The existing $5.5 trillion market for low carbon technologies and products is just the tip of the iceberg, following the historic, universal and legally binding global climate deal.
So says Bertrand van Ee, CEO of Climate-KIC, the EU’s main climate innovation initiative, after the COP21 agreement in Paris on a global action plan to put the world on track to avoid dangerous climate change, by limiting global warming to well below 2°C.
He singled out a hydro-powered irrigation pump that can double crop yields in developing countries, without using any fuel or electricity, as one of the range of low carbon innovations to emerge from Climate-KIC.
The Barsha Pump, developed by the aQysta company in the Netherlands, transforms an ancient principle into a technology that can be mass-produced to help people around the world increase food security while sparing the environment.
It is a low-cost solution for small and medium sized farmers to irrigate their fields, which is easily implemented wherever where there is flowing water nearby, and requires very little maintenance.
By doubling yields, it can pay back for itself within 18 months.
The pump has few moving parts, thus it requires only minimal maintenance.
Compared to existing diesel or perol powered pumps, Barsha pumps can save up to 70% costs over their life time.
A surge in this kind of low carbon technology is expected after the Paris Agreement sent a clear signal to investors, businesses, and policy-makers that the global transition to clean energy is here to stay, and resources have to shift away from polluting fossil fuels.
Another Climate-KIC assisted low carbon breakthrough is the carbon negative power technology, Cogent Heat Energy Storage Systems (CHESS).
Developed in 2013 in the UK, CHESS integrates three existing technologies already routinely used, and combines them to generate electricity from fossil fuels whilst, at the same time, reducing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
CHESS uses natural gas to generate electricity in a way that takes carbon dioxide out of the air.
At the end of the process, there is less carbon dioxide in the air than there was at the beginning.
The more gas used, the cleaner the air.
This essentially means that rather than being a part of the climate change problem, burning natural gas becomes a part of the solution.
It works by putting natural gas into a fuel cell, which generates electricity and heat.
The generated heat is then used to break down limestone into lime and carbon dioxide.
All of the carbon dioxide generated from the fuel cell and the broken down limestone is pure and can be sequestered cheaply and easily, and the lime that is left at the end of the process absorbs the carbon in the atmosphere.
This can potentially start to turn the clock back on the effects of climate change.
Climate-KIC is one of three Knowledge and Innovation Communities created in 2010 by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology as part of its goal to create sustainable growth.
According to experts at Climate-KIC, most European business leaders have prepared strategies to respond to climate change, but with a lack of focus on innovation.
As a result, those strategies are likely to be ineffective for a 2°C trajectory — an oversight which could yet present even greater opportunity for climate change innovators.
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