to increase the number of LCAs by a factor of a thousand. That, in turn, means professionals tasked with carrying out LCAs can spend less time calculating carbon footprints and more time working out how to reduce them. The software can easily be integrated into existing corporate systems, Sphera says. “From helping engineers create more sustainable


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can give companies a rapid and cost-effective way to reduce their carbon emissions. This potential is attracting investors, with Sphera offering a good example. In July last year, the company was bought by Blackstone, one of the world’s leading investment firms, in a deal that valued Sphera at 1.4 billion US dollars. “The increasing importance of environmental, social, governance issues to businesses globally is a key thematic investing focus for Blackstone,” said Eli Nagler, a senior managing director at the investment company.

A new life-cycle assessment (LCA) automation software from Sphera will enable companies to instantaneously calculate emissions and model how they could be reduced.

LCA also helps to reveal so-called Scope 3 emissions—everything that a company emits that is not directly related to fuel combustion and energy use. These emissions, which include things such as business travel, waste disposal and purchases of goods and services, can represent up to 97% the GHG footprint of a large business.

“LCA automation will transform decision making for the benefit of businesses and our planet...”

AN INCREASINGLY IMPORTANT AREA “Historically, LCAs have been viewed as voluntary, ad-hoc add-ons to broader corporate sustainability efforts,” Marushka says. “However, with consumer awareness growing in step with regulatory mandates to mitigate the effects of climate change, LCA automation feeds into the highest needs of decarbonisation.” Sphera’s LCA automation tool demonstrates how clever software can play an important role in the cleantech industry. While not as eye-catching as massive offshore wind turbines or elegant electric vehicles, products such as the LCA automation tool June 2022

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Australia ponders routes to decarbonise the gas network Australians could enjoy carbon-free gas by 2050 under a plan unveiled this month by Energy Networks Australia (ENA) and the Australian Pipelines and Gas Association. BY JASON DEIGN

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Australias Gas Network

The two industry bodies’ Gas Vision 2050 sets out how Australian heating and manufacturing could run off 100 per cent renewable fuel, swapping liquified natural gas for renewably produced hydrogen and biomethane. A key finding is that the easiest and cheapest way to cut emissions is by repurposing existing gas pipelines and networks, as well as by extending the amount of energy supplied through renewable electricity. “There is no single best pathway to decarbonise,” says ENA chief executive officer Andrew Dillon. “This report shows that the size of the energy transformation demands a mix of solutions including electrification and renewable gas.” Australian Pipelines and Gas Association chief executive officer Steve Davies adds that gas transmission pipeline and distribution network businesses are already moving to adopt renewable supplies. “Gas infrastructure businesses are adopting ambitious internal targets to reach net-zero emissions, some by 2040, and major progress has been made towards providing renewable gas to customers,” he says. Decarbonising gas was “the fastest path to net-zero [emissions],” he says. “We are working today to make gas networks and pipelines ready to accommodate any form of renewable and decarbonised gas, to reduce emissions.” All Australian states and territories have set net-zero emission targets by 2050 or earlier, and many businesses are making similar commitments, the Gas Vision 2050 report says. REPLACING NATURAL GAS IN INDUSTRIAL PROCESSES

High level view of the Sydney Opera House in the city of Sydney in Australia. Photo: dreamstime.com

Currently, natural gas is used across many parts of the Australian economy and is required as a feedstock and a fuel in industrial processes for the agricultural and heavy industry sectors. It is also commonly used for heating, hot water and cooking.

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“Gas infrastructure businesses are adopting ambitious internal targets to reach net-zero emissions...” The report states that all these applications will ultimately be replaced by a combination of three energy options, all produced renewably. These are low-carbon hydrogen, biomethane or renewable natural gas, and electricity from renewables. “Due to the size of the transformation of the energy sector, and especially when considering the totality of electricity, gas and liquid fuel supply, all of these pathways will contribute towards reaching net zero emissions,” says the report. “The challenge is to find the right mix of these pathways to reach net-zero emissions while ensuring energy security and minimising the overall cost of the energy system.” As part of the decarbonisation process, the report sets a target of blending at least 10 per cent renewable gas in pipelines by 2030 and making sure all new residential developments get 100 per cent carbon-free supplies by the same date. One part of the gas decarbonisation equation received a boost last month when Hysata, an Australian start-up, claimed to have found a way of slashing the cost of renewably produced or ‘green’ hydrogen. As reported on page [xx], the company says it has created an electrolysis cell that can operate with 98 per cent efficiency, which could bring the cost of green hydrogen down to less than 1.5 US dollars per kilo. That would make green hydrogen comparable in price to fossil fuels. June 2022

