Sustainable Business Green TechnologyMonday November 12 2012 www.ft.com/reports | twitter.com/ftreportsStronger Inside » Cement works One company’spolitical will waste can become another’s raw material Page 2is needed to Reduce, reuse, recycle The best thingsmeet goals will come in smaller packages Page 2 China focus Beijing mounts push for moreGovernments, businesses and NGOs have to energy fromcollaborate if they are to reverse the world’s renewables Page 2environmental problems, says Sarah Murray Storm damage: New Jersey after hurricane Sandy, which some hope will revive the topic of climate change in the US Reuters Joint initiativesA s US citizens and agencies dence of shifts in the world’s weather until Sandy propelled it back on to to invest in clean technology. and types of companies that are likely embark on rebuilding dam- patterns emerges, this will drive the agenda. Much of the funding is being chan- to make the biggest commercial bring benefits aged infrastructure in the investment in green technologies – Despite the lack of political will, not nelled into clean energy – products impact in the next five to 10 years. Companies link wake of hurricane Sandy’s those that not only help prevent all is gloom when it comes to green and services designed to reduce In this year’s report, while the devastation, debates will no climate change by reducing green- technology. National governments energy consumption and increase the number of solar companies on the list forces to educatedoubt emerge on how best to protectagainst future storms. But while house gas emissions but that also minimise the effects of climate warm- are finding ways to foster the develop- ment of the sector and, in the US proportion of renewable fuels in the power supply. Nimble start-up compa- is down 40 per cent since 2009, energy efficiency has 22 companies on the each otherupgrading power, transport and other ing and extreme weather events. many local, regional and city adminis- nies are driving many of the innova- list, up from 15 in 2010. Page 3systems is part of the answer, the On the global policy front, however, trations are doing the same. Mean- tions. Examples range from US-based The report’s authors say companiesclean up may also prompt policy mak- consensus is weak. This year’s Rio+20 while, the private sector continues Aquion Energy, which has developed are increasingly seeking answers toers to consider the role of green tech- summit must have come as a disap- advanced battery systems based on immediate, specific problems rather Energynology in building climate resilience. pointment to those in the clean tech ambient-temperature sodium-ion tech- than investing in longer-term develop- The extent to which climate change sector. At the summit – so named nology, to Nualight, an Irish producer ments with less certain goals. “This Carbon capture isis to blame for Sandy is unclear. A because it was held 20 years after the Nimble start-up of energy-efficient display lights for leads to a lower tolerance for technol- an opportunity ripeconvergence of meteorological factors first 1992 Rio Earth Summit – few new companies are driving grocery stores that use LEDs (light ogy risk and/or a lower tolerance for for exploitation butcould have created such a storm, even national commitments were made and emitting diodes). the big bet,” writes Cleantech Group’swithout climate warming. But rising previous targets were watered down. many of the innovations in Both are among those on the 2012 Richard Youngman in the report. incentives are fewsea levels will increase the impact ofstorms, particularly in coastal areas. In the world’s largest economy, few US politicians have been willing to the clean tech sector Global Cleantech 100 Companies, a list put together by the Cleantech Nevertheless, investment in clean energy continues, rising to a record Page 4 Many hope that as stronger evi- broach the topic of climate change Group that takes stock of companies Continued on Page 3
2 ★ FINANCIAL TIMES MONDAY NOVEMBER 12 2012 Sustainable Business Green TechnologyMatching up Put headscompanies is a together formove to a world clean thinkingwithout waste Outside the US, cross-sec- Incubators tor partnerships are emerg- ing to establish clean tech Sarah Murray finds incubators. In February, the sectors joining forces Carbon Trust, a govern- ment-backed advisory to drive innovation group, and General Electric announced the setting up of a $5m business incubator After plugging a device fund designed to help Euro- called the modlet into elec- pean companies develop trical outlets, people in low-carbon in technologies. homes and offices can cut “We’re beginning to see wasted energy by managing for the first time incubatorsCement One company’s refuse is another’s appliances not in use remotely via the web. not just being created by private companies thatraw material, writes Sarah Murray ThinkEco, which developed the modlet, did so from compete with the incuba- tors from government but within the walls of the NYC actually joining up theW Acre, one of a growing two,” says Mr Reilly. ith extremely high tem- cement made with less clinker number of incubators dedi- For start-ups, incubators peratures required to reduces the fuel needed to power the cated to the development of offer a range of services, heat the limestone, kilns. Meanwhile, cement that has a clean tech businesses. from physical space and cement is a product with lower proportion of clinker has gener- For the start-ups in the support services, to access a heavy carbon foot- ated fewer emissions related to the portfolio of NYC Acre (the to professional services,print. However, as companies start to chemical decomposition of limestone. New York City Accelerator expertise and introductionsuse more industrial waste and renew- A range of materials can be used to for a Clean and Renewable to funders: “And maybeable energy in cement production, replace clinker. These include active Economy) a strong focus is most importantly, commu-some