Producing water from the air or extracting energy from the sea or land. These are some of the possible scenarios in terms of sustainability and energy transition. Topics on which the researchers of the Politecnico di Torino are focusing their efforts and which they discussed at the webinar entitled “Sustainability and independence: water from air, energy from the sea and land”, in the context of the Tech Share Day 2021, organised by Netval, the network that brings together 90% all universities, research centers and higher institutes in Italy, together with the Italian Patent and Trademark Office (UIBM) of the Ministry of Economic Development and with the support of the Politecnico di Torino.
These technologies, based on water and energy, two of the seventeen objectives that are part of the 2030 Agenda signed by the United Nations, are central to finding alternative solutions for the production of clean energy and drinking water and to accelerate the program of action for sustainable development. Despite this, their transfer to the market is not easy, as it must overcome the challenge of developing, testing and improving sometimes complex technologies.
The point is here. In the world that is racing towards the environmental and energy transition, in which technologies are fundamental to open new perspectives, Italian university research must play all its cards to keep up and not lose the course, despite the unavoidable difficulties. And the cards are good. To get an overview of the innovations produced by research and university centers in Italy and the main green technologies under development , Tech Share Day 2021 was a unique opportunity. The event, designed to enhance thousands of innovative patents contained in the Knowledge Share platform , aimed to “share” knowledge on technology and innovation, bring investors and businesses closer to the researchers who develop and ground ideas, give legs to projects that can contribute to the digital and environmental transition underway.
A challenge, that of tech transfer , ever bigger and more heartfelt, in which all of us – both in the world of research and in the entrepreneurial world – play a role of great responsibility in favoring encounters and opportunities. .
The world energy scene is moving at a dizzying pace like never before. Many of the world’s largest economies have adopted targets for net greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, and 189 countries have joined the 2015 Paris climate agreement, which aims to limit global warming to well below 2 ° C. In a race to curb climate change, many countries are rushing to cut fossil fuels, promote clean energy, and transform their economies in the process.
A global ferment on the path of green energy that risks leaving behind, within a decade, the states and companies that are not investing in environmental conversion. With a consequent reversal in global geopolitical power. Countries or regions that master – and protect by patenting – clean technology, export green energy, or import fewer fossil fuels can benefit from the new system, while those that rely on fossil fuel exports – such as the Middle East or Russia – could see their power decline. A transition, therefore, like all the great economic revolutions in history, which risks not taking prisoners. Whoever wastes time now is out. The pandemic accelerated the trend: clean energy was the only part of the energy sector that experienced growth in 2020.
In this context, it is essential to bring out the role that innovation will have, with multiple technologies competing with each other, in supporting a transition to more sustainable ways of production, in need of discontinuity, new thoughts and new tools. It is difficult now to predict which paths will be dominant, but it is certainly useful and necessary to know what exists, to analyse the technological lines of today, on which current and future projects will be based , at the basis of the new energy and environmental scenario.