ESG in the technology sector: innovating to transit

Achieving the carbon neutrality objective set by the European Union will require efforts from all. While it will be necessary to review operational models and rethink supply chains, the transition also involves relying on technology and investing ambitiously in innovation at the service of a new economy.

“Innovation and new technologies are essential to the transition that we must make, comments the Dr Arno Biwer, Environmental Policies group leader at the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (List), responsible for the Betriber & Emwelt platform. New solutions, already available now or to come, should help support the transition in many sectors and areas of our daily lives. Reducing our carbon and environmental footprint or implementing a circular economy requires new approaches and innovative technical devices. Beyond the research and design of these solutions, it is also important to facilitate their adoption.”

Raise awareness and promote

It is with this in mind that the Betriber & Emwelt platform, managed by the List and financed by the Ministry of the Environment, was created. The latter, through events, training and the dissemination of content, intends, on the one hand, to raise awareness among players of their legal obligations – current and future – in terms of respect for the environment, at national and European level, and, on the other hand, to enable everyone to respond to them effectively. It also intends to promote a set of available solutions and promote new business and innovation opportunities. “It is also a place of exchange between the various public and private actors who, to achieve the objectives set, are called upon to work in close collaboration and to develop partnerships”, specifies the manager.

Many solutions are already available on the market. One of the main challenges is to allow each structure, according to its constraints, to appropriate them.

At this level, the Betriber & Emwelt team shares the same ambitions as the Solar Impulse Foundation (SIF), the initiative launched by Bertrand Piccard following his world tour in a plane powered solely by solar energy, and whose ambition was to identify 1,000 technological solutions contributing to the ecological transition, directly available and economically profitable. The target set was achieved more than a year ago and is now well exceeded. The foundation, at the start of this autumn, had labeled some 1,425 solutions.

Through its department dedicated to environmental sciences, List and its experts have notably been called upon to assess candidate solutions for the label. “The real challenge now is to put the transition into practice. If the legal framework is likely to force the actors to move in a desired direction, many other aspects must be considered. The appropriation of these technologies implies a significant effort to raise awareness, strengthen skills and change the perceptions and behaviors of consumers and businesses alike, continues the Dr Biwer. Through our platform, our desire is to contribute to these issues while promoting the label. We are also seeking to promote methodological approaches allowing players to make relevant technological choices, with a view to minimizing their environmental impact.”

8 Luxembourg solutions

Among the 1,425 labeled solutions, 8 are currently made in Luxembourg:

Clariter, by Clariter: a practical and scalable recycling process that aims to use end-of-life plastic waste as a raw material for production.

MarinePaq, by Apateq: a cost-effective solution for the treatment of wash water from the cleaning of exhaust gases from large ships.

Keiryo PET Solution, by Keyropackaging: the Keiryo PET solution is a manufacturing process that reduces the environmental footprint and the manufacturing cost of plastic bottles.

Thermal Storage Tank, by Cebi: This is a heat storage device placed on the existing windshield washer reservoir of electric vehicles.

Plasma Assisted Gasification, by Boson Energy: an energy recovery technology that transforms non-recyclable waste into hydrogen.

Sustainability Management Platform, by Waves: the solution offers comprehensive analyzes allowing companies to embark on the path to a more sustainable economy.

ORCA (Optical and RF Constellations on Aircraft), by SkyfloX: transforms fleets of airliners, equipped with sensors, into an Earth observation data services platform.

MolecularGrip, by Molecular Plasma Group: a solvent-free surface functionalization technology that reduces the need for hazardous chemicals.

The latest company to obtain the label, last August, is Molecular Plasma Group (MPG), for its technology called “MolecularGrip”. “It’s a solvent-free surface functionalization technology,” says Dr.r Biwer. “It allows various surfaces to be treated with nanocoating technology, to create, for example, textiles and air filters with antiviral and antibacterial properties, with a reduced need for hazardous chemicals.”

Another example, the manufacturer of electromechanical components Cebi received the label for a heat storage device placed on the existing windshield washer reservoir of electric vehicles. The technology uses the thermal mass of the windshield washer reservoir to store heat produced during vehicle operation. This is released when the vehicle is restarted from cold, in addition to the auxiliary electric heating. It heats the passenger compartment instead of using the battery and helps extend the range and life of the battery.

This article was written for the sustainability supplement of the edition of Paperjam of the month of November 2022 published on October 26, 2022. The content of the magazine is produced exclusively for the magazine. It is posted on the site to contribute to the complete Paperjam archive.

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