believe the sector could become minerals derived from industrial waste the development of technol- nity,” says Mr Kotch.a leader in “industrial symbiosis” – such as slag from steel mills and fly ogies that address energy However, that community(where one company’s refuse becomes ash, a byproduct of power plant coal use in the urban environ- can also be a virtual one,another’s raw material), accelerating combustion – as well as naturally ment. “We want to help argues Mr Esty. His state isprogress towards a zero-waste world. active materials such as volcanic ash. drive innovation at scale launching an advanced Manufacturing clinker – which tra- The potential for cement production and New York with its 1m energy innovation hubditionally makes up about 90 per cent to use industrial waste is substantial. Heavy footprint: through the fuel substitution. materials in cement could influence buildings is a huge mar- located at the University ofof cement – is the most energy-inten- For example, slag can be used both to converting Philippe Fonta, director of the location selection when deciding ket,” says Micah Kotch, Connecticut, initially focus-sive part of the product. This is partly power the kilns and as a replacement limestone to WBCSD’s Cement Sustainability Initi- where to build a cement plant. operations director. ing on the development ofbecause changing limestone to clinker for clinker. And as well as powering clinker needs ative, cites the example of discarded “We still have to supply a market,” However, while clean tech fuel cells.needs temperatures of up to 1,500C, their kilns with renewable energy, temperatures of tyres, which in some places are left in says Mr Quintal. “But when choosing incubators aim to use mar- Although the hub iswhich means burning large amounts cement plants can turn anything from up to 1,500C dumps where they collect water and between locations, one of the factors ket forces to drive a cleaner located at the university,of fuel. An important step in reducing waste wood and sewage sludge to old become breeding grounds for malaria- to consider is the availability of and economy, developing solu- “the spokes will connectcement’s carbon footprint will be to tyres and plastics into fuel. carrying mosquitoes. “If these used access to other industry clusters and tions that address issues companies across the stateincrease the energy efficiency of “Our process allows us to use waste tyres are no longer abandoned but take advantage of those and whatever such as carbon emissions, and outside the university,”cement plants and find alternative as fuel and integrate that into the eliminated by a cement plant, you those clusters produce.” water consumption and says Mr Esty.fuels to power furnaces. product without any risk to health,” also have societal benefits,” he says. Of course, with a legacy of existing waste is different from fos- Incubators can also pro- However, a second substantial says Raul Quintal, director of opera- The technology behind this kind of cement plants, it will take time before tering information technol- vide introductions to poten-source of emissions comes from the tions planning and performance, at matchmaking, or coprocessing, is rela- the industry can become fully inte- ogy or biotech innovations tial customers. For exam-chemical conversion process itself, Cemex, one of the world’s largest tively well established. The bigger grated with the waste management in that it requires input ple, through its links withduring which calcium carbonate is cement producers. challenge, however, lies in creating sector. And some materials are not from a wide range of sec- Con Edison, NY Acre wasextracted from the limestone, generat- For those in the waste management the kinds of infrastructure and indus- suitable for processing by the cement tors and organisations. able to facilitate a partner-ing large amounts of carbon dioxide. sector, cement kilns – with their high try collaborations that facilitate the industry, including nuclear waste, “People have understood ship between the electricity “From a chemical standpoint, the temperatures – provide a safe way of trading of waste between waste pro- infectious medical waste, batteries the technology involved inprocess generates CO2 in addition to destroying unwanted and often haz- ducers and cement producers. and untreated mixed municipal waste. building cleaner solutions isthe burning of fuel,” explains Howard ardous materials, helping solve public “[Coprocessing] is a pretty elegant Moreover, for the cement sector to a lot more complicatedKlee, former director of and adviser to health and safety challenges. piece of industrial ecology,” say Raj become a key partner in the manage- because it relies on combi- ‘Private sectorthe Cement Sustainability Initiative In 1999, when the Belgian govern- Sapru, director of advisory services at ment of waste, governments need to nations of hardware, prod- partners are gameat the World Business Council for ment needed to dispose of thousands Business for Social Responsibility, a formulate the right incentives. uct design and productSustainable Development (WBCSD). of tonnes of meal and fat from poten- US-based business association and “To hit fast forward, there needs to development,” says Colm changers if you Increased plant and fuel efficiencycannot address these emissions, tially contaminated animal products, it requisitioned cement plants, which advisory group. “But since it involves steel making and cement making, it be more collaboration between busi- ness, government and civil society,” Reilly, government and public sector expert at PA can get in to theirwhich means cement makers also could guarantee the complete destruc- means a market has to exist.” says Mr Sapru. “Cement is an ancient Consulting. supply chain’have to find alternatives to clinker. tion of the contaminants in the kiln, As new facilities are planned, the technology – it’s not about the tech- As a result, when it This has a dual benefit. First, while also