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Aquantis

Tidal stream technology developer signs up to test machine in 2023 A Californian technology developer has signed up to test a new tidal stream turbine in Scottish waters next year. The tests will see Santa Barbara-based Aquantis attempting to crack a renewable energy concept that has massive potential but has remained challenging for developers so far. BY JASON DEIGN

Tidal stream machines are designed to work like underwater wind turbines, with power coming from the ebb and flow of the tides instead of the breeze. The European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney, where Aquantis has leased a test bay for a six-month testing programme, has been hosting tidal stream technology developers for almost two decades. But in that time, few companies have managed to get viable machines to market.

rine Hydrokinetic And Riverine Kilo-megawatt Systems (SHARKS) programme, aims to overcome this problem by attaching its turbine to a floating spar buoy. The machine, called a Tidal Power Tug, has a ten-metre, two-bladed rotor delivering 160kW of power. It will be put to the test in waters of up to 25 metres of depth at EMEC’s Shapinsay Sound scale test site, to the north-east of Kirkwall in the Orkney Islands.

The largest tidal stream array to date, called MeyGen, has up to 6MW of capacity, which is less than a single offshore wind turbine can produce today. One of the challenges with early tidal stream technologies was that turbines were mounted on the seabed, which made it hard to access the machines for maintenance.

“A TRULY EXCITING MOMENT”

Aquantis, which is being funded by the US Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy Subma98 |

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“The Power Tug represents a number of design breakthroughs innovated through the SHARKS programme, aimed at reducing the cost of energy,” says Peter Stricker, Aquantis’ chief commercial officer. “We will observe performance of this system for the first time operating in open water at the Shapinsay Sound test site. This promises to be a truly exciting moment for the Aquantis team as we prepare for deployment into the UK market.”

Photo: dreamstime.com

The Santa Barbara-based Aquantis aims to crack the challenge of tidal stream technology by attaching its turbine to a floating spar buoy. Photo: EMEC


Aquantis

The Shapinsay Sound site is designed to give tidal turbine developers “their first realsea experiences in gentler conditions to our grid-connected sites,” says Richy Ainsworth, USA project engineer at EMEC. If the Tidal Power Tug passes its tests next year, then Aquantis will have to prepare the machine for much tougher conditions. The best sites for tidal stream generation have notoriously powerful and fast-flowing tides. In one early Canadian tidal turbine test, the blades were ripped off a tentonne machine the second time it encountered a spring tide. Tidal turbine develop-

ers have still not quite worked out how to tame these forces cost effectively, despite waves of public sector funding. The Aquantis Tidal Power Tug demonstration, for example, is being financed by the Interreg North-West Europe funding programme’s 13 million euros Demonstration

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Programme for Ocean Energy Pilot Farms and Supporting Technologies project, led by EMEC. “By testing at EMEC’s scale test site, Aquantis will gain experience of marine operations while generating performance data to validate its loading and dynamics model, controller functionality and load mitigation techniques,” EMEC says.

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Ecocoach

The dustproof and waterproof ecoPowerTrolley mobile energy storage unit is designed to replace polluting diesel generators with batteries.

Swiss firm puts wheels on batteries to replace diesel generators A Swiss company is aiming to replace polluting diesel generators with batteries that can be wheeled around like trolleys. Ecocoach, of Brunnen in the Canton of Schwyz, has launched a mobile energy storage unit that provides up to 11 kW of continuous three-phase power. BY JASON DEIGN |

PHOTOS: ECOCOACH

“This makes it possible to simply replace many conventional generators,” says the company, which has been developing energy storage systems since 2018. The dustproof and waterproof ecoPowerTrolley mobile energy storage unit is intended to replace diesel gensets on construction sites, at events, in security or rescue 100

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operations and in other situations where temporary power supplies are needed. It stores energy in a lithium-ion battery and can deliver power via 400-volt CEE16 plugs or 230-volt CEE7 connections. Naturally, the emissions savings that come from replacing diesel generators with batteries will depend on the carbon intensity of the electricity mix that the battery is charged with.

