'100% Climate Neutrality' at Alsion attracted over 400 participants from all over Europe. The participants learned about the latest research in sustainable energy, and it was made clear that governments and countries alone cannot solve climate problems - support is needed from civilians, industry, towns and municipalities.
It's about what kind of world we leave to our children. Action has to be taken now! I refuse to live in a world of ignorant people who don't take climate problems seriously. I don't care where they are from or of which country they are President!
Henrik Dam, Vice Chancellor of SDU, spoke in capital letters when he took the stage to welcome participants to this week's climate conference at Alsion in Sønderborg. The conference was arranged by SDU's Mads Clausen Institute in Sønderborg along with Hochschule Flensburg, Europa-Universität Flensburg, ProjectZero, Kimapakt Flensburg, CLEAN and Sønderborg Vækstråd. The aim of the conference was to exchange knowledge about how to work most effectively towards 100% climate neutrality on Danish soil - and in the whole world.
Everyone must act
However, it is not only the responsibility of researchers to save our earth. The planet is literally melting around us, and the most prominent scientists in climate change think it is unlikely that we can keep the temperature increase below 2 degrees by the year 2100. Immediate action must be taken by industry, towns, municipalities and also you and me.
- Many people say that the Climate Conference in Copenhagen was a big failure. And of course it was a failure in the sense that the targets set were neither ambitious enough nor lived up to what we had hoped and expected. What we learned from Copenhagen, on the other hand, was invaluable: namely that if we want to solve climate problems it isn't enough to leave it up to political leaders and countries, because without support from towns and mayors, industry and business leaders, researchers and the population, it simply isn't possible, said one of the speakers, Jesper Nygård from Realdania.
We can still make it
Although future climate predictions are gloomy, there is a small light in the darkness. Although we are all in the same boat, like Titanic heading for the iceberg, we can still change the course of catastrophe. The necessary technology already exists, according to the CEO of Clean Cluster Denmark, Carsten Orth Gaarn-Larsen:
- It is imperative that we reduce our energy consumption by 50%. But it IS possible. We already have the technology to optimize buildings and industrial processes, and that's why a conference like '100% Climate Neutrality' is so important. We have to share the technology and the knowledge we each have.
Industry and Research Institutions as Drivers
In parallel sessions the different goals on how to use the energy more efficient and intelligent were discussed. Danfoss provided examples of how supermarkets can save a great deal of money and an immense amount of energy by using surplus heat. New developments in power electronics allow for smaller and more effective electric motors , better use of renewable energies and more smart houses. The Interreg project ‘Green Power Electronics’ connects the players in the field around the Baltic Sea and brings their solutions to the market.
These were not the only examples for efficient use of energy. Within the session ‘Intelligent Energy Systems’ it was shown that there is a lot of new technology and networks being used to distribute energy and to exchange it between consumers and producers. This exchange should happen in an intelligent way in the future, flattening peak consumption times by a smart combination of storage and use of energy. The Interreg project carpeDIEM, for example, works across the Danish/German border on solving this problem. The EU is also on its way with new regulations in their ‘winter package’ to allow for a more intelligent use of the generated electricity and a more flexible energy system. Institutions like the FfE in Munich are involved in the different ways an intelligent energy system could work maintaining security of supply, environmental friendliness and economic viability.
A plentitude of activities during the conference days allowed the participants to inform themselves about new technologies via examples and facts on how the green revolution also creates jobs and new industries. It was quite a challenge for the participants to decide which of the parallel and thematically overlapping session to choose. For example did the SmartENCities Session comprise examples of energy savings, relocation of energy of bigger industries in the grid and storage of heat. For those that would like to have a deeper look on different aspects, the presentation slides can be found at:
Go home and keep working
It is now up to all of the conference's arrangers and participants to continue working on the analyses and the conclusion drawn during the two intense days of the '100% Climate Neutrality' conference.
- At the Mads Clausen Institute, we are well aware of societal problems, not least climate change. We see it as part of our responsibility to invent the technological solutions that will make a difference to daily life, both regionally and globally. We will continue to work hard on this, said Horst-Günter Rubahn, Head of the Mads Clausen Institute.
The Mads Clausen Institute researches in areas such as organic solar panels, which have the potential to create a revolution in solar energy as they can compete on price with oil and natural gas.