reducing their emissions inherent efficiency in using waste nology. It’s about the political will.” comes to launching clean tech incubators, govern- ments, academia and the utility and ThinkEco to private sector are increas- deploy modlets across New ingly forming partnerships. York to help manage the “The incubation of new electrical load demanded inThe best things will come in smaller packages ideas needs to be supported the summer by the city’s by a diversity of struc- 6.2m window-mounted air tures,” says Daniel Esty, conditioners. commissioner of the depart- Meanwhile, for cash- ment of energy and envi- strapped governments look- ronmental protection for ing to maximise the impact The SmartTwist, in line volumes needed to reduce You Sow, a non-profit carded the plastic tray com- the state of Connecticut, of money spent on fosteringRecycling with Johnson’s efforts to prices, says Ms Semrau. organisation that encour- monly used for whole chick- which has launched a ven- clean energy, investing in make its packaging more Procter & Gamble is also ages shareholders to put ens, in favour of film which ture capital fund called incubator facilities offers aReducing, improving sustainable, contains 64 per trying to reduce plastic pressure on US corporates hermetically seals the birds Connecticut Innovations. cheaper alternative to fund-and reusing material cent less plastic than a sin- packaging. Together with to take responsibility for in a “modified atmosphere”. NYC Acre is a good exam- ing subsidies for renewable gle 26oz trigger bottle, and the UK’s Waste & packaging waste. This prolongs the product’s ple of this cross-sector power and allows policyprovides benefits for the individual filled car- Resources Action Pro- In 1994, an EU directive shelf life from eight days to approach. The incubator is makers to make moreproducer and buyer, tridges weigh up to 80 per cent less than their non- gramme (Wrap), it has developed software that required member states to develop regulations on pre- 10 and reduces packaging weight by 70 per cent. run by NYU-Poly, funded primarily by the New York informed decisions. “If you allow govern-says Jane Bird concentrated equivalent. models plastic bottles to vention, reuse and recy- Mr Swannell says it pre- State Energy Research and ments to pick the winners, SC Johnson also met con- work out where the stresses cling of packaging waste. serves food better, giving Development Authority and you have selection based sumer scepticism when it are. Mr MacKerron points out customers longer to use it, designed not only to sup- not on prospects for eco-Next spring, US shoppers tried to launch concen- Peter White, P&G’s global that this cut waste going to and reduces waste in the port start-ups but also to nomic success in the mar-will be able to buy a three- trated refill pouches for sustainability director says: final disposal by 43 per food chain. There has also help commercialise univer- ketplace but too often basedin-one cleaning fluid dis- products such as Pledge, “It has enabled us to cent, to 17m tonnes, in the been significant progress sity research. on political calculations,”penser with a trigger noz- Shout and Windex. The remove 14 per cent of plas- decade to 2008. with coffee granule refills, “And we work very says Mr Esty.zle. It has a twist mecha- pouches were designed to tic from detergent and In the UK, the grocery such as those for Kraft closely with [private sector] Because investing innism that switches between pour well but people did not beauty product bottles such Johnson’s SmartTwist bottle industry is on target to Foods’ Kenco, he says. partners like Con Edison, clean tech incubatorsthe three concentrates, believe they would. as Olay, Lenor and Aerial.” reduce the weight of pack- Home Retail Group has National Grid, Verizon, means governments are fol-while the refillable handle Even though concentrates P&G also plans to trans- aging and increase its recy- introduced a reusable bag IBM, Cisco and others,” lowing market capital,contains water to dilute are lighter to transport, fer 25 per cent of its 2010 weight by 20 per cent and cling to produce a 10 per that protects large items says Mr Kotch. “They serve rather than trying to shapethem as they are used. convincing people they are volume of petrochemical plastic by 50 per cent. cent cut in carbon usage in such as sofas and fitted on our advisory board, as the market, it lowers the Customers can choose more convenient is a chal- materials to renewables by Toy manufacturer Has- the three years to December kitchens during transport mentors, as sounding risk of selecting a technol-their three cleansers from lenge, says Ms Semrau. “We 2010. It has started using bro, which makes My Little 2012. and can be removed on boards, as inspiration. ogy that may ultimatelycartridges for glass, changed to small plastic bio polyethylene from sugar Pony, has replaced 34,000 Among innovations that delivery. Such items are They’re also game changers prove not to be commer-kitchen, bathroom, furni- bottles, which people felt cane for products such as miles of wire ties in its have helped meet the target often protected with a lot of if you’re a start-up and are cially viable.ture and carpet. would pour more easily.” Pantene. packaging with paper rat- is a gas permeable packag- cardboard, plastic film and able to get in to their sup- “The principle that gov- “In trials, the initial prob- The other problem is Instead of emitting car- tan or bamboo mix ties. ing film from Evap that tape, says Mr Swannell. ply chain.” ernment money should fol-lem was overcoming price. People resent the fact bon dioxide, this material However, the US is far extends the life of Jersey Customers sometimes Similarly, LA Cleantech low private capital leader-suspicion that it might be that refills are not much locks it in. Greenhouse gas behind Europe on sustaina- Royal potatoes from four cause or discover damage Incubator, a Los Angeles- ship is a better startingdifficult to use or fail to