But Switzerland has one of the lowest-carbon grids in the world since it gets most of its electricity from hydro and nuclear power. This means a Swiss company switching from gensets to batteries could cut its carbon footprint significantly. Diesel emits between 800 and 930 grams of carbon dioxide per kWh, whereas for the Swiss grid the emissions are just 33 grams – more than a 95 per cent reduction. Substituting diesel generators for mobile battery systems will not only reduce noise and emissions, Ecocoach says, but also cut costs. “Since it doesn’t require any fuel or lubricant and has fewer moving parts, variable operating costs are reduced,” says Ecocoach.


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“Since it doesn’t require any fuel or lubricant and has fewer moving parts, variable operating costs are reduced...” “The life cycle costs of the trolley are consequently lower than those of generators when considered as a whole.” Ecocoach is taking orders for the ecoPowerTrolley now and hopes to start delivering units in the fourth quarter of this year. “Though the first mobile storage providers are already on the market, the ecoPowerTrolley is unique on account of its performance features,” claims Vera Trutmann, a product manager at Ecocoach. “We have developed the ecoPowerTrolley as a solution that meets climate targets and professional requirements,” she says. Other companies that are exploring the use of clean technologies for on-site power generation include Prolectric of the UK, which offers a combined solar-plus-storage energy system, and the rental giant Aggreko, which bought an energy storage company called Younicos in 2017. According to analyst firm Fortune Business Insights, the global diesel generator market was worth almost 17 billion US dollars in 2021 and is set to be valued at nearly 18 billion dollars this year. The market is forecast to see a compound annual growth rate of 5.5 per cent from now to 2029, topping 26 billion dollars before the end of the decade. “Extraordinary global development in the residential, commercial and industrial sectors has boosted demand for reliable power in all locations,” says the research company. “Diesel generators have grown in popularity in the industrial and residential sectors as a result of this need.” Hospitals, houses, schools, factories and construction sites routinely use diesel generation systems as a primary or backup power supply in the event of a grid outage, it adds. June 2022

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Can sustainability and investment events help solve the climate crisis? Discover CleanTech asks Emily Vernall, keynote speaker at the upcoming Reset Connect London, the UK’s largest sustainability ecosystem and green investment event:

What kind of role do events like Reset Connect play in solving the climate crisis? Climate change is an undeniably complex, multi-faceted phenomenon which means that siloed thinking between sectors is one of the biggest challenges and hindrances to generating effective solutions. Collaborative and cross-sectoral events like Reset Connect London are crucial spaces to bridge the gap between activists, business leaders, government, and the funders. They create opportunities to collaborate, learn, debate, and from this we can generate interdependent, cohesive solutions that counter sectoral tunnel vision. 102

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These events also are vital points of momentum. When the battle against climate inaction feels unending and futile, the energy and innovation that is sparked from gatherings of diverse, ambitious changemakers can provide a reminder that change can happen. How does this kind of solution orientated event balance with a focus on the severity of the climate challenges? If there is one thing I have learnt in my time in the environmental and climate advocacy space, it is that we need more reasons to be hopeful. Whilst there is no denying the severity of the climate emergency, the

widespread media focus on doomism can be debilitating and hinder both action and accountability. The world is full of untold stories and understated, untapped solutions for innovative change. Studies have shown that overly negative and apocalyptic narratives of climate change can simply encourage guilt, eco-anxiety, and defensiveness whilst successful theories of change focus on positive visions of the future that are underpinned by a strong social mandate and broad-based community engagement. I believe that unless we focus on the world we have to gain – a place that is inclusive,


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ABOUT RESET CONNECT LONDON: Over 3,000 business leaders, innovators and investors are set to unite in the fight against climate change at the UK’s largest sustainability ecosystem and green investment event, Reset Connect London. Taking place 28 – 29 June 2022 at London’s ExCeL, Reset Connect London has been established to bridge the gap between sustainability change-makers, business leaders, government, and funding. Part of London Climate Action Week, the event is committed to driving ‘sustainability through collaboration’, with opening keynotes from Kate Raworth, Economist and Founder of Doughnut Economics Action Lab and Tanya Steele, the CEO of WWF. Delegates can also engage with 100+ confirmed exhibitors and listen to valuable insights from over 150 speakers through a series of exciting panel discussions across different stages, delivered by senior leaders from household brands including HSBC, Mitie, Rolls-Royce, BBC, British Airways, Good Energy, National Grid and Olio.

