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The Uncertain Middle: Innovation Lessons for Low Carbon Energy Technology

Event highlighted the need for UK to invest more in low carbon technologies

Thursday, 2 December, 2010

Professor Chris Hendry, Centenary Professor in Organisational Behaviour at Cass, recently presented the AIM project report 'The Uncertain Middle: Innovation Lessons for Low Carbon Energy Technology from Demonstration Projects and Trials' at a conference at the School.
An audience of 100 guests from business, academia and government heard visiting speakers Dr Andrew Garrad talk about lessons learned from the development of the wind industry, Kai Klinder discuss the German national innovation programme for stationary fuel cells, and Professor Jim Skea explain the UK's innovation challenge in building a low carbon economy.
Key messages included the need for the UK to invest more substantially and strategically in low carbon technologies with immediate and longer-term prospects for carbon reduction focused on creating new low carbon industries in the UK.
Participants in the conference also called for a generously funded protected domestic market to stimulate emerging new energy industries, but not in such a way as to favour very large companies, which have not been the most effective in early stage development.  They also emphasised the importance of ongoing research and development and the need for industrial investors who are able to take a long-term engineering view, not a short-term financial one.
The German fuel cell applications programme was one example given which shows the scale of what is required.  With a budget of £112 million per annum over 10 years up to 2016, the programme is half funded each by government and industry, and involves strong partnering between manufacturers and German energy utilities to install and test units across Germany.

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