Technology 384 days ago

Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way?

What happens when technological progress is forced to a standstill by politics?

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The governments of many countries around the globe are convinced by the ecological and economic benefits of electric mobility and have substantiated this through a wide variety of financial incentive programmes and statements of political will. (>)

At the same time, they preach the use of renewable energies, because electric mobility can only be sustainable as an integrated part of a global energy transition. Yet they are generally blocking one another in the implementation of "their" energy transition. Complex interests become intertwined to create a Gordian knot.

It is extremely difficult to express the reduction of greenhouse gases in terms of cost benefits, and because environmentally friendly technologies are associated, at least initially, with additional costs, social acceptance of these technologies is usually minimal as a result. Governments therefore avail themselves of a variety of regulatory methods to build up demand for environmentally friendly technologies, be it in the form of direct subsidies or tax relief - both for manufacturers and for the users of these technologies. (>)

But it is frequently the cause of burgeoning trade conflicts in areas where governments see renewable energy technologies as a strategic industry for the economic development of their country and want to establish a benefit in the international (multi-million euro) market for clean energy technologies. (>)

Direct subsidies for technology sectors or even individual companies are sometimes masked on a national and international level as measures for economic regulation of social markets, as job generators or for the development of technological expertise. Ultimately, they serve largely to strengthen and reinforce subsidised exports.

China-EU

As long as countries cling to their specific forms of subsidies for their national renewable-energy industries, it is apparent that trade conflicts solved through the courts are inevitable. The extent to which national industrial policies contravene what international trade agreements is a matter for international trade and commerce organisations like the WTO. It really doesn't matter who wins the dispute - costs are incurred and allocated to the renewable-energy budget, which must be paid for by the public purse through tax income.

These escalating economic tensions between countries are leading to an explosion of commercial and political costs, which is impeding the proliferation of renewable energies or at least making them cost intensive. An example of this is the ongoing trade disagreement between China and the EU on solar products. (>)

On one side there are countries that stand in the way of innovative energy technologies because they fear national economic disadvantage, while other countries use their technological lead - and sometimes entire industry sectors - to support national political interests. How can the Gordian knot of ecological progress across society as a whole be loosened?

Gordian Knot

What is beyond doubt is that the speed with which renewable energies are driven forward will be decisive for curbing climate change. But the achievement of political agreement on a global level and with all countries around the same table is hardly likely in the medium term - and certainly not when it comes to sensitive topics like trade and climate change. But time is running out, and if no macro-political common denominator can be found then alternative forms of self-regulation must be found to prevent countries from continuously blocking one another in the implementation of sustainable energy policy. The meeting of global energy transition and international trade agreements leads inevitably to conflicts - all that matters is these are resolved quickly and to the mutual benefit of all.

It is often posited that bilateral initiatives - such as the US-China Clean Energy Research Center (CERC) - have helped defuse such conflicts of interest before they could escalate. (>) This prevents countries from losing sight of the shared goal of global energy transition amid antagonistic criticism. Programmes for the promotion of renewable energies or bilateral initiatives for furthering innovation in renewable energies are cited as measures for resolving conflict. (>)

Not all conflicts can be solved bilaterally, but collaborative approaches will certainly ensure a reduction in the number of cases of hardened conflict brought before the WTO.

nanoFlowcell Holdings Ltd supports the use of renewable energies within its approach to sustainability. It is important that the energy used in R&D and in the production of the nanoFlowcell and the bi-ION electrolyte solution was generated sustainably. The aim of the company is that the energy used in the local production of bi-ION in all parts of the world be generated in a sustainable and environmentally compatible manner - with or without subsidies.

The company itself refuses any kind of state subsidy and wants neither tax benefits nor financial support to form the basis of its international business model.

nanoflowcell

This notwithstanding, the company is committed to the global energy transition. nanoFlowcell Holdings Ltd is focused on the divide in international research and innovation, and promotes international scientific and commercial cooperation, particularly in the field of flow cell research. With QUANT-City, nanoFlowcell Holdings Ltd will build the world's leading research and development centre for flow cell technology and establish a cross-border network with research institutes in related areas of technology. Sustainable and conflict-free progress can be achieved through scientific collaboration and cooperation. nanoFlowcell Holdings Ltd sees its role in the global energy transition as supporting this with technological advancement, particularly in the field of environmentally compatible and sustainable energy storage and recovery.

Flow cells, also known as redox flow batteries, are the most forward-looking and currently only energy storage technology that can be produced, used and recycled in a way that is environmentally compatible, sustainable and non-toxic. nanoFlowcell is the only flow cell technology that can be used in both mobile and stationary applications and whose electrolyte solution bi-ION has an energy density equal to that of state-of-the-art lithium-ion batteries.

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