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These topics were among those discussed at the 2019 Cleantech Forum Europe that took place in Stockholm on 21-23 May. “The forum is one of the most important events on clean technologies organised in Europe,” says Georges Schaaf, Head of International Business Development – CleanTech & Manufacturing Industry at Luxinnovation. “It attracts start-ups, SMEs, investors and authorities from all over Europe to exchange ideas on the latest cleantech trends and innovations.”

Next year’s forum will be take place in Luxembourg on 18-20 May 2020, hosted by the Ministry of the Economy, Luxinnovation and Luxembourg for Finance.

Circular fashion, circular water, circular life

Minimising waste and making the most of resources is crucial for sustainable living. For an increasing number of citizens, caring for the planet by sorting waste and recycling paper, glass and plastic has become a way of life. The 2019 Cleantech Forum looked into how this circular thinking can be applied to other sectors that have a big impact on the environment.

By 2030, our ambition is to inspire and enable more than one billion people to live a better life within the limits of the planet.

One session focused on how innovation in textiles, factories and supply chain practices can make the fashion industry – the second largest polluter of clean water in the world and a huge producer of non-recyclable waste – more circular. Another presented several innovations in more efficient and affordable wastewater treatment systems. Tobias Svanberg, Dev Leader Water Solutions at Swedish furniture giant IKEA, outlined the company’s vision for “water positive houses” that will include solutions for reducing water use as well as for cleaning and reusing water in toilets and showers. “By 2030, our ambition is to inspire and enable more than one billion people to live a better life within the limits of the planet,” he explained.

Energy storage for smart transports

Participants at the 2019 Cleantech Forum EuropeThe ever-increasing energy consumption is another big challenge, not least in growing agglomerations. “We will have a power outage in the near future as the demand is so high,” said Stephan Stålered, Senior Project Manager Acquisition & Integration at Ellevio, one of Sweden’s leading distribution network operators.

One solution to even out the demand on the electric grid during peak hours it to expand the use of batteries to store energy produced during the times when the grid is less used or generated by alternative energy sources. Batteries also open new opportunities for recovering surplus energy and using it for transports, for example. Stefan Söderling, Investment Director at Volvo Group Venture Capital, explained that Volvo is developing a fleet of connected, electronic lorries that will require low-cost energy. “We need cross-industry solutions,” he pointed out. “If any public utility could offer us their surplus energy, we could tap into that.”

Sustainable living

Making a city sustainable requires holistic thinking. The city of Stockholm invited the Cleantech Forum participants to join a study visit to Årsta, a fast-growing district in the south of the city where 12 smart solutions are being deployed simultaneously. Årsta is a low-energy district where old buildings are being refurbished with efficient and smart climate solutions related to insulation, hot water, energy use and so on. The city is also implementing smart street lighting that consumes less energy, a system for smart waste collection and waste heat recovery infrastructure. Inhabitants have access to sustainable mobility solutions including electric cars, electric cargo bikes and fast charging stations.

Sustainable living is also a key theme here in Luxembourg.

“Sustainable living is also a key theme here in Luxembourg. We have, for example, a number of on-going projects turning brownfield sites into eco districts,” says Mr Schaaf. “We look forward to sharing our experience and exchanging with the participants of 2020 Cleantech Forum here in Luxembourg.”

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