The Sir Mark Olifant Cleantech conference has been a lot of fun so far, from Eric Isaac’s opening overview of the the issues (and solutions) to Stefan Hajkowicz’s analysis of megatrends that will shape our future technology development.
I’m still struck by how much cleantech seems to be focused in a few rather obvious areas, something which effectively prices a lot of technologies out of the market, and the excessive valuations thus generated tend to make it almost impossible to get a return for most investors. Sometimes meeting the problem head on isn’t the best strategy, and it is better to wait until a problem has been cracked and then capitalise on the myriad opportunities that spin out – as with mobile phones you don’t have to invent the device to make money from it.
My focus is more on how nanotechnology, by its nature is more akin to what nature does. As Eric Isaacs mentioned this morning, we are almost at the stage where we can create materials by design, or in his his words ‘we can almost taste it’ – something that opens up a whole new world of sustainable everything.
A preview of my presentation is available here – with the caveat that it works better if you hear me tell the story behind it!