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Synthetic biology has ‘vast potential’ across industries

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

The emerging field of synthetic biology will unlock several new realms of innovation, ranging from environmentally friendly luxury materials to novel cancer therapeutics and even using DNA as a new form of data storage. Not only that, synthetic biology potentially provides advanced solutions to global challenges such as food insecurity, climate change, and plastic pollution.

That’s according to GlobalData research, which explains that synthetic biology, commonly abbreviated to synbio, involves changing the genetic material of existing biological systems by copying, cutting, or moving segments of DNA to give them new functions and characteristics.

GlobalData’s latest report, “Synthetic Biology,” highlights numerous industries, including agriculture, consumer, energy, food, healthcare, industrial materials, mining, packaging, and technology, that will be impacted.

Isabel Al-Dhahir, Senior Analyst in the Thematic Intelligence team at GlobalData, said: “The possibilities of synthetic biology are boundless. Pushed forward by the growing demand for sustainable materials, environmental remediation, and innovative therapies, synthetic biology could transform numerous industries. Growing enthusiasm saw venture capital investment into synthetic biology surpass $1 billion in 2023, a more than tenfold increase since 2016.”

Al-Dhahir continued: “Synthetic alternatives to meat, precious metals, natural fibers, fuel, and medicines, among others, continue to be developed. The environmental benefits of such innovations are often the focus, but these developments will also facilitate the next stage of supply chain management.”

Advancements in synthetic biology could enable lean supply chain management, decrease reliance on imports, and further support reshoring efforts. Accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic and sustained by the US-China trade wars, supply chain shifts are already visible as countries and corporations try to protect themselves against further disruption.

Al-Dhahir concluded: “Synthetic biology is a very young and promising field with enormous potential. However, the market has struggled to find a firm footing. Mixed public perception towards genetically modified consumer products and unclear regulations poses a significant barrier. Additionally, the field is largely dominated by startups that do not have sufficient capital to scale their production. In healthcare and technology, however, there is increased mobilization in this market by the likes of Janssen, Novartis, and Microsoft.”

Photo by Warren Umoh on Unsplash

Carbon emissions reduction ‘requires rigorous compliance’ to net zero strategies

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

The carbon-intensive oil and gas industry is undergoing massive disruption with more countries and companies trying to implement net zero emissions by 2050 – but tackling emissions and supporting low-carbon industries will require a combination of well-designed regulation and increased investment in decarbonisation.

That’s according to GlobalData, which cites that greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions generated by oil and gas operations—also known as Scope 1 & 2 emissions—were reportedly accounted for 15% of the total energy-related emissions worldwide in 2022.

A further 40% of the energy-related emissions came from the use of oil and gas for power generation, heating, vehicle fuel, and industrial processes, also known as Scope 3 emissions. Against this backdrop, developed countries are aiming for net zero by 2050 while developing countries like China and India are aiming for 2060 and 2070, respectively.

GlobalData’s thematic report, “Net Zero Strategies in Oil & Gas,” provides an overview of the efforts to mitigate emissions from the oil and gas industry. It benchmarks leading companies, such as  BP, Equinor, ExxonMobil, TotalEnergies, and Shell, based on their emissions and net zero commitments.

Ravindra Puranik, Oil and Gas Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “Oil and gas companies are currently working to reduce scope 1 and 2 emissions, generated by their operations. Several leading companies have set themselves the target to reach operational net zero emissions by 2050. To achieve this, companies are focusing on adopting new technologies, such as low-carbon hydrogen, carbon capture and storage; and making other operational changes like building renewable energy and biofuels capacities.”


The 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) conference had called upon the participating countries to develop long-term net zero strategies. The COP27 summit of 2022 encouraged countries to consider nature-based solutions. The upcoming COP28 summits hopes to make grounds to fast-track energy transition and significantly reduce emissions before 2030.

Barbara Monterrubio, Energy Transition Managing Analyst at GlobalData, said: “To support global commitments towards climate change, countries and regulatory bodies have started introducing emissions trading systems or enhancing existing ones. This is pushing companies to strengthen internal targets and diversify their portfolios into clean and sustainable products and technologies. Even when the mitigation strategies approached by each company are different, they all converge on reducing emissions intensity and cutting operational emissions, reduce and stop flaring and include renewable technologies.”

