Tag Archive | "innovation"

Clean Energy Business Council set to host Annual Event

This year’s Clean Energy Business Council (CEBC) Annual Event is to be held under the theme ‘MENA – The Clean Energy Upstart? Challenges, Innovation, Unlimited Potential,’ reflective of the growing interest shown by national governments and investors, developers and manufacturers in the currently under-realised clean energy potential of the wider MENA region.

“There is great excitement among clean energy players about the MENA region’s potential to become a world leader in clean energy development and adoption,” said Dr Nasser H. Saidi, Chairman of CEBC.

“Of all the global regions, MENA is the one that has the greatest potential for growth. We are seeing increased investment, favourable policy creation and implementation and enhanced development. It is an exciting time to be involved in the MENA clean energy industry.”

The event will convene industry leaders and policy makers, providing a platform for discussion on the state of the clean energy industry across the MENA region, their achievements this far, and the next steps required for further development of the sector. There will be a focus on energy and water efficiency, financing mechanisms and the social impacts of clean energy in the region, with key public and private sector stakeholders from across the region in attendance.

According to Nimer Abu Ali, MENA Head of Cleantech, EY, Governments in MENA have recognised that the long term sustainability of their economies and their resources can be improved by diversifying the sources of energy and include alternative energies and investment in energy efficiency. Saudi Arabia and UAE have been leading the renewables agenda in the region. Morocco has also, in the last year, seen significant progress in this direction. However, the inadequacy of policy frameworks and regulations in the region as a whole continue to be the main obstacles to the development of the industry.”

With over 100 projects under development across the MENA region, and with countries such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt looking to generate 20% of their power from renewable sources by 2020, and Morocco aiming for the even more ambitious 42% figure by 2020, the region’s clean energy future looks bright.


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Brigdestone’s latest technologies at the motor show

Yesterday, Bridgestone Middle East and Africa, the Official Tyre of 2013 Dubai International Motor Show, presented the company’s latest technological innovations: Air Free concept tyre, the tyre with ologic technology and the Half-Weight concept tyre. The three new tyre concepts, unveiled for the first time in the region, are showcased at the Bridgestone stand in Hall 2 at Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre, until November 9th, 2013.

During the official press preview, Bridgestone Middle East and Africa President, Shoichi Sakuma, said: “The Bridgestone Group is committed to helping ensure a healthy environment for current and future generation; this means that we are progressively adapting our technologies and developing new products to go towards the realisation of a safer and more sustainable society. The three innovative tyre concepts that we are presenting, set a new standard in terms of environmental friendliness, safety, and comfort and are evidence of Bridgestone putting words into action.”

Air Free concept tyre is a non-pneumatic eco-friendly tyre which requires less maintenance while eliminating the worry of punctures. The structure of load-bearing spokes stretching along the inner sides of the tyre is designed not to go flat and never need inflating. Moreover the spoke structure is made from a thermoplastic resin which, along with the rubber in the tread portion, can be 100% recycled.

 ‘Ologic tyre’ is narrower and features a larger diameter than conventional tyres which helps vehicles achieve improved fuel efficiency while contributing to reductions in CO2 emissions. The tyre has a higher air pressure and is designed with a new pattern technology and compounds which allow it to have significantly lower levels of rolling resistance, while maintaining substantially higher levels of wet grip performance. This new category of tyres has been conceived specifically for electric and hybrid vehicles in an effort to support the direction taken by the automotive industry towards more eco-friendly mobility.

Half-Weight concept tyre is a solution for car manufacturers striving to reach stricter fuel consumption targets. The new concept tyre reduces the vehicle’s weight contributing to improved fuel efficiency, and by reducing the usage of resource it lowers energy requirements for manufacturing.

The world’s largest tyre and rubber company’s stand at the 2013 Dubai International Motor Show features three distinctive zones to support visitors in their journey from current to future. Along with the new tyre concepts – displayed in the future zone of the stand – the booth hosts in the current zone Bridgestone ‘s latest range of tyres.

Bridgestone will also host the ‘ Bridgestone 4D Theatre’ where visitors to the stand will also experience the performance of some of Bridgestone tyres on a simulated road trip. While seated in special moving chairs, visitors will watch a 3D movie that will be played through a head mount display and will feel like being in a real car fitted with Bridgestone tyres.

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Trio of sustainability

Nakheel unveiled a trio of sustainability at Cityscape Global 2013. The innovative, waterfront destination will bring world-class tourism, cultural, business and residential facilities to Dubai. 