cheaper than new emissions are reduced by ble packaging, says Nina days to eight. This reduces when removing packaging. based non-profit organisa- point,” argues Mr Esty. “Ifwork,” says Kelly M. Sem- dispensers. SC Johnson more than 170 per cent and Goodrich, director of the waste throughout the sup- The reusable bags enable tion that receives funding you use limited governmentrau, chief sustainability wants supermarkets to 70 per cent less fossil fuel is Sustainable Packaging Coa- ply chain by 50 per cent, drivers to check goods are from the CRA/LA, a local money to leverage privateofficer of Wisconsin-based insist that all cleaning prod- consumed. lition, a Virginia-based says Richard Swannell, in good condition. authority and the Los Ange- capital and piggyback onSC Johnson, which makes ucts should be concen- P&G is using bamboo, industry working group. Wrap’s director of design “This saves 1,800 tons of les department of water and decisions being made in thethe SmartTwist. “But by trates, as they have with bulrush and sugar cane Her view is shared by and waste prevention. packaging a year and gives power, works with the marketplace, you have athe end, people didn’t want laundry products. fibres for Gillette Fusion Conrad MacKerron, senior Moy Park, the meat and a better customer experi- region’s research centres much better strategy forto give them back.” This would create the ProGlide, cutting packaging programme director of As poultry producer, has dis- ence,” says Mr Swannell. and universities. success.”Beijing mounts push for increased energy from renewables energy consumer can seem sources and also contrib- That line of argument is acts as a constraint on wind China the biggest builder of “China needs stuff that bon emissions by 2020 com-China focus like a Mecca of clean energy utes to lowering carbon part of the reason and solar installations in power lines anywhere in scales,” says David Michael, pared with 2005 levels, development, with a level of emissions. Novozymes has had such many places where it can- the world. managing director at con- clean coal technologies areDeveloping more state support and commer- According to the white success in China. This year, not absorb the intermittent Fossil fuel sources will sultancy BCG in Beijing. in the spotlight.power sources is a cial enthusiasm for new paper, the vision for 2015 Chinese chemical company power supplied by solar or continue to be part of “Anything related to natu- Coal plants and steel technologies that is almost includes 400 square kilome- Shengguan Group began wind farms. The problem is China’s energy plan and the ral gas, LNG supply, and mills are investing in car-strategic goal, unparalleled. The world’s tres of solar heat surface commercial production of so widespread that last year government is lending its shale gas is set to grow.” bon capture technologiesreports Leslie Hook biggest consumer of coal, thanks to the policies of the collection and 100 gigawatts of installed wind power. ethanol made from agricul- tural waste using enzymes energy authorities slowed down the pace of wind support to other types of fossil fuel energy, such as China announced a gener- ous tariff for shale gas in and processes that can reduce emissions of sulphur past decade, is now the Developing new and renew- provided by Novozymes. installations, to give the shale gas and coal to gas November, creating a big and nitrous oxide.When Danish enzyme world’s biggest producer of able energy is a “key strate- That product, known as cel- grid more time to upgrade technologies. economic incentive for com- “Making coal cleaner mit-maker Novozymes was solar panels, wind turbines, gic measure” and an lulosic ethanol, gets special its systems. panies to invest in explora- igates the conflict betweenlooking for partners to help and electric batteries. “urgent need in the protec- mention in the white paper, China is building ultra tion for the unconventional China’s high-carbon energyit make chemicals out of By 2015, Beijing aims for tion of the environment”, with other biofuels such as high-voltage electricity resource. Shale gas, sector and the goals ofcorn cobs, it came to China. 30 per cent of China’s gener- the white paper says. biodiesel. lines to carry electricity ‘China’s energy extracted by fracturing rock green growth,” says an And when German solar- ating capacity to come from “China’s energy develop- China’s electricity grid is from coal-rich regions, such development must deep underground and cap- executive at Shenhua,panel maker Q-Cells was non-fossil fuel sources, a ment must follow a path set to be a key front for as Inner Mongolia and Xin- turing the natural gas that China’s biggest coal pro-trying to sell a subsidiary government white paper featuring high-tech content, investment in clean energy jiang, toward the areas of follow a path of escapes, has revolutionised ducer. Its coal consumptionthat had developed arecord-breaking technology published last month says. Clean energy is prized in low consumption resources, less environmen- of technologies, as China’s grid companies spend bil- high energy demand on the eastern seaboard, so saving high-tech content‘ the energy landscape in the US and China hopes to do is set to grow but it will draw a smaller percentagefor thin film solar panels, it China because it helps the tal pollution, satisfactory lions of dollars on develop- on energy for transport. White paper the same. of its power from coal, leav-found a buyer in China. country reduce its depend- economic returns, as well ing a “smart grid”. At Those conduits stretching As the country works to ing room for clean energy The world’s largest ence on imported energy as security,” it adds. present the electricity grid across the country make make a 40 per cent in car- technologies to grow.