Emily is a climate and gender justice campaigner at SHE Changes Climate and a young advisor to a number of environmental organisations. She is currently one of 12 global youth advisors selected for the Global Centre on Adaptation’s inaugural Youth Advisory Board, working to accelerate youth engagement around the UNFCCC’s Global Goal on Adaptation. In November 2021, she represented the Future Leaders Network at COP26.

sustainable, innovative and transformative – rather than the grief and doom for a world lost, we will not arrive at the solutions we so urgently need. Tell me about your background, work and personal motivation and which sectors do you think have the greatest – imminent – potential for change?

A key highlight includes two panel sessions with founding partner of Reset Connect London, PwC, which is committed to helping business leaders implement impactful sustainability strategies. The event will conclude with the closing keynote The Future is in Our Hands by Emily Vernall. For more information about Reset Connect London, free visitor tickets or to register for a delegate pass, please visit: www.reset-connect.com.

and overlap, especially when considering the social justice and societal dimensions of climate change, which cannot be missed out of the designing of the more technical solutions.

sectors have a crucial role to play in shifting the status quo of how money is spent, how quickly we decarbonise and unlocking equitable access to climate finance for groups and nations who are in the greatest need.

I believe that the finance sector and big funders within the climate space hold a lot of immanent power with the potential to either unlock or gatekeep change. These

This is crucial in ensuring that the net zero and clean energy transition does not replicate a system that is dependent on creating winners and losers.

I have grown-up in the ‘climate generation’ at a time when the realities of environmental degradation, biodiversity collapse and rising temperatures have been defining how I understand the world and how I perceive the future. This has personally sparked my active role advocating for meaningful youth participation and inclusion in decision-making spaces relating to all sorts of environmental issues. This purpose has also infiltrated my professional and academic work, where I am currently studying [International] Development at Jesus College, Cambridge. As a researcher, I am very interested in how climate and development issues intersect June 2022

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Events

Future Cleantech Architects.

The cleantech calendar

BY SIGNE HANSEN

– events you should not miss in the coming months THE ARC CLEANTECH INNOVATION FESTIVAL BY FUTURE CLEANTECH ARCHITECTS

remaining innovation gaps in order to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.

Together with international partners and co-hosts from the public and private sphere, ARC brings together the brightest minds and best ideas in cleantech worldwide. Four stages, each focusing on accelerating high-impact ideas across cleantech innovation, will give attendees the opportunity to discuss the most effective technologies, policy approaches, and financial ideas to drive down emissions drastically. The event is organised by FCA, Future Cleantech Architects, a non-profit cleantech thinktank working to close the

22-23 June, 2022

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Remscheid, Germany www.arc-festival.org

SOLAR ENERGY FUTURE EUROPE 2022 Driven by the EU ‘Fit for 55’ Package, solar PV is projected to grow at an average rate of 56GW/year, increasing from 164.9GW as of 2021 to 327GW by 2025 and 672GW by 2030.

Staying ahead of the trend, the Solar Energy Future Europe 2022 highlights the future of solar ecosystem being the solar-storage-asset integral value chain, gathering 500+ industry leaders, policymakers, utilities, solar storage developers, responsible investors, financiers, and asset solution providers from across Europe to discuss how they can effectively measure, analyse, partner and scale the future toward sustainability. 6-7 July, 2022 Madrid, Spain www.europe.solarenergy-future.com


Events

WIND ASSET MANAGEMENT EUROPE 2022

CONNECTING GREEN HYDROGEN EUROPE 2022

Europe’s Leading Wind Asset Management and O&M Event

CGHE2022 is the leading Green Hydrogen Conference and Exhibition in Europe, which will be held in Meliá Avenida América, Madrid on July 6-7, 2022. Besides this, It’s also a premier business networking platform to meet with your prospective partners and strike the best business deals. CGHE2022 Event Highlights:

