Environmental technologies are needed to solve environmental problems in Norway and internationally and a clear strategy for environmental technology research, development and innovation can strengthen Norwegian entreprises.
The environmental technology market is expanding rapidly in Norway, with new technologies and institutes providing new business opportunities for the industry. One example is the Norwegian firm Tomra, which produces and operates cost-effective systems for bottle return. Advanced technology has been developed to identify and sort the various bottles. This illustrates the importance of an ambitious and active environment policy, whilst underlining the important role that trade and industry have to play with regard to finding practical solutions.
The Norwegian government aims to be a driving force in international work on environmental protection and in the fight against poverty. The development and use of environmental technology will be most important in order to meet these challenges. Through reduced use of energy and resources, reduced use of hazardous chemicals and increased recycling of waste, environmental technology contributes both to improving the environment and to economic development.
Environmental technology has already brought about a number of positive results. In the battle against acid rain, the development of catalytic converters for automobile emissions has been extremely important. This has reduced nitrogen emissions from automobiles by 70 percent in Norway. Another example is the development and installation of “seawater scrubbers”, which has led to a 90-percent reduction in acidic emissions from the aluminium industry. Such success stories illustrate that it pays to invest in more environmentally friendly technology.
It should also be mentioned that the energy utilization of waste is taking the place of landfill deposition. Incineration facilities utilize on the average some 70 percent of the energy in waste. The amount of waste for incineration has doubled in 10 years, while the waste deposited at landfills has been reduced by 30 percent. This implies reduced climate gas emissions, both as a result of reduced emissions from landfills and because the energy generated may replace energy generated from fossil fuels.
An example of an environmental technology that has not yet brought about the very best results, but which will be extremely important in the years to come, is CO2 handling. The Norwegian government is highly committed to the development of such technology. Norway has excellent conditions for CO2 deposition in offshore underground structures. The Norwegian government emphasizes the significance of international collaboration in the realization of such solutions. Norwegian actors are also participating actively in international technology and research collaborations on CO2 handling.
Pioner in environmental technology
A key element for meeting the challenges of reduced consumptions of resources, energy and hazardous chemicals both nationally and internationally is the development of environmental technology. The Norwegian government wants to position Norway as a pioneer nation in this area, and create the necessary conditions for this through an ambitious environmental policy, as well as through better collaboration between the public sector, the private sector and the civil society.
Today, environmental technology and environmental friendly solutions are among the fastest growing industries globally. The world market for environmental technology is estimated to 550 billion Euros per year. The
Nordic export market is estimated to 11.5 billion Euros.