Europe is currently facing some of the most extreme weather seen on the continent, with scorching temperatures, severe droughts and raging wildfires. As of 23 July, approximately 515,000 hectares of area had been burned across the EU, resulting in mass evacuations, destroyed homes and deaths. The unprecedented heatwave meant 7 out of 28 European capital cities hit 40-year highs for June, July or both.
These abnormal events are not limited only to Europe. In Iran, temperatures reached 52°C in late June, Tunisia has faced fires that have damaged crop supplies, China has experienced buckled roads and roofs melting as a result of the extraordinary heat, and America is suffering from widespread droughts and wildfires.
As we face an increasing volume of climate change related events, questions may arise regarding what can be done. Are we too late to stop the most drastic effects or can innovation help reduce the rate of warming? And if so, how is Europe supporting innovation to tackle these urgent environmental challenges?
The main incentive comes from the EIC Accelerator, which offers the opportunity to innovative companies to raise up to €17.5 million in funding to advance their game-changing technologies to reach the market. The programme has a clear objective to address these issues with dedicated “green” challenges in two consecutive work programmes. The latest “Fit for 55” challenge aims to contribute to the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030. The challenge focuses on the following topics:
- Higher clean energy conversion and use
- Decarbonisation of hard-to-abate industries
- Energy efficiency and safety in the built environment
- Zero emission mobility solutions
- Climate neutrality in the land use
- Water, gas and indoor air management/monitoring systems
- Green digital technologies
At Alien Technology Transfer, we have already helped many disruptive projects aiming to combat and mitigate against the impact of climate change to get awarded under the EIC Accelerator. Here is a showcase of some of the most ambitious projects.
In 2020, 22.1% of the gross final energy consumption in the EU was from renewable sources and while the aim is to increase this volume, securing reliable and robust energy storage solutions is fundamental in achieving higher volumes. H2GO Power has developed a novel zero-emission solid-state hydrogen storage solution. Their plug and play storage units have the potential to save over 100 megatons of CO2 annually. Another unique solution is AquaBattery, a 100% sustainable electrical storage system that stores electricity using only water and table salt. AquaBattery’s solution prevents the use of toxic materials used for conventional batteries and will facilitate the expansion of renewable energy adoption.
Vehicles have one of the largest impacts on emissions, with road transport contributing to 20% of the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions. In June 2022, the EU Parliament backed plans to effectively prohibit the sale of new petrol or diesel cars by 2035, but such a policy needs infrastructure and technology to be able to support this transition. Magment has developed a dynamic wireless charging platform for easy and efficient charging of Electric Vehicles. The innovative magnetizable concrete creates an easy to produce, recycled, cost effective solution to enable more widespread charging facilities. Increasing the battery capacity and duration for Electric Vehicles is also crucial for this switch. Addionics offers an innovative battery solution with a 50% reduction in charging time and up to 150% longer lifetime.
Talking about environmental challenges, plastic pollution in our oceans is another major problem we have yet to overcome. An estimated 4.8 to 12.7 million tonnes of plastic ends up in the ocean every year. The introduction of policies regarding single-use, throw-away plastic will contribute to the reduction of plastic waste disposal however, there are still many microplastics that go unnoticed. PlanetCare is combatting this challenge by starting at home with people’s laundry. 35% of the microfibers in the ocean originate from the washing machines and with PlanetCare’s breakthrough filter, they can prevent the equivalent of 52 plastic bags from entering the oceans per household every year.
Through the fostering of innovation, we can make significant progress towards mitigating the impact of climate change and limiting the rate of warming.
By: Isabelle Gordge, CTO
Are you an innovator mastering a technology that can have a positive impact on the environment? Contact us to explore the most suitable funding opportunities available for you.