European partnership targets new low-carbon technologies

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A pan-European partnership designed to stimulate growth in Europe’s clean-tech sector has been launched by GE and the Carbon Trust.

Open to all European businesses, the initial 18-month phase of the partnership includes a $5m (£3.1m) business incubation fund targeted at low-carbon infrastructure technologies.  

Mark Maguire, corporate communications director of GE UK, told The Engineer that the funding is being provided by GE — adding that the outlay is part of the wider $200m (£125.5m) investment launched during 2010’s ‘ecomagination’ challenge that seeks to fund promising clean-tech technology.

‘Initially GE and the Carbon Trust will be seeking interesting start-ups that have real potential, rather than soliciting applications,’ said Maguire. ‘The Carbon Trust will assess start-ups to identify those with real growth potential, which will be short-listed and contacted.’

Maguire said eligible businesses will need to be developing technologies that improve the efficiency or utilisation of natural resources across the entire lifecycle, particularly around energy and efficient utilisation of energy in infrastructure.

‘Examples include smart grids, lighting systems, heating of buildings and ventilation technologies,’ he said.

Maguire added that the partnership is directly in line with the Carbon Trust’s aim of accelerating a low-carbon economy.

‘From a GE point of view, it’s about identifying quality start-up clean-tech businesses that can be invested in, leading to commercialisation of their products,’ he said.

The partnership has been launched amid concerns that Europe is falling behind other territories in clean-tech investment.

The Carbon Trust says that a recent Bloomberg New Energy Finance report shows that in 2007, 42 per cent of the world’s clean-energy investment took place in Europe compared to 25 per cent today. During the same period, Asia Oceania has almost doubled its share of overall investment.

In a statement, Tom Delay, chief executive of the Carbon Trust, said: ‘Clean-tech has the capacity to be a strong growth driver for Europe given its strong research capability and track record in this area.

‘However, there is increasing evidence that other parts of the world are catching up and overtaking the region.

‘This exciting initiative will accelerate the commercialisation of Europe’s more promising clean-tech businesses.’