3rd MENA Innovation and Technology Transfer Summit

3rd MENA Innovation and Technology Transfer Summit

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The participants in the one-day summit will include R&D institutions, technology transfer experts, global investors, government and private sector representatives, entrepreneurs and academics and other stakeholders, presenting an immersive experience of knowledge sharing, business showcasing and networking in an intimate setting.

The summit comes at a time when the world is witnessing the fourth industrial revolution characterized by the penetration of emerging technology in a number of fields, including robotics, artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, biotechnology, the Internet of Things (IoT), 3D printing, and autonomous vehicles.

Hussain Al Mahmoudi, CEO of the Sharjah Research, Technology and Innovation Park, said: “The MITT Summit 2022 assumes huge significance as the Middle East has become the world’s fastest growing market in business and technology transfer. As proven globally, the knowledge and technology transfer model has been responsible for rapid advancements in every field. By bringing together global experts and highlighting the role of academic institutions in R&D, the MITT Summit serves as a perfect platform for ramping up technology transfer trends in the region.”

The summit will discuss patterns of technology transfer in the Middle East and North Africa region, existing opportunities as well as challenges, and tips on how to achieve set goals and use knowledge sharing to boost the region’s economic growth and long-term stability.

Technology transfer has been the main driver of global economic growth over the last 40 years. Companies are increasingly relying on open innovation to develop intellectual property (IP) more quickly and economically, to stay ahead of competition. Universities, research organisations, and SMEs play a crucial role in supplying intellectual property, and supporting research that will build the innovations of tomorrow.

Many countries around the world have passed their own national legislations and policies to spur innovation. The UAE issued its own National Innovation Strategy in 2014, which seeks to make the country the region’s top innovation hub by developing the right regulatory framework, infrastructure, and ensuring availability of investment.

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Can the electric vehicle revolution solve the climate crisis

Can the electric vehicle revolution solve the climate crisis

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The supposedly ongoing Energy Transition would most probably be jeopardised in the developing countries as demand for all fossil fuels is projected to grow by two-thirds by 2050.   The reasons are that the electric vehicle revolution would have difficulty reaching, let alone solving the climate crisis and creating opportunities for developing countries.

Achieving an equitable energy transition would fail short unless the interests of developed and developing countries are better aligned.

The above image is of CleanTechnica

Can the electric vehicle revolution solve the climate crisis and create opportunities for developing countries?

Electric vehicles (EVs) are confidently expected to decarbonize road transportation, contribute substantially to the net zero agenda, and so help to solve the climate crisis. But as Ben Jones points out in a recent WIDER Working Paper, a rapid growth of global supplies of minerals and rare metals is a prerequisite. This in turn opens new prospects for mineral-abundant countries, many of which are less developed economies.

Tony Addison, former Chief Economist of UNU-WIDER, and myself explored these prospects in a series of high-level UN Roundtables over the course of 2021 — an opportunity to communicate our ideas to many critical stakeholders in all continents. Here, and in a related blog, I lay out the opportunities, and risks, that took centre stage during these discussions.

Barriers and risks

It is increasingly assumed that EVs are the future of transportation. The International Energy Agency (IEA) reports that there were some 16.5 million EVs on the world’s roads by 2022. That number is projected to increase seven-fold, by 2040. Annual global sales could rise from 2.5 million to over 30 million by 2030.

But, there are doubters and their doubts do have some substance.

There are several complicating factors that can compromise the promise that EVs are said to offer. These risks should be considered carefully before any country — and particularly any developing country — puts too much skin in the game.

First, there are the high costs of installing sufficient accessible charging points, especially in countries with low levels of electricity access (access levels below 40% are quite common). Second, there are question marks about battery longevity and the costs and technical challenges of both replacements and recycling. Third, the engineering complexities and the task of upskilling mechanics trained on conventional internal-combustion engines (ICEs) need to be considered. Fourth, the greater weight of EVs caused by their heavyweight batteries is a particular concern for low-income countries that already struggle to maintain road infrastructure.

And finally, charging EVs with largely coal-fired power — which would especially be the case in the most populous countries of India and China — will not much reduce carbon emissions.

Opportunities

These risks notwithstanding, there are opportunities for several developing economies to benefit from the EV revolution, but mainly as providers of critical mineral inputs into EV manufacturing, rather than as consumers and users of EVs.

