The latest sustainability technologies – five trends to watch

The latest sustainability technologies – five trends to watch

Jan 03, 2022

It’s no secret that in our modern world technology and innovation are the key to sustainability. But sustainability efforts around the world have not escaped the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Research and development projects have been forced to put on hold due to lockdowns, a resurgence of single-use materials and disruption of recycling facilities thwarting the benefits of short-term emissions reductions. However, fueled by the economic recovery and as the world’s gaze turns to landmark events such as the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference 2021 (COP26), sustainability technology is once again in the spotlight.

At Qatar Foundation Research, Development and Innovation (QF RDI), sustainability means protecting and restoring the environment, while balancing economic development and well-being. Here are some of the biggest innovation trends to watch out for in the coming years:

1. The Rise of Electric Transportation We have all heard of electric cars, but the transportation sector as a whole is poised for a huge digital transformation over the next few years. Transportation accounts for about a fifth of global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and overtook energy production as the world’s biggest polluter a few years ago. But things are changing: aviation, fleet, freight and marine vehicles are all expected to benefit from increased accessibility and adoption of electrification and charging infrastructure technologies, or advancements in fuel technology. batteries for example.

The development of intelligent transport solutions is also another good example of the digitization of the transport sector. The Qatar Mobility Innovations Center (QMIC), based in QF RDI’s Qatar Science and Technology Park (QSTP), is the region’s first independent innovation center. Leveraging its strong R&D capabilities to develop and deploy smart mobility and smart city platforms and technologies, QMIC aims to improve mobility efficiency and minimize environmental impact.

2. Agtech Goes Mainstream Agriculture, although a vital sector, has a reputation of being one of the world’s largest emitters of greenhouse gases, but many agro-tech companies are hoping to green the industry and make an impact. positive both on our climate and on our ends. on our plate. Connectivity in this industry can also benefit productivity, with McKinsey & Company predicting the technology could add $ 500 billion in value to global GDP by 2030. The COVID-19 crisis has only intensified research sustainability in agriculture, as a support for international supply. chains stressed the need for more local and sustainable sourcing. Soil quality monitors, water management systems, precision pollination, indoor farming, and dietary change research are just a few of the ways technology is revolutionizing this industry, by keeping our planet in mind.

3. Pandemic-Driven Innovation The pandemic has disrupted our progress and focus on carbon emissions targets and increased the use of single-use materials. But it has also catalyzed many areas of innovation. New cooling technologies are being developed primarily for the transport and storage of vaccines, but have multiple applications which may be more durable than current options. The digital trend has increased our dependence on data centers and the pressure for more sustainable ways to operate them using renewable energy or the Internet of Things (IoT). As we continue to emerge from the COVID-19 storm, there will undoubtedly be more interesting inventions to come.

The Qatar Foundation has launched an electric tram system that will benefit not only the QF community, but everyone who visits Education City.

4. Micromobility – A Not-So-Micro Trend While our prospects for international travel have temporarily waned, the concept of micromobility has skyrocketed, as have the innovative companies leading the industry – many of which are in the MENA region. Globally, figures from McKinsey & Company show that the electric scooter market is expected to exceed $ 40 billion by 2030, up from $ 3.7 billion in 2019.

Human-powered, two- and three-wheeled electric vehicles have grown in popularity and are much better for the environment. There are considerable advantages; they have a low cost per use and can positively contribute to the health and well-being of the user. In urban areas, micromobility can solve the long-standing problem of an efficient “first and last mile”, while also solving congestion problems.

5. Scaling up energy storage With renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power now firmly integrated into the global energy production mix, the goal is now to optimize storage technologies. of energy. Real, tangible innovation is happening, with the Qatar Energy and Environment Research Institute – which is part of the Qatar Foundation’s Hamad Bin Khalifa University – and its storage portfolio energy utility developing safe, reliable and cost-effective large battery technology that enables the storage of excess energy and the integration of renewables into the grid for residential, commercial and large-scale use.

Much of the complexity of energy storage and energy supply management lies in the relationship with smart grids. QSTP’s partner company, Iberdrola Innovation Middle East, is an innovation hub tackling the practical technological challenges of the digitalization of the electricity grid.

Technology is essential to achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, tackling climate change and protecting our natural resources.

Coherent strategic visions and sustained funding in this area are essential to spur research, development and innovation so that we can harness the power of technology and move forward. The Gulf Research and Development Organization (GORD), another partner company of QSTP, is leading the sustainability landscape in the MENA region. Through its R&D efforts and work in areas such as standard setting, green building certification and capacity building, GORD aims to enable low carbon sustainable growth for present and future generations. – an ambition to which we should all aspire.

John Taylor McEntire, Director of Industrial Development and Knowledge Transfer (IDKT) at the Qatar Foundation Research, Development and Innovation (QF RDI) Joining the Qatar Foundation in 2013 during the establishment of the Office of Intellectual Property and Transfer of technology, John was active in the early development of QF’s intellectual property policy and process. As Director of the Office of Industry Development and Knowledge Transfer (IDKT), John leads a team of intellectual property and commercialization experts to protect and commercialize technologies, find partners and license property. intellectual property owned by QF worldwide. He has led the marketing efforts of the ICT portfolio, which is his chosen field for the past 25 years. He is also currently the Acting Director of Energy Marketing and Environment. He has negotiated and executed over 25 licenses and distribution agreements on behalf of QF entities – HBKU, QCRI and Texas A & M-Qatar with large, medium, small and start-ups around the world. Within the structure of QF RDI, he prepares his team to share their knowledge and expertise in leading the efforts for a decentralized mode allowing more hands through the QF infrastructure to assist in protection and commercialization. of intellectual property.

During his career he has consulted with the governments of Japan, Singapore and China on technology transfer and headed the Pacific Rim division for a software and hardware distribution company. He has been involved in the initiation of several start-ups and has been an advisor to many others. He spent five years in Tokyo, Japan, representing, marketing and terminating American business interests throughout Asia.

Prior to joining QF, he was a Licensing Professional at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) for 5 years, managing the laboratory’s information technology intellectual property portfolio. In this role, he developed the laboratory’s policy regarding the use and distribution of software and led efforts to protect and commercialize information technology. At PNNL, he developed the first comprehensive software intellectual property policy in a US Department of Energy (DOE) laboratory which has since become a federal laboratory standard and developed a model for handling export control examination for software invention disclosures. While at PNNL, he also taught international marketing and international business at Washington State University in Richland, Washington, USA.

Prior to PNNL, he was responsible for copyright, software, and trademarks at the University of Illinois for over 12 years. There, he initiated the development of the office operating plan, a market triage model using interns and the University’s open source software policy. He has helped bridge the gap between industry and academia by encouraging collaborations.

John McEntire is a QF RDI expert. He holds a BA from Brigham Young University and an MBA from the University of Illinois.

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