The upcoming 15th European Innovation Summit, taking place in the European Parliament in Brussels, will explore the strategies and technologies that can help achieve Europe’s Green Deal's ambitious objectives. These objectives span a wide range of areas, from decarbonization and renewable energy sources like green hydrogen and wind power to the transformation of food systems and the challenges of resource scarcity as well as the need for advanced materials and a powerful circular economy. The summit recognizes the pivotal role of digital, green and deep technologies in driving these changes, but also emphasizes that the planet's boundaries are non-negotiable.
While technological solutions are paramount, the summit will also spotlight the importance of sustainable finance and impact investing. The EU's sustainable finance agenda, particularly the "Green Deal Industrial Plan," seeks to bolster the transition to aclimate-neutral economy by promoting private funding for sustainable projects.Numerous EU funding programs, such as Horizon Europe including EIC and EIT, the Recovery and Resilience Facility and REPowerEU, offer support. However, the complex landscape of these funding opportunities can be daunting for startups and innovative businesses.
Key institutions like the European Investment Fund (EIF) and the European Investment Bank (EIB) are strongly supporting the climate tech sector, with investments and guarantee schemes that align with the Green Deal's goals. In the backdrop of rapid technological advancements and intense global competition, the European Union is at a crossroads. The summit's discussions on ‘Accelerating Green’ and 'Competing Green,' will dive into the EU's strategy to emerge as a global leader in the clean industrial revolution. Central to the discourse will be strategies to attract more funding to European clean tech industries from private investors and by means of the Strategic Technologies for Europe Platform (‘STEP') and the feasibility of a "European Sovereignty Fund".
The conference aims to provide a comprehensive view on Europe's green transition, focusing on sustainable technologies, finance, and a supportive legislative framework.
With substantial investment from initiatives like Horizon Europe, which dedicates a significant budgetary allocation towards climate objectives, biodiversity, and digital transformation, Europe is well-positioned to convert scientific discovery into practical, market-ready green technologies.
Turning scientific knowledge and research outcomes into new green and digital businesses is a major opportunity for European startups and innovative businesses that drive the transformation towards a green and circular economy.
Together with European Partnerships, EIC and EIT, Technical universities, leading incubators and entrepreneurship centres as well as investors the summit will show ways how Europe can capitalize on its strong research and knowledge base in support of startups and innovative businesses, leading globally the green and digital transition.
The summit will also feature emerging renewable energy technologies, take a deep dive into the challenges to access critical raw materials for the green transition, present climate geoengineering solutions and introduce emerging Research & Innovation Networks involving candidate,accession as well as third countries.
For the Green and Digital Transition we need research and innovation because for implementing some of the legislation that we are imposing we still do not have all the necessary technology. For some we have it, and we can achieve the targets with the existing technology, but for some other we don't have it, like the air transport, shipping, and some of the energy intensive industry. For that, we need to continue investing a lot on research and innovation, demonstration, pilot scales, etc. This is why we have already started a campaign, myself and my colleague Christian Ehler, calling for doubling the budget for FP 10.
Europe's journey towards a sustainable and innovative future is driven by our commitment to transforming groundbreaking research into impactful innovations contributing to the European Green Deal objectives. Through initiatives like the European Innovation Council (EIC), we are empowering startups and businesses to lead the global transition towards a green economy, ensuring Europe remains a beacon of creativity, collaboration, and excellence.
CEO at Taguspark – Knowledge City
Taguspark - Knowledge City, the leading science and tech park in the Iberian Peninsula, prioritizes European growth and work-life balance. Emphasizing zero environmental impact, waste recycling, energy independence, and labour dignity, it's set to be Europe's most civic park. Committed to arts and culture, it fosters a vibrant environment for the science and tech innovation ecosystem, reflecting a dedication to excellence and bright minds.
Europe is extremely good at generating ideas and visions of breakthrough tech but it is not so successful pushing these ideas into concrete innovations to the market. The European Innovation Council is there to help overcome this paradox.
Many innovative, green solutions need to happen, let us make it in EUROPE now.
