Supporting Green Innovation
Feb 17 2014
A new scheme to help innovative green technology companies get their products to market, will be launched to industry today. EU Environmental Technology Verification (ETV) is a new tool, backed by the European Commission, which gives companies working in areas like fuel cells, solar energy, energy efficient lighting, solar and wind power, the product verification they need to secure investment and market their products.
The scheme is being launched today at the Environmental Technology Verification workshop, run by the NPL Centre for Carbon Measurement with the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), WRc plc. The workshop, held at the Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation, aims to support SMEs in securing the funding and tools they need to take their product to market.
As well as presentations about the ETV scheme at the event, SMEs will have the chance to ask a panel of key stakeholders (SMEs, end users/investors, test houses, regulators) about their concerns, partake in one-on-one sessions with verification bodies and also learn about how Scottish Enterprise and HIE can support SMEs, using funds available through both organisations.
Diane Duncan, Head of Low Carbon with Highlands and Islands Enterprise commenting on the event said: "ETV represents an opportunity for SMEs to shorten the innovation life cycle and get their technology adopted and recognised much more quickly than is the current norm. In the water industry, investors have flagged that it can take 10- 15 years to get a disruptive technology into the market. This isn't good for the SME, investors, the end consumers and it doesn't do much for economic growth. ETV is a much needed initiative for the innovation space and the enterprise agencies in Scotland are keen to ensure that innovators know how to access support to help them through the process."
Lindsey Green, Senior Policy Officer for Environmental Advice and Engagement at the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), said: "As we move towards a greener, low carbon economy, it's crucial for Scotland to encourage the development of innovative technologies which will actively help businesses to meet carbon emission targets. By providing independent verification, the ETV pilot programme will provide technology manufacturers, purchasers and users with reliable information on the level of performance achievable by new technology, while supporting the development of eco-innovative technologies in the future."
Jan Reid, Senior Manager Low Carbon Technologies at Scottish Enterprise said: "We know that there is significant potential for Scottish companies in the development of low carbon and environmental technologies. However, new innovations and the ability to take these to market quickly will be key to taking full advantage of these opportunities. Initiatives such at ETV will support companies to overcome some of the barriers around this activity and help realise the significant economic potential in this field."
Jessica Cross-Brown, a research analyst at NPL's Centre for Carbon Measurement, which will act as a verification body for the scheme, said: "The problem at the moment is that many innovations with great potential are not taken up, simply because they are new and untried. Standards have not caught up with the rate of development and are too restrictive, so often new technologies can't conform to them. The key difference with ETV scheme is that manufacturers choose the performance factors that their product is tested against, and potential investors and customers get third-party verification. With proof of performance credibly, innovations can expect easier market access."
The Centre for Carbon Measurement is currently working with its first SME on the ETV scheme: Energeno, whose Optimmersion product converts unused or surplus solar energy into free hot water. Whilst Solar Thermal systems may be more efficient at heating water, the system is designed specifically to maximise the amount of auto-consumption and save the customer money on their water heating bills. Under general standards it would appear to be inefficient, which could hamper its ability to secure funding and customers, but under ETV it can get a certification relevant to its specific criteria, providing an objective verification of its viability.
Mark Elliott, Chief Operations Officer at Energeno Ltd said: "We are a small company and we are very proud of our products, both the iconic Wattson Solar Plus energy monitor and our new Optimmersion product. We see the ETV scheme as an important way of showing the benefits of our product over the competition, which would not be possible using general standards. The fact that ETV is backed by the European Commission means it is easily understood by our international customers as a mark of quality and proof that our product claims are independently verified."
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