Most net zero targets set by oil and gas companies cover Scope 1 and 2 emissions. To reduce Scope 3 emissions, oil and gas companies are switching their products to lower-carbon sources of energy including hydrogen, LNG, biofuels, and renewables.

Monterrubio concluded: “Even when a fast progress is being made in tackling upstream and downstream emissions, switching to low carbon products is a long-term process, with many oil and gas majors in the early stages of their energy transition strategy. A combination of well-designed regulations as well as huge investments are needed to tackle emissions and support low-carbon industry.”

Photo by Sugarman Joe on Unsplash

Energy crisis putting business Net Zero goals at risk

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

82% of UK business leaders say the energy crisis will impact their organisation’s ability to meet emissions reduction plans – Of that figure, around half of organisations say they are delaying planned investment in sustainability and net zero plans (49%). Just over one third of the same organisations (34%) say they now have more immediate business challenges to meet. More than a quarter of these organisations claim that taking practical action to meet targets is difficult (27%).

That’s according to research published by Schneider Electric, which says that given the direct link between lower energy use and decreased emissions, organisations that maintain efforts to meet their emissions targets will also reduce energy use as a result. This in turn will lower their overall energy costs, and provide a useful boost to the bottom line in a challenging economic climate.

Crucially, the survey of more than 1,200 large organisations reveals that business leaders still recognise the importance of working to emissions reduction targets, as 39% believe that climate change and net zero ambitions will become more of a priority over the next three years. Only a small minority (12%) believe that national net zero commitments will be diluted in that time.

“Business leaders tell us that the energy crisis should be seen alongside the many other challenges they have faced over the last twelve months, including economic pressures, cyber security and skills shortages. Yet our research suggests that some of the UK and Ireland’s largest organisations are ‘kicking the carbon emissions can down the road’, as a result of the energy crisis”, said Kelly Becker, Zone President, Schneider Electric UK and Ireland.

“As fears grow about progress against global commitments made under the Paris Agreement, and the UK’s Climate Change Committee warns of a lack of progress on emissions cuts, the UK and Ireland need businesses and organisations in the public sector to play their part and stick to their net zero and emissions reduction targets”, said Kelly Becker.

The survey also reveals that only around one in five (21%) of those surveyed believe that energy prices will fall over the next three years, while over two thirds (69%) think their organisation will still be addressing the energy crisis in 12 months’ time.

Becker also urged business leaders to re-engage with their emissions reduction ambitions: “It’s not all doom and gloom: as our research shows, business leaders still believe in their climate change ambitions – they simply need to push the subject back up the corporate agenda.

“The technology required to help businesses decarbonise is already available – and the return on investment for these solutions has never been more attractive, with payback periods measured in months rather than years. Organisations still have time to meet their net zero commitments by understanding and addressing energy use, investing in renewable energy and energy saving technology, and embedding sustainability and carbon reduction targets in their business plans,” she added.

“What’s more, those that invest in green skills and green jobs will reap the rewards of a diverse workforce for decades to come. At Schneider, we’ve seen this for ourselves through our apprenticeship and graduate programmes.”

High-voltage switchgear demand to reach $30.3 billion

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

The global high-voltage (HV) switchgear market is forecast to reach $30.34 billion in 2027 from $25.02 billion in 2022, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.54% between 2023 and 2027.

GlobalData’s latest report, “Switchgears for Power Transmission, Market Size, Share and Trends Analysis by Technology, Installed Capacity, Generation, Key Players and Forecast, 2022–2027,” reveals that in 2022, the Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) region held the largest share of the market for HV switchgears globally, with a share of 44.60%. The region’s market share is expected to increase to 48.24%, in 2027, higher than the growth expected in all other regions.

Bhavana Sri Pullagura, Senior Power Analyst at GlobalData, said: “The growing demand for electricity is giving rise to the need for new power plants, particularly those modes of generation that have minimal impact on the environment. Several countries have begun to address deployment barriers to create a conducive market for increasing the use of renewable energy technologies and gas-based generation. The falling capital cost and low gas prices also resulted in increased development of renewables and gas power plants. This contributed to the growth of the switchgear market, which is expected to continue as countries seek to increase the share of renewables and gas in their generation mix.”

