Golden opportunities for innovators

The World Gold Council (WGC) has launched a strategic initiative to develop long-term industrial markets for gold and accelerate the commercialisation of gold-based innovations.


The group plans to use ‘Innovation Partnerships’ to support companies who are developing novel and practical applications for gold. The partnerships are designed to facilitate collaboration with companies in the precious metal, chemical, electronics, materials and biomedical industries.


The WGC also said that it was increasing its early stage ventures to support and accelerate the commercialisation of emerging gold-based technologies to market.


Dr Richard Holliday, a director at WGC, said: ‘Both the Innovation Partnership programme and our increasing engagement with the early-stage venture community will help ensure that the highly promising gold-research currently emerging from university laboratories has the best possible chance of quickly reaching the market place and being commercialised.’


According to the WGC, industrial demand for gold, in the five years to 2008, was 440 tonnes per year- around 12 per cent of total demand. Most demand currently comes from the electronics industry. 


However, there are a number of emerging uses for gold in  areas including pollution control catalysts, fuel cells, functional coatings and nanotechnology.


Holliday said: ‘Although the gold price is high by historical standards, modern coating techniques and nanotechnology allows engineers and scientists to use the metal in the precise quantity required, without excess or wastage. Gold is still therefore a cost effective material in many applications.’