The volume of investable wind assets is projected to increase to 230 gigawatts (Gw) in Europe by 2020, consisting of 190 GW onshore and 40 GW offshore, with another 100 GW capacity to be implemented by 2030. In order to tap the full potential of wind energy meanwhile ensuring long-term business profitability in the trend of grid parity, Wind Asset Management Europe 2022 aims to unite the European wind value chain to optimise wind asset value, operation, and maintenance, gathering key-decision makers from European governments, RE energy buyers, utilities, independent power producers, investors and financiers, OEMs, consulting and technical service providers. Event Highlights: • Co-located with Solar Energy Future Europe 2022 and Connecting Green Hydrogen Europe 2022. • Strategic Conference that focusing on Europe wind power roadmap, offshore wind deployment, wind farm O&M, wind PPA, and technical innovations. • Two-day unique networking platform for participants to build solid business partnerships. • Innovation and Technology Exhibition to demonstrate practical wind farm case studies and advanced technologies. 6-7 July, 2022 Madrid, Spain www.windassetmanagement.com

• Co-located with Wind Asset Management Europe & Solar Energy Future Europe 2022. • New Partnership Opportunities with Energy generators & gas producers , Large energy users, Infrastructure owners & developers, Government and Investors & buyers. • Trends of Green Hydrogen Production and Hydrogen Application. • Policy and Market Framework, Hydrogen Value Chain and Advanced Water Electrolysis Technologies. 6-7 July, 2022 Madrid, Spain www.europe.gh2events.com

LONDON EV SHOW Following on from the remarkable success of its previous edition, the London EV Show is all set to take place from 29 November to 1 December 2022 at ExCeL London. The event will once again bring the entire EV value chain under one roof to network with major industry players and help identify numerous business opportunities in a hypercompetitive EV market.

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Discover CleanTech

The event aims to facilitate a large showcase of the latest EV models and innovative solutions, a powerful speaker lineup and an enthused audience of policymakers, business leaders, investors, thought leaders and a wide range of end-users. Featuring a massive exhibition space and highly-actionable conference agenda, London EV Show is a must-attend EV event of 2022 that will host three days of strategic discussions, critical knowledge-sharing, 1-2-1 business meetings and the latest product demonstrations. 29 November, 2022 - 1 December, 2022 London, United Kingdom www.londonevshow.com

WORLD CONFERENCE ON CLIMATE CHANGE AND SUSTAINABILITY (CLIMATE WEEK 2022) Climate Week 2022 will be bringing together a range of key actors from institutions, governments, cities and communities, the private sector, and civil society, including youth movements, from all over the world, to make the world more climate-resilient. This meet is a distinctive opportunity for participants to hear directly from environmental and climate justice leaders about regeneration in action. This conference is a step towards empowering decision-makers and energy stakeholders to join forces and proactively address the challenges of climate change so that actual progress can be achieved. By bringing together researchers who are working on topics relevant to climate change and environmental sustainability to share their latest accomplishments and research findings, voices can be amplified and actions towards a more resilient, livable, sustainable future taken. Join the event for three intensive and interesting days of discussing contemporary challenges and new advancements in climate change. Climate Week 2022 anticipates many of the eminent personalities interested in participating from around the world to descend upon this Global Conference on Climate Change. 1-3 September, 2022

Arc Festival.

Frankfurt, Germany. www.climateweek.thepeopleevents.com June 2022

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Writers of the Month

Writers of the Month This issue of Discover CleanTech includes special features by:

HELEN MASSY-BERESFORD Helen Massy-Beresford is a British freelance journalist, writer, and editor. She covers a wide variety of subjects, including aviation, environment, energy, business, science, travel, food, and culture. She has written for nationals, trade publications, newswires, and consumer magazines and is also the author of The Food Lover’s Guide To Paris (White Owl, 2019). Before going freelance she spent six years at Reuters, covering the automobile sector in Paris and then working as a sub-editor in London. She is originally from London but lives in Paris with her husband, two daughters, and cat. www.twitter.com/hmassyberesford

JASON DEIGN Jason Deign is a Barcelona-based business writer, journalist, and author reporting on cleantech, energy, technology and the future. In 2020 he was ranked at number 42 on Tyto Tech’s 500 Power List of the most influential people in the UK technology sector, ranking second within cleantech. Deign runs Jason Deign Associates, a Barcelona-based editorial and copywriting services agency serving clients worldwide. Deign launched Energy Storage Report in 2012 and currently contributes to a range of cleantech publications. www.jasondeign.com

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