Waste to energy
In the cleantech future there will be no such thing as waste: resources will endlessly move from one useful process to the next. One of the New Zealand companies helping to make this a reality is Aquaflow. The company is pioneering methods of removing unwanted algae from freshwater and using that algae to create biofuels. It has done such an impressive job of this that is has already developed a partnership with the US Department of Energy, and has seen its product successfully refined into diesel and jet fuel by US fuel research giant UOP. Its ‘green crude’ is also beginning to yield commercially valuable chemicals that can be used in industry and manufacturing.
Director Nick Gerritsen describes his work in the sector as stressful, nerve wracking and exhilarating all at once.
“The difficulty in securing capital within the New Zealand market remains the biggest challenge. We have been raising capital continuously from qualifying investors. When it comes to cleantech as a country we are still in this ‘does it exist, or doesn’t it?’ mode, which most other wealthy countries have jumped past probably three to five years ago. I think that until New Zealand gains the confidence to look at the opportunity practically, and apply its common sense, cleantech will struggle here.”
Algae: blight or fuel source?