According to GlobalData’s 2023 Switchgears Market Report, the HV switchgear market in the EMEA region was estimated to be $11.16 billion in 2022 and is projected to reach $14.63 billion, registering a CAGR of 5.03% over 2023-27. The economic boom in countries in the Middle East led to an increase in demand for power, contributing to the growth of the market.

In 2022, Asia-Pacific’s market value stood at $10.77 billion, accounting for a share of 43.05% in the global HV switchgear market. The HV switchgear market in the Americas is expected to reach $3.11 billion by 2027, as the grid requires upgrades to replace aging assets and to accommodate the increasing sources of renewable energy.

China, one of the fastest-growing economies with the largest fleet of transmission substations, topped the global HV switchgear market in 2022 with a value of $7.73 billion, accounting for a 30.90% share. The country is expected to continue its leadership during the forecast period, reaching $9.19 billion in 2027.

Bhavana Sri added: “The need to build transmission infrastructure to deliver power from renewable sources in remote regions, the increasing domestic demand for electricity, large-scale renewable energy deployment, the projected growth in the gross domestic product, and rural electrification initiatives are some of the major factors aiding the growth of its HV switchgear market in China. The country is the world leader in ultra-high-voltage transmission, having made considerable investments in the development of transmission systems of voltage level of 765 kilovolts (kV) and above.”

The other major countries in the Asia-Pacific gas-insulated switchgear market include India and Japan. India ranks third after China and the US in the global HV switchgear market, with a value of $1.15 billion in 2022 and a share of 4.60%.

Bhavana Sri concluded: “GlobalData believes that policies established to address environmental challenges and capitalize on market opportunities offered by technologies would notably impact the switchgear market by the end of the forecast period.”

Corporate sustainability generating new business, not just carbon savings

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

Sustainability is not just about compliance and added costs – it can enable long-term value creation for companies, and in many cases, sustainability efforts can help save costs on materials, electricity, and water consumption.

That’s according to the latest Sustainability Assessment: Large Industrial Solution Providers report from ABI Research, which asserts that companies that are solving climate challenges for customers are enhancing and marketing current sustainability-focused solutions, while also generating new business units and revenue opportunities from decarbonisation activities.

The research provides an ‘in-depth and unbiased’ examination of 10 of the world’s largest industrial manufacturing conglomerates leading the way toward sustainable manufacturing operations while reducing carbon emissions for their customers.

In the assessment, ABI Research establishes the sustainability positioning of each profiled company—leaders, mainstream, and followers— and provides company-wide best practices and external customer use cases for reducing carbon emissions, water use, and waste across multiple industries.

Kim Johnson, Sustainable Technologies Principal Analyst, said: “Our assessment highlights that all the conglomerates in the index are building businesses to decarbonise society. However, several have communicated ambitions to be global climate change leaders. They also do very well financially, even in a tumultuous market environment.”

Schneider Electric is a sustainability and energy management-focused company, targeting carbon neutrality within its own operations by 2025. In 2022, with sustainability at the core of its business, Schneider Electric had all-time high revenues and net income, despite global inflationary pressures; their energy management unit is up 13%, and industrial automation is up 10%. Siemens ranked second in the index in industrial digital automation and green buildings and vehicles while receiving solid scores for renewable energy use. In 2022, Siemens had record profits, with their digital business up roughly 15% and the industrial business up 17%.

ABB was also a leading technology implementer for industrial automation and robotics with year-over-year revenue increases in 2022, while Bosch, which has already achieved carbon neutrality for Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions (in 2020), had strong sales in 2021 and 2022 with climate response driving sustainable product development.

In 2022, Bosch’s corporate leadership stated that “climate action is driving the business forward” in mobility solutions, industrial automation, and building technology and appliances. Hitachi has also made significant investments in recent years for decarbonization, purchasing ABB’s energy and power grids business for expanding renewable energy, producing electric vehicle (EV) systems and infrastructure, and improving its Lumada solutions for industrial digitalisation.