The projects are endorsed by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

Speaking at Cityscape Global, Nakheel Chairman Ali Rashid Lootah said:  “Nakheel has already delivered some of the world’s most famous landmark developments, including Palm Jumeirah and The World. Now, by applying the innovative design and engineering that we are known for, we are creating a new range of unique, unforgettable destinations that will further cement Dubai as a global tourism, retail and business hub and contribute significantly to  Dubai’s economy – for decades to come.”

The three projects, currently in design phase, are:

Deira project

The Deira project is a four-island, mixed-use waterfront destination development, master planned by Nakheel, that will add more than 40km (including 21km of beachfront) to Dubai’s existing coastline and provide infrastructure for the development of dozens of hotels and resorts, serviced apartments, retail centres and individual homes.

“This project will contribute significantly to the Government of Dubai’s tourism strategy. Nakheel intends to offer special payment plans and incentives for hotels to develop on these new islands,” said Nakheel Chairman Ali Rashid Lootah.

Nakheel itself will develop the whole of the south island, creating a unique creek side destination.  The island, easily accessible by road bridges or abras running to and from the mainland, includes a range of attractions:

  • A night market designed in the style of a traditional Arabic souk, with more than 1,400 retail units and restaurants, and a number of anchor stores;
  • A 250-room hotel;
  • An amphitheatre – capacity 30,000 people – for concerts and events;
  • A creek marina to accommodate large yachts, and a range of additional marinas offering mooring facilities directly outside residences
  • Extensive shaded, green space

The island will also have a number of waterfront plots for hotels, resorts and serviced apartments.

The other three islands will feature hotels, resorts and residential, commercial and retail units.  Nakheel will master plan and complete infrastructure work ready for third party development on each island.

The Boardwalk at Palm Jumeirah

Nakheel will transform the 11km crescent that protects Palm Jumeirah into a bustling destination for walking, shopping and dining, creating a new focus for the already world-famous island.  The Palm Jumeirah Boardwalk will run the entire length of the crescent, with a pier, stretching 100 metres into the Arabian Gulf, at either end.

Nakheel will create the Boardwalk by building over the rocks of the Palm’s breakwater.  The Boardwalk will be six metres wide – more than double the width of the existing crescent path – with more than 20 concessions offering refreshments and souvenirs throughout its 11km length.

The Boardwalk will include an East and West Pier – each stretching 100 metres out to sea offering extensive views of the Arabian Gulf, Palm Jumeirah and the Dubai skyline.  The piers will each feature a range of glass-encased cafes and restaurants.

West Beach Development, Palm Jumeirah

Nakheel’s new West Beach at Palm Jumeirah will stretch for 1.5 km along the Palm’s western trunk, providing another new destination for the Palm’s residents and visitors.

A shaded park and promenade, with retail kiosks and amenities such as children’s play areas, will run the entire length West Beach. There will also be an exclusive high-end beach club facility featuring a low-rise, single-storey complex of 14 waterfront restaurants, outdoor seating deck, lounge, gym, swimming pool and party terrace.

West Beach will also have parking for around 340 cars and nine buses.

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Sustainability breeds innovation

Innovation that comes from sustainable business models is proving to be a profitable route for many companies. Lorraine Bangera speaks to business leaders about the benefits of investing in the world’s future