FINANCIAL TIMES MONDAY NOVEMBER 12 2012 ★ 3 Sustainable Business Green TechnologySharing skills enhances The plant processes plastic packag- ing and turns it into materials that Coca-Cola can use to make drink bot- tles. The turnround time from collec- tion to a new bottle appearing on thelikelihood of success shelves is as little as six weeks. The partnership has created a template for Coca-Cola in other coun- tries, with similar projects lined up for other markets, including France. Other recent collaborative projects can be found in the US, where Heinz teamed up with Coca-Cola, Ford, Nike and Procter & Gamble to speed theCollaboration Joint initiatives bring benefits, says Mark Wembridge development and use of plant-based plastics. All use the plastic PET poly- ethylene terephthalate in productsU such as plastic bottles, clothing, shoes niversities and non-profit led when two or more companies SSE’s rationale was simple: the col- and automotive fabric and carpet. organisations have long decide to throw in their lot together laboration achieved the desired result Through the creation of the Plant expounded the benefits of on a green technology project. faster than if it had gone ahead alone. PET Technology Collaborative, the collaboration in green tech- However, these issues can and have “The power of collaboration lies in five pooled their technologies and nology to achieve a com- been overcome, as SSE, the British bringing together companies who are resources to increase the amount ofmon goal but the spread of intercorpo- energy company, proved with a car- real specialists in their respective plant-based plastics used in consuma-rate projects has been less wide- bon capture project at its Ferrybridge fields to form a creative force that is ble bottles.spread. power station in West Yorkshire. greater than the sum of its parts, The group said: “PTC members are Kris Gopalakrishnan, executive co- Initiated late last year, the project allowing them to achieve technologi- committed to researching and devel-chairman of Infosys, the Indian infor- was set up to capture 100 tonnes of cal enhancements that may not other- oping commercial solutions for PETmation technology consultancy, says: carbon dioxide per day from the wise have been possible,” said SSE. PET project: Continuum Recycling’s plant turns out bottle grade plastic plastic made entirely from plants and“Companies can educate each other, emissions of a five megawatt coal- “We’ve also found a good cultural will aim to drive the development ofsupply funding, help boost a supply fired power plant. fit between organisations is crucial to common methodologies and standardschain and push the project towards its The green technology – often touted the success of any collaboration.” one of the first of its kind in the UK – tion in green technology have not for the use of plant-based plastic.”goals. as a way of cleaning up after “dirty” As well as corporate partners, the has proved to be a litmus test for not been restricted to power companies. The role of government as an “Through co-operation and the fossil fuel power plants by preventing project benefited from £6m of public only the green technology, but also This year, Eco Plastics, the Lincoln- initiator of such corporate tie-upssharing of skills, innovation and CO2 from being released into the air – funding and had the co-operation of corporate collaborations. shire-based recycling group, created a should not be overlooked,resources from the private sector captures the gas and pipes it to the Northern Way, the body set up to The project has provided valuable joint venture with Coca-Cola to Mr Gopalakrishnan points out thatacross various industries, the develop- storage deep beneath ground or sea. bridge the productivity gap between information for industry regulators, increase the pace of development in the state plays an important rolement of green technology will grow The Ferrybridge project was a the north and south of England, as such as the Environment Agency, and the UK’s recycling infrastructure. throughout each stage of the develop-faster. Any new project could then collaboration between SSE, Doosan well as the Technology Strategy SSE is considering broadening its col- In May, they opened the £15m Con- ment of green technology. He says:become a new revenue stream.” Power Systems, which builds, main- Board, the UK innovations agency. laborations into a larger scale opera- tinuum Recycling plant, which has “Government should work as a cata- But concerns over privacy, intellec- tains and extends the life of power Although bringing so many part- tion at its gas-fired power station at more than doubled the amount of bot- lyst by helping to fund new technol-tual property and the compromise of plants; and Vattenfall, the Swedish ners together could have strained the Peterhead in Aberdeenshire. tle grade recycled plastic that was ogy, then by spreading best practices,commercial viability must all be tack- energy company. scheme, the carbon capture project – The benefits of corporate collabora- previously created in the UK. then by acting as a regulator.”Stronger politicalwill is neededContinued from Page 1 A number of administra-$280bn in 2011, more than tions – including the UKfive times the $53bn total and Germany – are debat-achieved in 2004, according ing cutbacks in subsidiesto Bloomberg New Energy for renewable energy. OnFinance. the other hand, new joint Nor is innovation in this venture and technologysector limited to small com- transfer opportunities existpanies and start-ups. Clean in China, which providestech’s heavyweights include strong government supportthe world’s largest corpora- for a range of energy effi-tions, many of which are ciency and renewablemaking substantial invest- energy technologies.ments in developing tech- Some policy makers arenologies that address every- changing the way theything from energy use to spend government dollars.water conservation. Rather than trying to shape One route to doing so is the market, they are invest-to establish internal ing in clean energy incuba-research and development tors or establishing venture-centres. Yet companies are capital funds to supportalso becoming flexible