EEP European Environmental Press

Swedish environmental technology investment to give priority to nanotechnology.


Source: EEP European Environmental Press

The Government must prioritise research using nanotechnology to solve environmental problems, according to Lena Gustafsson, co-director general at Vinnova, who has published a report about environmental technology. The report 'Research strategy for environmental technology' is one of the pieces of the puzzle for the government bill on research which will be ready next spring. 'We have identified a lot of areas in environmental technology where Sweden has good results. Now we need to move forward, setting priorities,' says Lena Gustafsson. The months before the government's bill is published will be a period of lobbying for Swedish researchers. 'We will lay the groundwork for what we think the government should prioritise, but it is not ready yet,' says Lena Gustafsson. One of the most important areas according to her is to bring together nanotechnology and environmental technology. One example of the use of nanotechnology is in the production of catalytic converters. 'I think that we could be successful if we do so. We are good at technological research and if we don't make use of this competence in environmental applications we are not using our opportunities,' says Lena Gustafsson. In the report there are propositions to improve environmental technology research. Many of them are aimed at small and medium businesses, for example to support demonstration plants as well as research. Other propositions include encouraging a more interdisciplinary approach, covering technological research but also systems analysis, life-cycle assessment and social scientific research. Moreover, priority should be given to specific areas of environmental technology, and collaboration between the authorities, research institutes; industry, and venture capitalists should increase. 

Six Swedish strengths in Vinnova's report. 1. Sustainable social structure: more global areas as Sustainable Buildings, Sustainable Renovation and Sustainable Cities, more specific technological areas such as building systems for wood, steering- and supervision systems, technology for local energy supply. 2. Sustainable transports: vehicles, traffic systems, logistics - new motors and new technology for propulsion, new fuels, technology and systems for public transport and carriage by sea, new methods and system for efficient use of transport teams and coordinated transport. 3. Anti-pollution technology: water- and waste water purification, waste air purification, soil decontamination, waste processing, and life cycle management. 4. The use of biological natural resources: new processes to manage more components and/or energy in an efficient way, new materials from renewable raw material, new serviceable components, surface- and barrier material, packing and lubricants. 5. Light and advanced materials: many application areas, for example in applications where the weight is of importance for the energy- or fuel consumption, material with little waste or which can be recycled, advanced material for electronic, medical technology, solar cells and sensors. 6. Energy: new technology for energy combination - solar electricity, wind power, teleheating technology, biofuel technology, bio-refinery for fuel production. Technology for energy efficiency, efficient building technology and lighting technology. The responsibility for energy research lies with the energy authorities, but we must strive for collaboration.

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