The global market for cleantech is valued at Â£4.3 trillion, and companies in the Greater Cambridge region are at the forefront of innovation in this area. As we approach peak oil and price of energy becomes a major driver, the market will prefer the cleantech alternatives. However, in the short term these technology companies need support.
Determined that the UK shall not fail once again to exploit the commercial opportunity of its technology there are two major initiatives happening this week (Oct 20 and 21) which will be of interest to cleantech companies, investors and end users.
St Johnâ€™s Innovation Centre is showcasing 11 promising cleantech companies from the UK and France at an ECOLINK workshop on 20th October. ECOLINK creates an opportunity for companies to get profile and pitch to potential investors across the EU.
A panel discussion will investigate how best to supportÂ the development and drive market-acceptance for these technologies. Potentially this could include a simplified taxation process that stimulates R&D investment or legislative pressure that drives market demand.
The panel will include EcoTechnilin, which produces natural-fibre materials for construction and transport (Iâ€™ve seen their materials and can confirm theyâ€™re sturdy and light and absolutely impossible to bend!).
EcoTechnilin found it extremely difficult to gain finance in the UK to develop its technology, and UK manufacturers seem unwilling to alter their supply-chains to accommodate the new material. In France, however, it was a different story. Their technology was welcomed with enthusiasm, and now EcoTechnilin has a production facility in Northern France and finance their English R&D through French tax breaks.
The East of England cleantech sector already has a market value of Â£12bn, according to Hugh Parnell, who is chair of Cambridge Cleantech, a new organisation to be launched on the morning after the workshop. He estimates that in Greater Cambridge alone there are 450 cleantech companies and there is the potential to invigorate a â€˜third waveâ€™ of innovation, following the rapid progress in high-tech and biotech industries.
Companies, policy makers and potential investors can find information about the ECOLINK workshop (taking place on 20th October 14.00 â€“ 18.30) by clicking here.