Indeed, a substantial share of today’s global reserves of the key metals needed in quantity for the transition to clean energy are located in lower-income countries. Examples include 68% of lithium, 47% of manganese, 34% of nickel, 40% of platinum, 70% of titanium, 41% of zinc, 46% of copper, and 68% of cobalt.

A recent WIDER Working Paper by Ericsson and Löf ranks 40 lower-income countries that have some potential to take advantage of their endowments of these and other metals. The deeper analysis of this potential in their study is suggested reading for anyone who wants to learn more.

However, the realization of the alleged potential of EVs for developing counties will be far from plain sailing. Here are some of the risks for developing countries hoping to take advantage:

  • The volumes of critical metals required for batteries alone are huge; especially cobalt, lithium, and nickel. If the present supply constraints cannot be addressed, then the price of EVs is likely to remain prohibitively high for many prospective users without huge subsidies like those seen, particularly, in China.
  • To make EVs renewable, they need to be charged using renewable energy. It is not clear that the additional renewable energy needed will keep pace with demand for EVs, and this will strain global critical metal supplies even further.
  • Environmental lobbies and governments might well go cold on EVs, as they did previously on diesel vehicles. The overall carbon-reducing credentials of EVs are already under question because of the substantial emissions and other environmental harm associated with the mining and processing of their metallic inputs.
  • Some of the countries most richly endowed with critical metals are also well-known for unacceptable human rights practices in their mining sectors. The DRC is perhaps the leading example. It provides almost 70% of the global supply of cobalt — a critical battery metal — with an estimated 15–30% of this produced in small-scale artisanal mines that use child labour and environmentally disastrous methods. The discussions at the 2021 UN Roundtables revealed this to be a matter of universal concern.
Another word of caution for resource-endowed developing nations

It is a common political assumption that the mere presence of a critical mineral resource justifies large investments in downstream processing to enhance national value-added. But this can be a seriously misleading assumption. Experience confirms the inherent problems of building viable domestic processing: certainly no developing country can assume that a rich endowment of any critical mineral will lead inexorably to the eventual emergence of a commercially-sustainable industrial output based on those minerals. In a related blog, I probe more deeply into some of the challenges faced to develop such national value-added, using Bolivia’s efforts to capitalize on its extremely rich endowment of lithium as one example.

Strategies for harnessing the potential in developing countries

Many low- and middle-income countries that are already highly dependent on extractive resources have learned how difficult it is to cope with the inherent instability of the prices and the markets in which these resources are traded. The WIDER working paper by Ericsson and Löf referenced above confirms that a large sub-set of those countries have the potential to significantly increase their mining output to meet the new demands for the global energy transition. But, partly for the reasons articulated above, prospects for doing so face uncertainties which are probably even more acute than encountered in the past.

What strategies can help address such uncertainties?

Two modest suggestions can be offered. First, acting on good evidence is vital. High-quality data on mineral endowments is needed — not only their volumes, but also whether they are of marketable quality, commercially viable, and at what price? The geological record underpinning such data is merely the first part of this requirement. Further, all potential supplying countries need to be very well informed about global trends in both EV uptake and above all competing suppliers.

Second, it is important to develop a deep and regularly updated awareness of the market and its uncertainties, and use this to maintain a grounded macroeconomic forecast. This includes the need to be cautious about increasing tax rates on mining products when, in the short term, there are high prices and bullish forecasts of future demand. These are rapidly changing markets; today’s competitive positions can easily disappear.

Alan Roe is a Non-Resident Senior Research Fellow at UNU-WIDER. He has written extensively in both books, academic journals and for other outlets including the first full-scale statistical analysis of flows of funds in the UK. His publications have also included early papers on interest rate policies in developing economies and on the particular problems of monetary management in Africa.​

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Saudi crown prince unveils design for NEOM’s . . .

Saudi crown prince unveils design for NEOM’s . . .

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Saudi Arabia’s crown prince and chairman of the NEOM board of directors Mohammed bin Salman has announced the designs of ‘The Line’, a 170 kilometres long smart linear city.

According to the crown prince, the designs of The Line will embody how urban communities will be in the future in an environment free from roads, cars and emissions. The city will run on 100 percent renewable energy and will prioritise people’s health and well-being over transportation and infrastructure as in traditional cities. It will also put nature ahead of development and will contribute to preserving 95 percent of NEOM’s land.

Last year, the crown prince launched the initial idea and vision of the city that redefines the concept of urban development and what cities of the future should look like.

“We cannot ignore the livability and environmental crises facing our world’s cities, and NEOM is at the forefront of delivering new and imaginative solutions to address these issues. NEOM is leading a team of the brightest minds in architecture, engineering and construction to make the idea of building upwards a reality,” said the crown prince.

