Global engineering group ABB is to invest £200m in renewable energy projects over the next five years in an attempt grab a $1bn (£660m) slice of the alternative energy market.
ABB chief executive Goran Lindahl said deregulation of energy markets and global efforts to cut pollution were the main driving forces behind growth of the market.
The investment will more than quadruple the $65m (£42m) ABB has already spent on renewable energy technologies
Energy expert Professor Ian Fells of Newcastle University said: `ABB is on the right lines, though we have been talking about distributed power systems and combined heat and power for some time. To bring it together in a coherent policy does seem to me to be the way ahead.’
ABB’s new technologies include improved wind power generation, fuel cell systems – to be developed in cooperation with chemicals group DuPont – and `microgrids’ using computer technology to link local power generators.
Other new products include a high-voltage, direct-current power transmission system, which will allow variable frequency power sources to be linked directly to larger power grids, and gas powered microturbines, a form of combined heat and power system.
A study by market research consultancy SRI estimates that there will be a market for 40,000 microturbine units in Europe by 2005. ABB wants to have 30%, or 50MW, of the market within 5-10 years.
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