There are big challenges. The first challenge to create entrepreneurial impact is accessibility to funding. Funding is extremely important in the in the pre-seed phase and in the early seed phase. The second challenge, in the energy transition, for example, is that a great proposal doesn't fit the regulations yet. The third challenge is to build proof points since the innovations are not yet recognized.
The European Institute of Gender Equality published the 26th of October 2023 the report on Why gender equality is the “silver bullet” for meaningful climate action, in which they prove our hypothesis of female entrepreneurs and female researchers, being more likely to start sustainable business than men. So, why not review our financial Ecosystem, as the Venture Capital, to really be impactful? How we can measure this impact in the green and digital transition, if 99% of the funds go to male entrepreneurs?
The ACRID Network, comprise 9 associate and candidate countries, more than 144 experts and more than 200 entities. The network, connected with K4I since 2014, and aligned to the EIA Manifesto, emphasizes Research & Innovation, and support the Green, and Digital transition. It underscores the imperative of linking Western Balkan countries to Western European member states for ongoing and future collaborative activities.
If we speak about decarbonization, there are many, many challenges. First, how to produce enough green energy, then how to make this energy affordable. And one of the biggest challenges: how to store energy. I think that Iron Power Technology is a very exciting and promising solutions for the future.
Research and innovation in all forms of energy storage, including for stationary and long-duration applications, are essential to allow the greater penetration of renewable energy sources.
The warning is that people from outside Europe, like America, Russia, or Asia, are also seeing that this technology is promising and contacting this type of startups. And it's also for you to take care that we don't give everything away to companies or politics outside of Europe.
The clean, circular, dense and cost competitive large-scale and long-term sustainable energy carrier Iron power will play a crucial role in the energy transition and will create a leading role for Europe worldwide.
Our solution involves to deploy Iron Fuel Technology™, a clean technology that uses iron powder as a CO2-free, safe and grid-independent energy carrier. We are developing the Iron Fuel Technology™ for cost-effective mass-scale deployment worldwide, to address 12% of total GHG emissions.
The EU is known for a wide spectrum of grant instruments supporting the way to a clean economy. However, most of all, private funding for first-of-a-kind systems of capital intensive clean technologies needs to be de-risked in order to reduce costs of financing for these systems and enable adoption.
As we wrote in the report on SMRs, it is very important that we develop this new generations of nuclear technologies. We ask in the report support from the European Commission and it is very promising what we heard from Commissioner Kadri Simson at the nuclear forum in Bratislava, that the Commission will support also these initiatives.
We have started to work on this four years ago, when the focus was very much on large reactors, and the attention of the Commission was more on the renewables. Then we had joint business to business event with the US, we realized that the US was very much about the “let's get the SMR's rolling”.
We realize that in on the European side, we're researching, we're designing, which is great, but we don't have anything that's ready for to market. So, we came up with ambitious targets to get SMRs deployed in the EU by 2030.
In order to fully decarbonize our societies, we will have not only to provide low Carbon electricity to the grid, but also to tackle the challenge of low carbon Hydrogen and Industrial Heat. SMRs can play a role to achieve these goals, with more flexible siting possibilities, simpler design and passive safety features.
The Nuclear Alliance issued a statement where they consider that 150 GW of nuclear installed capacity is achievable in 2050. SMRs are part of this solution, with about the 50 GW from classic SMRs and around 10 GW, starting from 2040 from AMRs.
Nuclear energy is a key component for a sustainable global energy system. The integration of SMRs and AMRs will complement the existing offer for large nuclear reactors in such sustainable energy systems. Three key challenges for these reactors are: ensuring bankability, timely delivery, and developing an efficient fuel cycle and waste management strategy.
Deploying a clear, concise, and coordinated regulatory framework at the EU-level is key to ensure the rapid and effective deployment of SMRs and other innovative nuclear technologies.
We need something that supports the stability of the system as well. This is how we can attain our sovereignty and support EU industry activity in the long term.
As we navigate through the fast-paced currents of the digital age, the Quantum Internet emerges as the technology of the future, offering unprecedented opportunities and transforming the landscape of communication, computation, and security.