in entrepreneurs with ideas.the way they promote inno- The focus of clean tech-vation. This includes using nology extends beyondweb-based crowd sourcing energy. With the world’sor open innovation to iden- water supplies increasinglytify clean tech entrepre- under pressure, findingneurs. While crowd sourc- methods of recycling anding allows companies look- conserving supplies hasing for clean tech answers risen up the agenda for pub- lic and private sectors. And with waste manage- ment a problem for allInvestment in organisations, many areclean energy looking for ways of turning waste into a resource orcontinues, rising reducing packaging.to a record In the cement industry, the potential for cement$280bn in 2011 furnaces to become inciner- ators for waste from steel plants and other facilities isto conduct searches among prompting discussions ofinnovators across the co-location of these plants –world, globalisation of clean helping cement makers cuttech extends beyond open carbon emissions and con-innovation. tribute to waste manage- For a start, as emerging ment.economies expand, they will Plenty of ideas and work-provide new markets for able models are emerging.clean tech products. Mean- Yet the question on the lipswhile, green technology of all those who believeinnovation is also shifting developing the clean techto these markets as they sector is essential to thebecome aware that rising planet’s future prosperity iswealth leads to increased how to bring about wide-resource consumption and spread use of green ideasthe potential for greater and technologies.environmental degradation. The trouble is that, with Many believe Latin Amer- some exceptions, manyica may become a leader in business models remain infinding ways to deliver the pilot stage or are lim-economic growth while ited to certain companies orprotecting natural industries.resources and establishing Without increased collab-sustainable renewable oration between public, pri-energy supplies, as Brazil vate and non-profit sectors,has by developing sugar and willingness for compa-cane ethanol as a biofuel. nies to work together on In mature markets, while environmental issues, manygovernments continue to fear that green technologyinvest in clean technology, will fail to reach the scalesome are changing tack to needed to halt or reversereflect budget constraints the environmental prob-or shifts in the market. lems it is designed to solve.Contributors »Sarah Murray Steven BirdFT Contributing Editor DesignerEd Crooks Andy MearsUS Energy Editor Picture EditorLeslie Hook For advertising details,Beijing Correspondent contact: Liam Sweeney on +44 (0) 20 7873 4148, orMark Wembridge email: firstname.lastname@example.org,UK Companies Reporter or your usual representativeJane Bird All FT Reports are availableFT Contributor on FT.com at ft.com/reportsElizabeth Durno Follow us on Twitter atDavid Scholefield twitter.com/ft.reportsRichard GibsonSub-editors Our advertisers have no influence over, or prior sightAdam Jezard of, the articles or onlineCommissioning editor material
4 ★ FINANCIAL TIMES MONDAY NOVEMBER 12 2012 Sustainable Business Green Technology Company on the track of an answer to e-waste riddle Electronics more than 60 entries sub- mitted. There is economic Three winners were selected. One used passive value in sorting out radio frequency identifica- the problem, asks tion ink, another combined electronic identification Sarah Murray with an online crowdsourc- ing platform to create a holistic picture of the com- When EMC was considering ponents and the third used how to improve its disposal labels printed with unique of electronic waste, it just encrypted codes for each so happened Kathrin Win- major component in the kler, the information tech- system. nology group’s chief sus- “The three each poten- tainability officer, was read- tially have a piece of the ing a book on iconoclasts. solution but no one com- For her, the notion of pletely solves it,” explains destroying established con- Ms Winkler. She says EMC ventions fitted perfectly is inviting the winners to with how she felt the work with it to explore how company should approach the three solutions might be the problem. combined. This was part of the rea- EMC wants to find a solu- son that EMC, based in tion to help manage not Massachusetts, decided to only its own e-waste more launch an online Eco-Chal- responsibly but that of theFresh eyes may resolve dilemmas lenge working with the entire sector. Environmental Defense For this reason, the Fund and InnoCentive, the crowdsourcing approach open innovation company. was particularly appropri- “Diversity of experience ate as an R&D tool, unlike and perspective helps gen- other developments, where erate innovation,” says Ms open innovation might risk Winkler. “And I was taken loss of intellectual property. with the idea of being able Gwen Ruta, who directs to reach out to innovatorsInnovation Business and NGOs harness the power of networking to find expert help, writes Sarah Murray in other industries.” Through the Eco-Chal- lenge, EMC wanted to find The nature of many environmentalA a system for tracking ship- s well as attending semi- running for several years – has them as “Eco-Challenges”, post them per cent are from the private sector.” ments of used electronic nars and networking allowed the company to identify a online and offer financial rewards for It is this ability to tap into the components and subsys- concerns makes events, visitors to this week’s GreenBuild expo in range of new ideas. This year the eight finalists – from the most promising solutions. Companies are not alone in looking expertise of a range of sectors and organisations that those looking for tems so that they could be disposed of responsibly. them well suited to San Francisco can watch a early stage start-ups to well-estab- to source ideas from across the world. new clean tech products and services Ms Winkler says: open innovation“speed dating” session during which lished entrepreneurs – have proposals