Many leading organisations today approach sustainability as a core business strategy. It may have started with small initiatives, like energy conservation, offering green product ranges and, initiating corporate social responsibility. But increasingly, sustainability is an integral part of the business model for companies across the world and especially in this region.
Organisations with a strategic plan for sustainability have discovered it drives innovation in the way products are made. Saving energy cuts costs, minimising waste saves money and designing a product or service with these two simple measures at the heart of the process encourages innovation. A well-made product is a quality product and, combined with consumers’ increasing desire to support sustainability, producers can charge a premium for their investment in sustainability.
Ross Jackson is the general manager of Delta Faucet Middle East, which makes bathroom fittings and home improvement products. He believes that sustainable design in taps has resulted in products that people fall in love with. He says: “Functionality and beauty makes a product desirable to customers. It is beautiful but the technology of the product is what underpins everything, the sustainability, water saving, usability and reliability.” He supports the view that choosing a sustainable business model will inevitably breed new business practice and that will also inspire other businesses. Additionally a company’s sustainability credentials make good marketing tools, increasing business and encouraging other to change their approach.
Delta Faucet has a well-earned reputation for its sustainability and innovative solutions to water saving but there are other benefits too, says Jackson. “Design is something that most people are interested in, but the core part of our business is the innovation we bring,” he says. “Technology is well packaged with our products, it is brains with beauty.” Delta sells a range of taps with ‘Diamond Seal Technology’ – so there are no dripping taps for a lifetime – but its lifetime guarantee boosts its sustainability credentials and value for money.
Jackson says: “In the US, we have to test our products half a million times to meet industry standards. We test five million times. The product lasts a 100 years, and does not need replacing or maintenance and from a sustainability point of view, that avoids waste to go to landfills.” By its nature sustainability encourages quality products, focuses on reducing waste and, uses key resources which can be a powerful driver for developing innovative products. There are significant opportunities for organisations to use sustainability to improve their businesses.
Steven Pratt, spokesperson for Interface, a carpet tile manufacturing company, speaks with BGreen about sustainability-driven innovation. He says: “Our initiative, Net-Works aims to improve the livelihood of fishermen in many parts of the world. It has established a community-based supply chain for discarded nets that are then sent to our partner Aquafil to be recycled into yarn. Net Effect is the first collection of carpet tiles that will use recycled nets from the initiative and we are seeing increased


‘Performance is more important than certification’
P.R. Jagannathanm who is the sustainability manager at Trakhees, has no doubt sustainability-driven innovation brings huge benefits. Trakhees is a support and development service organisation part of the Government of Dubai, which seeks to achieve prosperity and sustainable developments. According to Jagannathan, “The planet is confounded with the challenges of excessive emissions and climate change, leaving the stakeholders with no other option other than embracing sustainability in all facets that influence the environment. “Under these circumstances, there is an increasing trend to think out of the box and seek innovative strategies. From the built environment perspective, innovation has manifested itself in the areas of policies, technology and behavioural aspects too. “Region-specific green building regulations, customised regulatory processes, assimilation of technologies that directly address the needs of the region, spreading the awareness of design integration process across the stakeholder community and a greater focus on performing green buildings as opposed to mere paper certification are some of the critical factors that seek to transform the market and drive sustainability.”

Business model
The most effective way to be a sustainable business is by producing products more efficiently – using less raw material, reducing the use of water and electricity. Pratt says: “Putting sustainability at the heart of our business has helped us save $480m in avoided waste costs since 1996 and made our products better than ever as sustainability provides an infinite source of innovation. Ultimately, we want to become restorative, giving back more than we take.”
On the other hand, start-up companies are increasingly taking on the responsibility of being sustainable and are incorporating it in their business model. For example, Green Office Company, a Dubai-based company known for creating a ‘greener’ office environment through interior design, has taken sustainability as its core value to design products that are green and concentrate on sustainability with innovation.
The CEO of Green Office, Krishna Kumar drives the new Porsche hybrid and clearly recognises the seismic change going on in business and the benefits sustainability brings. He says: “Sustainability today is changing industry competitiveness. In addition to creating better productivity and products, sustainability is enabling companies to formulate new business models and processes which are, actually, the very goals of corporate innovation itself.”
For smaller companies it is comparatively easier to design a sustainable business model giving them an advantage over bigger companies where instigating change can take longer. The concept of innovation driven by the need to achieve sustainability is not region specific, everywhere in the world there’s a need to be sustainable – reducing CO2 emissions and waste. The consumer economy is disappearing, the circular one is taking over where sustainable products and services increase and consumers expect to see it. A successful business model that is not sustainable but is profitable leads some companies to avoid reworking their strategy for fear it will damage profitability. It is estimated that by the year 2025 everyone will be committed, by law or circumstance, to develop or investing in technology to support sustainability.
It will happen, so why not start now?


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Leadership is top priority for business sustainability says new study

Sustainability endeavors continue despite the economic downturn, but study highlights opportunities to further embed them throughout organizations and business strategies

  • Senior leadership engagement is the most frequently (44%) cited factor in determining the success of companies’ sustainability strategies over the next three years
  • Leading companies need to advocate sustainability benefits to encourage adoption by the wider business community
  • Challenges still exist with perceived high costs and lack of belief in rate of returns

Senior leadership is regarded as the most critical driver of sustainability within a business and nearly half of businesses (44%) believe engagement with business leaders will be the most important factor in successfully implementing a sustainability strategy over the next three years.

At board level, 28% have periodic meetings addressing sustainability, but only 18% of companies have directors who assess the success of sustainability initiatives.