For sustainability-focused efforts and revenue opportunities in the near term, ABI Research highlights increases in both industrial Information Technology (IT) investments, such as 5G connectivity, Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and edge compute, cloud infrastructure and mobile applications, and Operational Technology (OT) investments, including digital platforms to conserve energy, promote greener buildings, enhance automation, and improve factory efficiencies.

For manufacturers, many of these IT and OT investments can help address the effects of inflation, skilled labor shortages, and supply chain constraints while also addressing climate change by enabling the reduction of energy consumption, water use, and waste.

In the future, ABI Research expects these industrial conglomerates to invest even further in a multitude of newer, wider-ranging sustainable technologies, such as bio-based fuels, lower-carbon materials, lower Global Warming Potential (GWP) materials, power grid innovation, energy storage, and hydrogen power.

For example, Honeywell already has more than 60% of product sales comprised of solutions that contribute to ESG-related outcomes, including bio-sourced materials, bio-derived plastics, hydrogen power, renewable power, energy storage, fleet electrification, sustainable aviation fuel, methane emissions monitoring and remediation, healthy buildings solutions, and more.

Moreover, the assessment found that large renewable energy units from Siemens, Hitachi, and General Electric are all working toward thoughtful, globally coordinated mineral sourcing and production schedules to meet future demand for renewable technologies and the increased transmission lines required for distributed energy networks.

“In learning more about these conglomerates and conducting the analysis for the assessment, we expected to find typical carbon reduction activities occurring within the companies, such as sourcing renewable electricity, improving the energy efficiency of operations, and addressing unabated emissions with carbon offsets. What surprised us was the depth and breadth of new decarbonization business units, products, software solutions, and consulting services, each directed at solving climate-related issues for customers. These solutions ranged from national-level mobility and infrastructure projects to greener chemicals used in consumer goods. These companies are all investing in a lower carbon future,” Johnson concludes.

Importance of data collection and reporting highlighted in sustainability research

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

ABI Research’s latest Sustainability Assessment has analysed the sustainability activities of 10 of the world’s largest industrial manufacturing conglomerates, highlighting the importance of Scope 3 activities – particularly the robustness of data collection and reporting tools – for achieving industrial firm sustainability objectives.

The Greenhouse Gas Protocol defines Scope 3 emissions as all value chain emissions resulting from activities and assets not owned or controlled by the reporting organization. There are 15 Scope 3 categories, although some may not apply to all companies.

According to the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), Scope 3 emissions typically account for over 75% of total emissions, with the share often being over 90% for companies in the industrial sector. For Schneider Electric, Siemens, ABB, and Bosch, who were classified as “sustainability leaders”, Scope 3 emissions are over 99% of total emissions.

Alex McQueen, Sustainable Technologies Research Analyst, explained: “Large industrials face many challenges in measuring and reducing Scope 3 emissions, as the process encompasses a wide range of activities from suppliers, consumers, and distributors. Measuring Scope 3 emissions requires dedicated resources, expertise, and specific data collection and management processes.” Large industrial companies may also find it challenging to obtain data from lower-tier suppliers that may not track their CO2 emissions. Additionally, there is no standardized methodology for Scope 3 emissions calculations and disclosures, creating difficulty in assessing the activities of a broad set of suppliers, each using different data collection and reporting methods.

As regulation regarding the disclosure of environmental data becomes more prevalent, companies should prepare by establishing a robust framework for measuring and managing emissions data. As a starting point, industrials with a high proportion of Scope 3 emissions should look to identify all relevant Scope 3 emission categories. After that, supplier engagement is vital, and industrial firms should seek support from third-party organizations, such as CDP Supply Chain and EcoVadis, in requesting and managing supplier emissions data. Companies may also tie requirements to provide environmental data into supplier contracts and set targets for reducing supply chain emissions.

“Investing in digital tools helps automate the collection, monitoring, and reporting of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) data, and they can also improve value chain collaboration. Since Scope 3 emissions calculations require the tracking of vast amounts of data, leveraging digital solutions is crucial for effective emissions management and reporting,” concluded McQueen.

Aston University awarded grant to make research more sustainable

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

An Aston University scientist has won a $25000 grant in the AstraZeneca Open Innovation CoSolve sustainability challenge to help to make research more sustainable and environmentally friendly

Dr Vesna Najdanovic, senior lecturer in chemical engineering at the University’s Energy and Bioproducts Research Institute (EBRI), successfully pitched her idea to explore a new method using ethyl lactate as a solvent.

