Bellerbys Economics - Mr Stephenson

Friday, April 18, 2008

Cleaner Profits from Cleantech

Cleantech is a word you will start to hear more and more about. Although there may be some disagreements as to the causes, most people now accept that global warming is real and is going to get worse over the next ten years.

So what should you be investing in if you want to profit from this? Cleantech companies will provide the answer. There are four different categories emerging:

The first area is low-grid technology - the technology that helps households and businesses to reduce their energy usage. Every business in the country is now scrambling to appoint Carbon Reduction Officers or some such - and so contracts can be easily gained for things like environment-control systems software; demand-management lighting and so on. This may be considered the microeconomics of greenhouse gas reduction

The second area is in the macroeconomic sphere with governments arbitrarily plucking figures from the air and setting targets like a 25% reduction in greenhouse gases by 2020 (USA). This has led to a boom in big technologies like carbon sequestration (collecting CO2 emissions from factory chimneys and feeding them underground) and clean-coal technologies (the Chinese are big in this area.)

The third area is alternative energy sources - solar of course, fuel cells and perhaps biofuels (although that brings its own problems). Geo-thermal technologies are another and with EarthEnergy investing heavily in this in Cornwall, it could lead to a revival of that country's fortunes.

Finally, the fourth area is CO2 conversion therapies - filtering CO2 from the air and converting it into chemicals such as methanol that can be stored more easily and may have alternative uses, including fuel cells.

We used to say 'Where there's dirt there's money' in this country - but perhaps now we should change it to 'Clean technology provides clean money."

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