He added, “NEOM will be a place for all people from across the globe to make their mark on the world in creative and innovative ways. NEOM remains one of the most important projects of Saudi Vision 2030, and our commitment to delivering The Line on behalf of the nation remains resolute.”

The city’s design will be completely digitised, and the construction industrialised to a large degree by significantly advancing construction technologies and manufacturing processes.

The Line, which is only 200 metres wide, 170 kilometres long and 500 metres above sea level, will eventually accommodate 9 million residents and will be built on a footprint of 34 square kilometres, reducing the infrastructure footprint of the city.

Further into The Line’s design, NEOM revealed that the city will be designed with the concept referred to as Zero Gravity Urbanism in mind. The idea of layering city functions vertically while giving people the possibility of moving seamlessly in three dimensions (up, down or across) to access them. Unlike cities with just tall buildings, this concept layers public parks and pedestrian areas, schools, homes and places for work, so that one can move effortlessly to reach all daily needs within five minutes.

The Line will also have an outer mirror façade, allowing it to blend with nature, while the interior will be built to create extraordinary experiences for people living within the city.

Link to ITP.net

Read the latest here: ‘Revolution in civilisation’: Saudi Arabia previews 170km mirrored skyscraper offering ‘autonomous’ services

.The featured image above is credit to Rojgar Samachar

 

Keeping Cost of Renewables Low Is Not Enough

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Francesco Luise in IMPAKTER Energy elaborates on a successful Energy Transition that requires more than keeping the cost of Renewables low because it is not enough.

 

For a Successful Energy Transition: Keeping Cost of Renewables Low Is Not Enough

 Francesco Luise

So far, the narrative has focused on cheap renewables to counter fossil fuels, but without well-functioning and diversified supply chains to ensure energy security, the energy transition is at risk

Adding to the list of novelties of our times, we now have the first global energy crisis. And it comes at a time in which we still struggle to make the switch to renewables that is necessary for international energy security.

That’s what the International Energy Agency’s boss Fatih Birol told the Sydney Energy Forum, where global energy and climate leaders had gathered this week.

The energy crunch has not even peaked yet, Birol specified. Energy prices are currently expected to increase by 50% on average in 2022.

The discussion was centred on how to scale up and strengthen supply chains for the clean energy technologies needed to ensure a secure and affordable transition to net-zero emissions.

For the occasion, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has published a series of reports from which we learn that the level of geographical concentration in global supply chains has reached (very) unsustainable levels and can hinder the global energy transition.

Where we’re at with renewables: Still far from what we need

For the first time, the two main variable renewable energy sources – solar and wind – generated more than 10% of electricity globally in 2021. Albeit good news, this is still far from what we need: the IEA says we should target 70% for 2050, IRENA 63%.

Source: Ember

This might seem counterintuitive, as solar and wind installations keep breaking records. In 2022, following yet another global annual installation record with 167.8 GW of capacity grid-connected globally in 2021, solar PV has passed the Terawatt milestone.

Furthermore, tenders for solar PV projects awarded below the USD 2 cents level are no longer surprising. Last year, a new world record was set in Saudi Arabia with a winning bid of 1.04 USD cents per kWh. But the latest development in solar auctions is a first negative bid of minus 4.13 EUR cents per kWh – meaning the developer accepts to pay the electrical system instead of being paid for the power the plant generates over the duration of the contract – that won a Portuguese floating solar tender in April 2022 (a hybrid project including wind capacity and battery storage, which will overcompensate the negative returns from the solar plant).

The global wind industry had its second-best year in 2021, with a total power capacity now up to 837 GW. In particular, offshore wind power had its best year in 2021 with 21.1 GW of capacity commissioned, three times more than in 2020 and bringing its market share in global new installations to 22.5%.

Yet, despite the remarkable growth rates, a joint study by the Global Solar Council and the Global Wind Energy Council found that there will be a 29% shortfall in the projected wind and solar capacity required in this decade to keep the world on a net-zero pathway.

Source: GWEC, GSC

Driven by the increasing cost of materials, freight, fuel and labour, the cost of new-build onshore wind has risen 7% year on year, and fixed-axis solar has jumped 14%. Thus, the global benchmark levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) – the price at which the electricity generated should be sold in order for the system to break even at the end of its lifetime, used to plan investments and to compare different power sources – has temporarily retreated to where it was in 2019.

