Monday, October 29, 2007

Investment Areas To Watch In CleanTech

Trends I'm Watching has a nice summary of General Electric's (GE) Cleaner Technology R&D Investment press release.

Their investment is expected to reach $1 billion by year end they have outlined the areas of interest.
GE researchers are working on a broad array of technology initiatives that cut across GE’s business portfolio. These projects include:

* Renewable energy -- exploration of advanced concepts in wind, solar and biomass to improve the economics and availability of these clean, renewable energy sources

* Advanced gasification technologies -- for GE’s Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) System to increase plant efficiency, lower emissions and make these systems carbon capture ready

* Fuel efficiency -- research in composite materials, advanced aerodynamics, turbine alloys and advanced coatings and combustion systems to improve the fuel efficiency and overall performance of present and future generations of aircraft engines and electric power generation systems

* Hybrid systems -- research to support the development of the next generation hybrid locomotive

* Lighting -- several energy efficiency initiatives such as Organic Light Emitting Diodes (OLEDs) to reduce our energy consumption

* Water -- programs to provide more affordable, less energy-intensive solutions to water purification and re-use that enable an increase in the quantity and quality of clean water around the globe.

In addition, Harry Newton from the Technology Investor has provided a couple of his CleanTech observations.

5. There is a huge business in Europe building green buildings with devices and techniques that save energy -- from skylights to windmills, from photo voltaic arrays on rooftops to airtight building construction. But the business is driven by new laws passed by European governments which give extra-special treatment to oil replacement. For example, in France you pay approx. 7 Euro cents to buy electricity from the grid. If you pump electricity back into the grid (via windmills, photo voltaic cells, etc.) they pay you 45 Euro cents. That's a huge incentive to install this new technology (much of which is -- ironically -- coming from the States.

I5. There is a huge business in Europe retrofitting buildings to make them "green," i.e. energy efficient. One thing they do in Europe is pump new buildings full of smoke and plug the holes where the air escapes). I suspect this business will develop here as energy costs rise further, making more and more techniques economical. European findings: Green buildings get 3%-6% higher rent and a 2%-3% improvement in occupancy.

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