Open innovation is moving into the find compelling about the open inno- “E-waste is a social, eco-executives from Saint-Gobain, the that include an eco-friendly resin for non-profit and development world. vation model. nomic and environmentalFrench building materials group, will building materials, self-shading smart UK-based Skipso, a global network of However, when it comes to reaching issue. It ends up in landfillchoose three winning ideas based on windows and thin-film coating equip- clean tech experts, investors and serv- as many clean tech entrepreneurs and or in the developing world, the corporate partnershipsthe strength of 10-minute pitches. ment that makes products such as ice providers, helped a Swiss non-gov- experts as possible, web-based crowd- hurting people in the infor- programme at the EDF The session – part of an approach LED lights and photovoltaics more ernmental organisation that wanted sourcing models have the greatest mal economy who extract organisation, says the non-the company calls “outovation” – is durable and cheaper to manufacture. to find a way to electrify a village in potential. “With a few key strokes, the raw materials. competitive nature of manyone of many open innovation methods Mr Kapoor, who is also director of Rwanda using renewable energy. Mr you can tap into the scientific commu- “And there’s true eco- environmental problemsbeing used to find clean tech ideas. NOVA External Venturing, a unit Kapoor says: “In just a few weeks nity around the world,” says Ms Ruta. nomic value locked up in makes them well suited to “Quite simply, a fresh set of eyes through which Saint-Gobain develops they were able to source experts from This is particularly helpful in the there, so it makes sense to open innovation.can come up with an answer,” says all over the world and select a winner, clean tech sphere. address all this together.” “And e-waste is a goodGwen Ruta, who directs the corporate an engineer from a Spanish com- Carlo Soresina is co-founder of As with any company in example,” she says. “It’s apartnerships programme at Environ- pany.” Skipso, which was set up in 2008 to the electronics sector, the problem that affects yourmental Defense Fund, the US-based ‘If you’ve got a stubborn The United States Agency for Inter- unite the fragmented community of problem EMC was grap- business but being able toenvironmental group. environmental problem national Development is looking clean tech entrepreneurs and experts. pling with lay in the com- solve it helps everyone’s Last year, EDF launched a partner- externally for ideas. Its Grand He says: “Unlike ICT [information and plexity of technology. business equally.”ship with InnoCentive, an online open you can make progress by Challenges in Global Development are communication technology], where Electronic equipment is The complexity of theinnovation company, to speed upenvironmental innovation in busi- opening it up externally’ designed to find a broad range of solu- tions to development issues, including you have a lot of innovation coming out of Silicon Valley, clean tech is made up of many compo- nents – often tiny in size – electronics supply chain means that companies likeness. Ms Ruta says: “If you’ve got a access to clean technologies. much more broadly distributed geo- making it difficult to label EMC rely on a deeply inter-stubborn environmental problem that In June, for example, USAID graphically,” or track every part. twined web of suppliers –you’ve been working on internally, partnerships with start-ups, finds it launched a challenge inviting innova- To be successful, the challenges The Eco-Challenge asked and the same applies to themaybe you can make more progress refreshing to see such ideas emerge. tors to find new ways to deliver clean need to be formulated in the right participants to come up reverse supply chain in theby opening it up externally.” He says: “When you work in a energy to smallholder farmers across way. If the problem is set too broadly, with a process or device collection and disposal of This has been Saint-Gobain’s experi- similar line of business for a long the developing world. a deluge of responses can make it that would track the pas- e-waste.ence. Rakesh Kapoor, the company’s time, you think you’ve got the world Rajiv Shah, USAID administrator, hard to identify promising solutions. sage of waste items – from Any system that can beNorth America director of research figured out. But the world is always says: “The Grand Challenges allow Yet defining it too narrowly could computers to mobile phones used across the industryand development says: “Any of us – three steps ahead and someone else the development agency to cast its net deter those who might in fact have and television sets – from will therefore generateparticularly in large companies – can looking at the same reality might look wide when searching for solutions. ideas with the potential for success. where they had been used economies of scale.become very inward looking. But a at it differently.” “Whereas a traditional aid effort And soliciting ideas from unex- to final disposal. “We’d like to see the over-breakthrough can come from any- This is what motivated EDF to form might get six to 10 proposals on a pected quarters is a key advantage of With a $10,000 prize all system change,” says Mrwhere, so we’re trying to set up sys- its partnership with InnoCentive. project idea, each of these challenges crowd-sourcing. Mr Soresina says: offered, the challenge Winkler. “In most cases atems where we’re looking to the out- Companies working with EDF and have had 600 plus incoming,” he says. “Often the best solutions come from prompted almost 800 indi- good solution isn’t going toside for technology.” The Saint- InnoCentive can identify stubborn “More than half are from the devel- experts in a completely different field viduals and companies to scale economically if it onlyGobain competition – which has been environmental problems, formulate oping world itself and more than 30 