High commodity prices and supply chain bottlenecks have led to an increase of around 20% in solar panel prices over the last 12 months and delays in deliveries across the globe.

Source: BloombergNEF

So, although the gap with fossil fuel power generation continues to widen due to oil and gas prices rising even faster, challenges across the renewables supply chain are becoming increasingly worrying.

The role of China: A renewable energy stronghold

China has the world’s largest solar and wind power capacities, and not by a tiny bit. A third of all solar PV and half of all wind global additions in 2021 were installed in China. 

To put this into perspective, according to SolarPower Europe, China added some 55GW of solar capacity last year, twice as much as the second largest market – the United States – and as much as the other top five markets combined. A new year-on-year record, which brings the total capacity of the country to over 300GW.

Over the last decade, government and industrial Chinese policies focused on solar power as a strategic sector have enabled huge economies of scale and shaped the global supply, demand and price of solar PV. Pushed by higher prices and less confident policies, the global solar PV manufacturing capacity has thus increasingly left Europe, Japan and the United States and flowed into China.

As a result, the Asian country now dominates the entire global supply chain and has taken the lead on investment and innovation.

China has invested over USD 50 billion in new solar PV supply capacity – ten times more than Europe − and created more than 300,000 manufacturing jobs across the solar PV value chain since 2011, the IEA reports. In addition, the country is home to the world’s 10 top suppliers of solar PV manufacturing equipment.

China is the most cost-competitive location to manufacture all components of the solar PV supply chain, with costs 10% lower than in India, 20% lower than in the United States, and 35% lower than in Europe.

That’s why today China’s share in all the key manufacturing stages of solar panels exceeds 80% and for key elements including polysilicon and wafers, this is set to rise to more than 95% by 2025. Basically a monopoly on solar tech.

Supply chains are choking

China’s market has been no less than vital for the downward trend in the costs of renewables and, in particular, to make solar PV the most affordable electricity generation technology in many parts of the world. However, such a major concentration poses significant threats to the energy transition and security of supply that governments must address.

Pressure on global supply chains created by abrupt Covid-related closings and re-openings of world economies – and China has adopted even more stringent lockdown measures than anyone in the West, causing serious economic disruptions both in China and abroad – has been compounded by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. And now, supply disruptions and soaring prices are affecting a wide range of key commodities across the globe and causing political tensions and even crises, notably in Ecuador and Sri Lanka.

Fierce competition for raw materials, bottlenecks in manufacturing capacity and logistics, pressure on margins across the entire value chain, combined with long lead times for mining projects, risk undermining the pace of clean energy transitions. Without concrete action, the crisis will worsen.

To be on track for net-zero by mid-century, global production capacity for the key building blocks of solar panels – polysilicon, ingots, wafers, cells and modules – would need to more than double by 2030 from today’s levels and existing production facilities would need to be modernised. Despite improvements in using materials more efficiently, in fact, the solar PV industry’s demand for critical minerals is set to expand significantly.

The US Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm told the Sydney Energy Forum that accelerating the clean energy transition “could be the greatest peace plan of all” and that it is truly about energy security and nations’ independence.

But as governments around the world are seeking to limit the worst effects of climate change while abandoning risky fossil-fuel dependencies, they need to turn their attention to ensuring the security of renewable technologies supplies as an integral part of clean energy transitions.

In other words, global energy security needs to be redefined to include the supply of the minerals, materials and manufacturing capabilities necessary to deliver clean energy technologies, and cover areas such as energy consumption, emissions, employment, production costs, investment, and trade and financial performance.

In stronger and diversified supply chains lie big opportunities

Attention needs to be increasingly focused on the high reliance of many countries on imports of energy, raw materials and manufacturing goods that are key to their supply security.

To expand and diversify the global production of renewable technology, reducing supply chain vulnerabilities is critical for a secure transition to net zero emissions. But such efforts also offer significant economic and environmental opportunities, explains the IEA.

New solar PV manufacturing facilities along the global supply chain could attract USD 120 billion of investment by 2030. And the solar PV sector has the potential to create 1,300 manufacturing jobs for each gigawatt of production capacity, with the most job-intensive segments being module and cell manufacturing, and could double total PV manufacturing jobs to one million by 2030.

Improving recycling capabilities also entails great opportunities. Recycling solar panels keeps them out of landfills, but also provides much-needed raw materials with a value approaching $80 billion by 2050.