These are the findings of Sustainability Insights: Learning from Business Leaders by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). The research, based on a survey of more than 300 European business executives explores how businesses’ sustainability strategies have performed in recent years and identifies the key drivers for future success.

“Despite the challenging economic environment, companies have largely stayed with their sustainability goals. What we are seeing now is a real shift to mainstream sustainability-related initiatives in Europe. Companies are learning how to better integrate this into their businesses profitably. There is still a lot of room to improve but this is a profoundly positive change,” said Brian Gardner, senior editor at the Economist Intelligence Unit.

More Compelling Business Case for Sustainability Required

The research identifies the need to build a stronger business case to convince the wider European business community of the value of putting sustainability at the heart of its operations. While 52% of companies have been able to maintain their sustainability agenda despite the economic downturn, almost half (44%) of respondents report that the biggest barrier to implementing a sustainability strategy is perceived high costs, coupled with a lack of belief in rates of return.

For those companies that recognise the value of sustainability, the benefits they cite include differentiation from competitors (32%) and enhanced stakeholder engagement (29%). While only one in five (21%) cite boosted profits as a key benefit of their sustainability endeavours.

Innovation, Collaboration, and Technology are Critical

Sustainability Insights: Learning from Business Leaders explored innovation, collaboration and technology as important components of the disruptive approaches needed to drive the next era of sustainable business. This is essential if organizations are to achieve the breakthroughs needed to accelerate progress towards improved sustainability.

Leading companies are increasingly turning to collaboration to maximize resources and intelligence. Nearly a third of businesses (32%) now work with competitors to seek out ideas for sustainability innovation, and a similar number (27%) work with NGOs and civil society. Over the next three years, businesses say that partnerships will be important contributors to driving sustainability success.

More than a quarter of companies (28%) believe technological innovation will also drive the success of their sustainability strategy in the next three years. Additionally, 61% say that technological developments contribute to sustainability-related innovations, and 41% say they’ve successfully harnessed technology to improve their environmental impact.

“We are proud of the progress we have made on our own sustainability journey, but the next era of sustainable business will be led by more meaningful collaboration. Working with government and society, we all need to identify the innovations that will address the significant societal and environmental issues of our time,” said John F. Brock, chairman and chief executive officer at Coca-Cola Enterprises, which commissioned the EIU report.

Sustainability Insights: Learning from Business Leaders was launched at the Sustainability Innovation Summit yesterday (October 1, 2013)





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Europeans set for wave power by 2016

A new $20million European project has been launched to look at harnessing the power of waves.

Iberdrola Ingeniería, in partnership with the Swedish company CorPower Ocean  and the Portuguese marine research centre WavEc, has embarked on the development of the R&D project HiWave, focused on high efficiency wave power.

This project aims to demonstrate wave power harnessing using a new type of compact device with advanced control technology and then design an offshore farm based on this technology.

CorPower – specialising in wave energy converters – will be responsible for designing the device, Iberdrola Ingeniería will oversee development the offshore farm, and WavEc will provide analysis and validation support during the various stages.

Madrid-based Iberdrola Ingenieria is an engineering services company with involvement in construction across the power sector, including nuclear.

HiWave has a budget of 15m euros ($20.4m) and the target date to open the wave farm is 2016.

This project is partly funded by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) through one of its knowledge and innovation communities (KIC InnoEnergy).

A spokesman for Iberdrola Ingenieria said: “The initiative shows the Group’s firm commitment to the promotion of R&D. Iberdrola Ingeniería is currently working on projects in the areas of renewable energy, energy efficiency, nuclear fusion, gaseous pollutant capture and smart grids.

“Moreover, the Iberdrola Group is a pioneer in marine energy harnessing initiatives. The core of its business in this sector is offshore wind power, where it is already carrying out projects totalling over 8,000 megawatts (MW).

Iberdrola is also promoting projects based on other marine technologies: wave and tidal energy. As regards wave energy, the Company is building a plant using the Pelamis P2 technology. Pelamis P2 is a snakelike infrastructure capable of absorbing wave energy and turning it into electricity through a series of hydraulic cylinders.

As for tidal energy, it is partnering with the Austrian company Andritz Hydro Hammerfest and the French corporation Alstom in a project totalling up to 10 MW in the Sound of Islay, in Scotland, which will include devices similar to an onshore wind turbine, but using ocean currents instead of the effect of the wind.

These two plants are being developed at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) on the island of Orkney, in the north of Scotland.


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Current Issue October 2013