or an adjacent community.” work on the problem, with serves one company.”Carbon capture is an opportunity ripe for exploitation from coal to natural gas, ments and the industry to That is still less than the Clean coal: a carbon energy produced by anEnergy which creates roughly half push for more progress, cost of capturing carbon capture unit at abundant and underutilised the emissions per megawatt said in October that in the using many of the methods Longannet power coal resource”, with theThe processes hour of electricity, has had preceding 12 months nine available but there are station, Scotland sale of the CO2 helping towork but official some impressive effects in new projects had been widespread hopes that the Getty keep the cost down. the US but there are limits launched but eight had costs can fall. There is not enoughincentives are few, on how much progress can been cancelled. General Electric and demand from the global oilreports Ed Crooks be made. The International Energy It warned: “It is clear a very substantial increase in Sargas of Norway this year launched a joint venture to industry to provide a market for all the CO2 Agency, the watchdog new projects needs to sell gas-fired power plants produced by the world’sA few years ago there was a backed by rich countries’ occur” to keep carbon diox- that would capture 90 per power plants but environ-advertisement shown on US governments, warned this ide emissions at levels that cent of their CO2 emissions, mental groups such as thetelevision opposing controls year that a “Golden Age of would make it likely the for a cost that they hope Clean Air Task Force argueon greenhouse gases that gas”, in which abundant rise in global temperatures will be well below that $30 that by making carbon cap-ended with the words: “Car- reserves of shale gas world- could be kept within accept- per tonne. ture more commerciallybon dioxide. They call it wide are being unlocked by able limits. In the meantime, compa- attractive, enhanced oilpollution; we call it life.” advances in production The problem is not so nies are pushing with car- recovery could shave a vital The advert was derided techniques, would result in much that carbon capture bon capture projects for oil five or 10 years off the timeby environmental cam- global temperatures rising is a new technology – all recovery with the help of needed to make it an effi-paigners for its cynical by 3.5 degrees C. the elements of the process government support. cient technology.obfuscation of the reasons However, the develop- are in use today – as that it Seattle-based Summit However, there is anotherwhy anyone might be con- ment of technologies for is difficult and expensive to Power has been making approach that is potentiallycerned about CO2. Yet it carbon capture has been manage at a large scale. progress with the Texas even more interesting. Sky-pointed to what now looks plagued with delays and Without clear economic Clean Energy Project onic, another Texas-basedlike one of the most promis- setbacks. incentives, companies will (TCEP), a 400MW coal-fired company backed by ventureing approaches to address- In Britain, for example, not invest in the technology power plant to be built in capital as well as BP anding the threat of climate the government announced and, with finances strained west Texas, that will pro- ConocoPhillips, the oil com-change – seeing carbon at the end of October a in both the public and pri- duce about 3m tons of CO2 panies, is developing a tech-dioxide not as a problem to shortlist of four carbon vate sectors across the per year to be used for oil nology to capture CO2 frombe solved but as an opportu- capture projects potentially developed world, it is hard recovery. The project was industrial waste gases andnity to be exploited. eligible for £1bn of funding. for governments to provide given a $450m grant by the to mineralise it into carbon- If the world is to put long- That was more than four those incentives. US department of energy. ate and b-carbonates thatterm limits on greenhouse years after the previous As a result, the greatest Georgia-based Southern have a commercial value.gases in the atmosphere, government decided on its progress in carbon capture Company is building a coal- The process can be retro-then capturing and storing shortlist of four. Having is now being made on fired plant with carbon cap- fitted to existing plants andthe emissions from burning wanted to see commercial projects where the carbon ture at Kemper, Mississippi, requires no undergroundfossil fuels seems essential. carbon capture plants in dioxide is used for some again for use in oil recov- storage of CO2, which hasOil, gas and coal provide operation “by 2020”, the UK other purpose, most often ery. Like the TCEP, the often proved controversial.about 80 per cent of the is now talking about that enhanced oil recovery. technology involves gasifi- It is early days yet but ifworld’s energy and it is dif- goal “in the 2020s”. Since the 1970s oil compa- cation of the coal and then While the the process can be made toficult to see how they will Projects have been nies have been injecting burning the gas. Southern technology is not work on a large scale at anot continue to be indispen- shelved in the US, Canada, carbon dioxide into reser- and its partner KBR, the reasonable cost, it couldsable for decades to come. the Netherlands and several voirs to squeeze out more civil engineering contrac- new, it is difficult play an important role Managing their green-house gas emissions, how- other countries. The Global CCS Institute, crude. In Texas, they pay about $30 per tonne to get tor, are marketing the tech- nology around the world as and expensive in enabling the world to continue using fossil fuels,ever, is extremely difficult. the international think-tank it, largely from natural a way to provide “clean, to manage while avoiding the worst ofSwitching power generation that brings together govern- sources. safe, reliable and affordable their effects.