If panels were systematically collected at the end of their lifetime, supplies from recycling them could meet over 20% of the solar PV industry’s demand for aluminum, copper, glass, silicon and almost 70% for silver between 2040 and 2050 according to the IEA.

To inform the conversations at the Sydney Energy Forum, the IEA has published a series of new studies, including the Securing Clean Energy Technology Supply Chains report, which contains specific insights for the Indo-Pacific region that is home to major raw material producers such as Australia for lithium and Indonesia for nickel.

The report identifies five pillars for governments and industry action: Diversify, Accelerate, Innovate, Collaborate and Invest.

It recommends improving the efficiency and speed of permitting and approving clean energy projects and critical mineral production while maintaining high environmental and labour standards and promoting robust recycling industries to reduce demand for raw materials.

Increasing and prioritising investment in research and development, as well as in the training of skilled local workforces, can lead to technologies and manufacturing processes that rely on smaller quantities of critical minerals or on a more diversified mix.

Shifting from cheap energy to energy security

So although renewables are still by far the cheapest form of power today, it’s necessary to recede from the “cheap” narrative and rather concentrate on renewable sources’ true (and unique) potential to generate energy security at stable prices – at consumer, developer, operator and decision-maker levels.

Cheap comes at a price.

Not only has China’s industry drawn concerns about human and labour rights but the electricity-intensive manufacturing of solar PV is mostly powered by fossil fuels because of the prominent role of coal in the parts of China where production is concentrated – mainly in the provinces of Xinjiang and Jiangsu, where coal accounts for more than 75% of the annual power supply.

Solar panels still only need to operate for four to eight months to offset their manufacturing emissions and then have a lifetime of 25 to 30 years. However, these CO2 emissions could be reduced with a less carbon-intensive power mix.

In this regard, Europe holds the highest potential — says the IEA — given the considerable shares of renewables and nuclear available, followed by countries in Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa that have strong hydropower output.

Building solar PV manufacturing infrastructure around low-carbon industrial clusters can unlock the benefits of economies of scale. Solar and wind sectors could look at energy storage and e-mobility examples of gigafactories in the EU and the US, applying a more modularised approach to their value chains.

One of the priorities is to designate extensive suitable areas (land and maritime) for renewable projects and improve auction design. Auctions are important as they allow for higher project bankability due to fixed returns for investors for long periods of time.

Volumes on offer in the renewables wholesale market, however, are often not in any way aligned with climate targets nor with investor interests. This distorts the market and can lead to insufficient remuneration for investors to provide the high upfront working capital needed for large-scale renewable energy projects.

Featured Photo Credit: Oregon Department of Transportation.

Sustainability helps reduce the environmental impact of industry

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Would Sustainability in the manufacturing sector help reduce the environmental impact of the industry, or as put by Nabil Nasr of Rochester Institute of Technology, who below talks about how Sustainability helps reduce the environmental impact of the industry. 

In their respective effort to develop and diversify their economies, the MENA countries would do well, unlike the developed countries hundreds of years ago, consider Sustainability and factor it in.  The sooner these countries can meet the current requirements would certainly lighten their future generation of entrepreneurs when tackling the world’s most significant challenge of Sustainability.

The image above is on how Sustainable manufacturing offers ways to reduce environmental impact.
Fertnig/E+ via Getty Images

 

How sustainable manufacturing could help reduce the environmental impact of industry

 

Nabil Nasr is the associate provost and director of the Golisano Institute for Sustainability at Rochester Institute of Technology. He is also the CEO of the Remade Institute, which was established by the U.S. government to conduct early-stage R&D to accelerate the transition to circular economy, which is a sustainable industrial model for improved resource efficiency and decreased systemic energy, emissions and waste generation. Below are highlights from an interview with The Conversation. Here, Nasr explains some of the ideas behind sustainable manufacturing and why they matter. Answers have been edited for brevity and clarity.

Nabil Nasr, associate provost and director of the Golisano Institute for Sustainability at Rochester Institute of Technology, discusses sustainable manufacturing and other topics.

How would you explain sustainable manufacturing? What does the average person not know or understand about sustainable manufacturing?

When we talk about sustainable manufacturing, we mean cleaner and more efficient systems with less resource consumption, less waste and emissions. It is to simply minimize any negative impact on the environment while we are still meeting demand, but in much more efficient and sustainable ways. One example of sustainable manufacturing is an automotive factory carrying out its production capacity with 10% of its typical emission due to advanced and efficient processing technology, reducing its production waste to near zero by figuring out how to switch its shipping containers of supplied parts from single use to reusable ones, accept more recycled materials in production, and through innovation make their products more efficient and last longer.

