What are the challenges for the future in the area of environmental technologies?
Germany is one of the countries with the highest recycling rates worldwide. Due to very strict regulations and high limits the emissions in the production processes are low. Less than 5 % of the household waste is intended for final disposal to landfills. The federal state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern produces more than 150 % of the energy consumed already by renewables like wind, solar and biomass. In 2014 the first commercial battery storage in Europe started its operation in the capital of Schwerin. This year the power was extended to 10 MW and the capacity to 15 MWh. Storages like this are necessary to control the production of energy by renewables, because there is a high fluctuation due to wind and sun changes. For 2024 a power plant for thermal utilization is planned in Rostock. It will convert 25.000 t of sewage sludge per year to provide heat to 5.000 households. The investment will be around 50 Mio. EUR.
So what are the challenges for the next decades and where are business cases for small and medium sized companies in the South Baltic area?
Technologies and processes are well advanced in Europe, “Made in Germany” and “Industry 4.0” are well known. Therefore it is the best time for internationalization for SME from Europe to transfer this knowledge to emerging countries now. The situation is as following in emerging countries:
• Laws and regulations in the area of waste and energy are existing
• High energy consumption of water and waste water treatment plants due to old technology
• Almost no energy and resource recovery
• 95 % of waste for final disposal, very few recycling options
• Households in rural areas have no excess to sewerage • No tariffs for households for waste management are applied
• Very few renewable energy plants
Emerging countries like Mexico and Brazil will invest a lot in infrastructure like roads, but as well in water treatment and power plants. Because it is one of the major aspects of the world’s population to generate energy and provide a stable supply. Almost no material and energy recovery is implemented in the waste management process before the final disposal. Therefore it is a great potential for knowhow and technology transfer.
Fields of cooperation:
• Water treatment plants
• Waste management technologies
• Material recovery of waste fractions
• Thermal utilization (waste to energy plants)
• Biogas plants
• Photovoltaic systems
• Automation technologies
To foster the cooperation between European companies and SMEs from emerging countries there a wide range of funding programs from the German government and the EU.