Ethyl lactate is a biorenewable and environmentally friendly alternative solvent produced from lactic acid and ethanol, both obtained by fermentation of biomass. Currently hazardous organic solvents such as acetonitrile are widely used instead.

Dr Najdanovic won the AstraZeneca’s Open Innovation CoSolve Sustainability Challenge at the European laboratory research & innovation group (ELRIG) Research and Innovation meeting.

She said: “Throughout my research career, I have been working with various green solvents, such as supercritical fluids, ionic liquids and biosolvents, to improve chemical and separation processes.

“I am delighted to be selected by the expert judging panel and the highly engaged audience to apply my knowledge to develop greener analytical methods using ethyl lactate as a solvent for liquid chromatography.

“I hope this project will pave the pathway to use this environmentally friendly alternative solvent while reducing carbon footprint and pollution”.

The pharmaceutical industry generates the highest amount of waste per mass of products compared to other chemical industry sectors, such as the petroleum industry, bulk and fine chemicals.

Dr Kelly Gray, CoSolve sustainability programme lead at AstraZeneca, said: “In order to protect people, society and planet we have to identify and develop solutions to deliver sustainable science. The goal of the CoSolve sustainability programme was to do just that and identify innovative ideas to practical challenges faced by researchers across scientific disciplines in R&D.”

Sanj Kumar, CEO of ELRIG, said: “Ensuring that drug discovery processes become sustainable is a priority issue to the ELRIG community, so partnering with AstraZeneca on the CoSolve initiative, by hosting the pitching and final award ceremony, is not only an honour, but raises the awareness of sustainability to our community. Dr Najdanovic and her innovation are a worthy winner and ELRIG is proud that we are able to share her success story.”

As much as 80% of this waste presents hazardous organic solvents obtained from petrochemical sources.

For example, the pharmaceutical industry consumes 50% of globally produced acetonitrile, of which 20% is a solvent for liquid chromatography, a widely used analytical tool in research and development laboratories.

After its use, most acetonitrile is discarded as chemical waste and subsequently incinerated, generating greenhouse gases and other pollutants such as nitrogen oxides and highly toxic hydrogen cyanide.

The CoSolve sustainability challenge award builds on Dr Najdanovic’s previous work employing ethyl lactate as a solvent for various separation processes. Her new project supports EBRI’s wider objectives of using bioproducts to deliver low-carbon and environmentally sustainable solutions.

EU Hydrogen Bank could bring renewable hydrogen costs below 1 euro/kg

960 640 Guest Post

By Jake Stones, ICIS

ICIS data shows that renewable hydrogen could be sold for below €1/kg if a producer obtains the maximum support provided by the European Hydrogen Bank, according to the heads of terms for the bank published by the European Commission on 31 March.

The bank, which was announced in September 2022, aims to support hydrogen producers using an auction bidding system, which ranks bidders according to price per kilo of hydrogen.

Utilising the Innovation Fund, the commission will allocate €800m for the first auction for support from the bank, with subsidies capped at €4/kg of hydrogen. The hydrogen has to be aligned with the delegated act for renewable fuels of non-biological origin (RFNBO), also known as renewable hydrogen, and projects must reach full capacity within three-and-a-half years of being awarded funding. Funding is granted once hydrogen production starts.

Successful bidders will then be granted a fixed sum according to the volume bid, over the course of ten years. Bidders cannot win more than 33% of the available budget, and must have a project size of at least 5MW.


ICIS assessment data from 4 April shows that renewable hydrogen produced using a 10-year renewable power purchase agreement (PPA) starting in 2026 in the Netherlands would cost €4.58/kg on a project breakeven basis. For 10-year PPA renewable hydrogen, ICIS accounts for the recovery of the capital investment for the electrolyser over the duration of the PPA, meaning by the end of the subsidised period, costs would be recovered.

Given a hydrogen producer could receive the full subsidy of €4/kg, this would mean just €0.58/kg of hydrogen would be needed to achieve capital cost recovery, meaning the producer would need to charge buyers less than €1/kg to ensure project breakeven.