Sustainability is about the proper balance in a system. In our industrial system, it means we are taking into account the impact of what we do and also making sure we understand the impact on the supply side of natural resources that we use. It is understanding environmental impacts and making sure we’re not causing negative impacts unnecessarily. It’s being able to ensure that we are able to satisfy our demands now and in the future without facing any environmental challenges.

Early on at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, emissions, waste and natural resource consumption were low. A lot of the manufacturing impacts on the environment were not taken into account because the volumes that we were generating were much, much lower than we have today. The methods and approaches in manufacturing we use today are really built on a lot of those approaches that we developed back then.

The reality is that the situation today has drastically changed, but our approaches have not. There is plenty of industrialization going on around the globe. And, there is plenty of pollution and waste generated. In addition, a lot of materials we use in manufacturing are nonrenewable resources.

So it sounds like countries that are industrialized now picked up a lot of bad habits. And we know that growth is coming from these developing nations and we don’t want them to repeat those bad habits. But we want to raise their standard of living just without the consequences that we brought to the environment.

Yeah, absolutely. So there was an article I read a long time ago that said China and India either will destroy the world or save it. And I think the rationale was that if China and India copy the model and technologies used in the West to building its industrial system, the world will see drastic negative impact on the environment. The key factor here is the significantly high scale of activities needed to support their very large populations. However, if they are much more innovative and come up with much more efficient and cleaner methods better than used in the West to build up industrial enterprises, they would save the world because the scale of what they do is significant.

In talking about how these two countries could either ruin or save the world, do you remain an optimist?

Absolutely. I serve on the the United Nations Environment Program’s International Resource Panel. One of the IRP’s roles is to inform policy through validated independent scientific studies. One of the panel’s reports is called the Global Resources Outlook. The last report was published in 2019.

The experts are saying that if business as usual continues, we’re probably going to increase greenhouse gas emission by 43% by 2060. However, if we employ effective sustainability measures across the globe, we can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by a significant percentage, even by as much as 90%. A 2018 study I led for the IRP found that applying remanufacturing alongside other resource recovery methods like comprehensive refurbishment, repair and reuse could cut greenhouse gas emissions of those products by 79%–99% across manufacturing supply chains.

So there is optimism if we employ many sustainability measures. However, I’ve been around long enough to know that it’s always disappointing to see that the indicators are there; the approaches to address some of those issues are identified, but the will to actually employ them isn’t. Despite this, I’m still optimistic because we know enough about the right path forward and it is still not too late to move in the right direction.

Were there any lessons we’ve learned during the COVID-19 pandemic that we can apply to challenges we’re facing?

We learned a lot from the COVID crisis. When the risk became known, even though not all agreed, people around the globe took significant measures and actions to address the challenge. We accepted changes to the way we live and interact, we marshaled all of our resources to develop vaccines and address the medical supply shortages. The bottom line is that we rose to the occasion and we, in most part, took actions to deal with the risk in a significant way.

The environmental challenges we face today, like climate change, are serious global challenges as well. However, they have been occurring over a long time and, unfortunately, mostly have not been taken as seriously as they should have been. We certainly have learned that when we have the will to address serious challenges, we can meet them.

Final question. Give me the elevator pitch on remanufacturing.

Remanufacturing is a process by which we bring a product that has been used back to a like-new-or-better condition. Through a rigorous industrial process, we disassemble the product to the component level. We clean, inspect and restore it, qualifying every part. We then reassemble the product similar to what happened when it was built the first time. The reality is that by doing so, you’re using anywhere from 70% to 90% of the materials recovered from the use phase. This has significantly far lower impacts on the environment when compared to making new products from raw materials.

You don’t mine virgin material for that. You’re saving the energy that made those parts; you’re saving the capital equipment that made those parts; you’re saving the labor cost. So the savings are significant. The overall savings are about 50%. For example, a remanufactured vehicle part in the United States requires less than 10% of the energy needed to make a new one, and less than 5% of new materials. That means lower costs for the producer while providing the consumer with a very high-quality product. Examples of commonly remanufactured products are construction equipment, automotive engines and transmissions, medical equipment and aircraft parts. Those products are similar to brand-new products, and companies like Xerox, Caterpillar and GE all have made remanufacturing an important part of their overall operations.

Nabil Nasr, Associate Provost Academic Affairs and Director of GIS, Rochester Institute of Technology

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.