Last month, as China rejected provisions in a draft multilateral agreement at the Lima, Peru climate conference, that directly contradicted an earlier bilateral agreement between the USA and China, Chris Horner, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute commented on China's inconsistency, "unless their spin is the Chinese will allow inspection of the (USA and) Beijing deal but not a multilateral deal."
Horner's remark captured the sentiment that many felt about China's inconsistent position on the environment. That the Chinese are taking a wait and see approach while appeasing the USA in the process. Some pundits believe China doesn't want to be burdened by expensive environmental concerns which may impact their economic growth.
For many developing countries, the issue of climate change has been a failure of economic ROI and political will. If only, their leaders say, there were technologies that helped the environment while providing businesses with a real return on environmental investment. Most businesses are operating on thin margins, so adding costly environmental regulations may place a lot of them in the red financially. And that's not sustainable.
But today there are emerging companies that not only help the environment but provide companies and governments a real ROI. I've identified three companies that are bridging the gap between the human need to live in a healthier environment while providing the economic incentives to do so.
We've all heard of solar and wind farms, but one company has taken it a huge leap forward and introduced what they call a SolarMill, which is a hybrid system that consists of wind turbines and solar photovoltaics technology. Given its compact footprint, the system can create energy from both solar and wind, making it one of the highest producing green energy products on the market.
Better, the SolarMill is designed to work with the utility grid or off of it, on top of buildings to offset rising energy costs or installed at remote locations to bring power to people that don't have electricity. It's a flexible system that can be deployed in nearly any environment.
Ener-Core's product takes polluting gases and converts them to energy. They do in seconds what takes nature 20 years to accomplish. That means every factory, oil refinery, coal mine or landfill that produces poisonous gases can potentially use this technology.
And unlike other green technologies, Ener-Core enables corporations and governments that are burning poisonous gases into the atmosphere gas to instead turn those gases into profits. How? Ener-Core has developed a product that uses low quality gases (polluting gases) that are normally burned off as waste into electricity using a chemical and pressure process to produce heat which powers a turbine which spins a generator to produce electricity.
This benefits everyone involved. The world gets cleaner air and the company using the technology receives a check for the energy generated and also lowers their cost of compliance.
According to ClearSign, nearly two-thirds of global energy consumption can be attributed to the combustion of hydrocarbons and other fuels in boilers, furnaces, kilns and turbines. These systems are used to generate electrical power, and to provide heat for industrial processes and buildings.
If Ener-Core used pressure and a chemical process to convert pollutants to energy, ClearSign's approach is to use specially designed tiles that work within the furnace to radiate energy out from their tiles in order to conserve the amount of energy needed to eradicate the pollutants by direct flame.
ClearSign's combustion technology eliminates safety and efficiency problems that can occur with large industrial burners. That's because the traditional method for burners are in controlling the size of the flame which can be a safety hazard if it comes into contact with dangerous materials. Manufacturers frequently have to turn down the system or shut it off completely in order to operate them safely.
So by using their tile technology, ClearSign's the downtime is avoidable and allows the system to run at full capacity since most of the safety issues have been significantly mitigated. That improves profitability and fuel efficiency because less fuel is required to achieve the same results.
These three companies are proving that CleanTech and profit can coexist and that's something both business and government can get behind.