Comparatively, renewable hydrogen production in Germany commencing in 2026 and utilising offshore was assessed at €5.96/kg on 4 April, meaning post-subsidy hydrogen would be just under €2/kg.

However, given the competitive nature of the bid, namely that ordering is a result of lowest-bid first, there is potential that the full subsidy will not be awarded.

Further, the auction limit depends on volume and bid amount, meaning once the €800m is allocated, there will be no further subsidy for this round.

ICIS data shows that European hydrogen demand by 2030 is forecast to reach 10.3 million tonnes (mt) by 2030. If full subsidy was distributed to all bidders, it would cover just 200,000 tonnes of renewable hydrogen, just under 2% of projected demand by the end of the decade.

The commission is aiming to hold further auctions however, meaning that the €800m is an initial starting point, not the limit, for the European Hydrogen Bank.


Alongside the development of hydrogen support and therefore expansion of hydrogen supply, the bank mechanism indicated the benefit of the auction system for driving competition. By awarding hydrogen to the lowest bidder, and by maintaining an auction limit of €800m, participants are encouraged to reduce costs of production where possible.

The heads of terms document for the European Hydrogen Bank notes that a fixed premium, namely a single subsidy figure provided over the course of 10 years for every unit of hydrogen produced, was opted for due to the absence of price transparency in the current hydrogen market.

By utilising a fixed premium, there is no need for a market reference price, the document outlined.

During the pilot for the European Hydrogen Bank, just renewable hydrogen is being targeted. However, low-carbon hydrogen could be included in future iterations.

On the basis of price discovery, the heads of terms noted that the auction type was referring to as “static”, meaning bidders bid a single price that is not changed. The alternative was 

noted as “dynamic” whereby bidders could receive some information on the activity of other auction participants, providing a component of price discovery.

The first auction will be held in autumn of 2023.

Carbon management adoption increasing as part of corporate sustainable development goals

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

As the urgency to combat global warming intensifies, enterprises are increasingly adopting rapid decarbonisation practices to align their business strategies with sustainable development goals (SDGs).

With a focus on addressing the dual crises of climate change and the ongoing destruction of natural ecosystems, businesses are at the forefront of sustainability efforts and are highly interested in investing in carbon management technologies to systematically reduce their CO2 emissions, says GlobalData.

Kiran Raj, Practice Head of Disruptive Tech at GlobalData, said: “From green financing and green buildings to green IT, investments in clean technology are on the rise, defying the considerable geopolitical and macroeconomic headwinds that affected most capital markets. The fast-paced adoption of carbon management technologies will continue in 2023 and beyond as governments, corporations, and investors increasingly collaborate to make the low-carbon future a reality.”

Shagun Sachdeva, Project Manager of Disruptive Tech at GlobalData, added: “Across the broad spectrum of carbon management solutions from new materials, clear sustainability disclosure standards, improved carbon capture techniques to more adaptive supply chains, companies are constantly innovating to stay ahead of the curve. The key for the companies will be to evaluate their strategies in light of growth and return projection and strike a balance between capability and profitability.

GlobalData’s Innovation Radar report, “Green business: How carbon management technologies help reduce CO2 emissions,” highlights how the real-world innovations in carbon management across industries can allow companies to either draw analogies with existing products, services, and processes or transfer strategic approaches for a revolutionary transformation.


Sachdeva added: “While there has been a slow yet steady rise in carbon management concepts such as carbon assessment, reduction, recycling, trading, and green fuels in the last few years, new innovations in use cases such as carbon capture & sequestration and green IT will take carbon management ecosystem to the next level.”

Carbon capture & sequestration

Carbon capture & sequestration will play a promising role in the energy transition, especially in heavy industries like power, steel, cement and oil and gas. It refers to the suit of technologies used for capturing CO2 produced during industrial processes. In June 2022, Italy-based startup Energy Dome developed a CO2 battery for long-duration energy storage. Energy Dome claims that the battery uses CO2 to store renewable energy on the grid and can be deployed anywhere. In March 2022, Danish green-tech startup Algiecel developed a photobioreactor based on a mobile container using algae to absorb CO2 emissions from industrial processes.

