The government’s recently released energy strategy may place a heavy emphasis on the continued extraction of fossil fuels, but at least there are other initiatives happening in our backyard that lend themselves to creating a cleaner and greener future. The NZ Clean Energy Centre is a good place to start and, come October, you have the chance to hear from some of the front runners in New Zealand’s clean tech field as part of the centre’s inaugural NZ Clean Energy Expo.
According to the centres chief executive Rob McEwen, when it comes to clean energy ideas, innovations and solutions, there’s a heap to talk about. There’s the geothermal industry for starters, which is undergoing a huge renaissance. As part of the expo’s ‘Energising Geothermal’ workshop on Oct 13, Chris Mulcare of New Zealand Trade & Enterprise will discuss NZ Geothermal Inc, a new initiative designed to leverage New Zealand’s strengths in geothermal into global market opportunities. New Zealand Trade & Enterprise is one of the drivers of the initiative.
Day two of the expo features the ‘Energising Biomaterials’ workshop and exhibit, plumped up with an impressive lineup of expert presenters. They include LanzaTech, who has been performing some mighty impressive feats in the area of waste conversion. The cleantech company recently won the Frost & Sullivan 2011 Global Green Excellence Award for technology innovation in Green Chemistry.
Also presenting in the ‘Energising Biomaterials’ workshop is Vertichem, a rising star in green chemistry and a tenant of the NZ Clean Energy Centre. Vertichem has been honing its skills on a process that separates the lignin from cellulose in hardwoods, using the lignin to replace petrochemical derived polymers in a wide range of products, while converting the cellulose into ethanol for transport fuel.
Days three and four feature a public expo. More than 20 clean energy exhibitors will showcase their wares as part of the expo. Tours of the centre to see three small wind turbines, three solar hot water systems, two solar electric systems and a geothermal heating solution in action will also be offered.
As part of the expo, at least three companies will be demonstrating electric vehicles (see images below) and in line with that, the expo will also feature free workshop, ‘The car of the future: Is it Electric?’ The NZ Clean Energy Centre is home to New Zealand’s only networked electric vehicle charging station, giving attendees the opportunity to see what the petrol station of the future might look like.
Another free public workshop will examine micro hydro, micro wind and solar options, while the last will examine progress towards building homes that generate their own electricity and actually supply energy to the grid.
For the detailed expo lineup and all other information, visit the expo website, www.cleanenergyexpo.co.nz