Green IT

Green IT or green computing covers information and communications technology (ICT) and computing technologies with lower carbon footprints. This starts with manufacturers manufacturing sustainable products to IT departments switching to more environmentally friendly options like virtualization, power management and proper recycling habits. In February 2023, a Taiwan-based manufacturer and distributor of computer hardware, Gigabyte, introduced next-generation servers with an aim to reduce carbon emissions with its green computing solutions. In January 2023, California-based Data Center-as-a-Service provider ECL launched a modular, environmentally friendly, off-grid data center that uses green hydrogen as its main power source.

Sachdeva concluded: “Despite a strong push towards carbon management solutions, the industrial application of carbon management technologies is still in its infancy and will take significant time to scale up. No major industries currently operate in an entirely circular way. Infrastructure implementation, cost control and standard as well as lack of efficient reporting frameworks being the key challenges at present, it will be interesting to watch how companies will strategically place their bets and meet their M&A targets that not only capture the climate-focused tailwinds but also keep them insulated from the macroeconomic headwinds.”

Research urges more use of excess heat for energy

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

New data from Danish engineering group Danfoss has highlighted the vast untapped potential of excess heat as a source of energy.

In the EU alone, excess heat amounts to 2,860 TWh/y, corresponding almost to the EU’s total energy demand for heat and hot water in residential and service sector buildings such as schools, hospitals, hotels, restaurants, offices and shopping centers.

A full implementation of technologies that tap into synergies between different sectors and enable a utilization of excess heat has the potential to save EUR 67.4 bn a year once fully implemented in 2050.

Every time an engine runs, it generates heat. Anyone who has felt the warmth behind their fridge can confirm this. The same is true on a larger scale in supermarkets, data centers, factories, wastewater facilities, metro stations and commercial buildings. Excess heat can be reused to supply a factory with heat and warm water or reused by neighboring homes and industries through a district energy system.

Using this energy that would otherwise go to waste can give a productivity boost to the economy and lower energy prices for consumers, says the whitepaper.

Utilizing excess heat can replace significant amounts of fossil fuels that are otherwise needed to produce heat. Used this way, excess heat can help stabilize the future electricity grid and thereby ease the transition to a green energy system.

In some countries the excess heat can even match the entire heat demand. In the Netherlands, excess heat amounts to 156 TWh/y while the heat demand is only 152 TWh/y.

Yet the potential of excess heat is not even close to being utilised and is politically ignored, asserts the whitepaper.

According to Kim Fausing, President & CEO of Danfoss, recycling heat is not only an overlooked measure in the current energy crisis, but also the next frontier of the green transition: “Energy demand is set to grow dramatically in the years to come due to population growth and rising incomes. Without urgent action to tackle the demand side of the green equation, using every single unit of energy more efficiently, we will not get on track to meet global climate goals,” Kim Fausing adds.

The whitepaper, titled ‘The world’s largest untapped energy source: Excess heat’ assesses the potential of excess heat as an efficient energy source. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), a global push for more efficient use of energy can reduce CO2 emissions by an additional 5 gigatons per year by 2030 compared with current policy settings. A third of the reduction needed in energy-related CO2 emissions this decade according to the IEA net zero scenario must come from improvements in energy efficiency.

In terms of energy security, these energy savings can help avoid almost 30 million barrels of oil per day and 650 billion cubic meters (bcm) of natural gas per year (around four times what the EU imported from Russia in 2021).

“The potential in reusing excess heat is staggering. But we need to change our perspective on it and begin to consider excess heat as an energy resource instead of waste to be disposed of,” adds Kim Fausing.

“Today there are a number of barriers that prevent us from reusing excess heat including lack of information and regulation. We have to introduce economic incentives, policy measures and prioritization of partnerships between local authorities, energy suppliers and energy sources to help maximize the full potential of excess heat.”

Toby Morgan, Senior Manager, Built Environment, Climate Group, said: “The global energy crisis is a wakeup call to stop wasting energy, and Danfoss is right to call for governments and corporates to seize the enormous potential of excess heat. Now more than ever we need to make better use of the energy we already produce, we simply can’t afford to let it literally escape out the window. Energy efficiency improvements, like capturing and recycling excess heat, are absolutely critical to lower fossil fuel demand and lower bills.”