Information, information, information
A trinity of websites that provide information about the latest greenhouse gas
reducing technologies, and display demonstration projects as proof, have been
given a facelift by operating agent, Future Energy Solutions (FES).
IEM talked to Richard Shock, project director at FES, about mitigating greenhouse gas emissions over the world wide web.
The GREENTIE (Green-house Gas Technology Information Exchange) and CADDET (Centres for the Analysis and Dissemination of Demonstrated Energy Technologies) programmes are operated by Future Energy Solutions (FES), part of AEA Technology Environment; FES was chosen last year for this role from an international tender process. EETIC operates under the collaborative programme of the International Energy Agency (IEA).
CADDET comprises two centres, one for Renewable Energy (www.caddet-re.org) and one for Energy Efficiency (www.caddet-ee.org). Together with GREENTIE (www.greentie.org) they nobly aim to provide free information on environmental technologies and their suppliers. The websites have been available for some time but recently FES has rebuilt them to make them more user-friendly and more useful with new features such as multi-lingual pages.
But first, some background. The IEA was set up in the early 1970s in response to the oil supply crisis. One of its first steps was to establish a collaborative research and development and information programme among its member countries to reduce dependence on imported oil. All members of the IEA had to be members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Under the collaborative programme, IEA countries pool their resources and share the results of their work though over 40 Implementing Agreements. Participation by countries is self-funded and voluntary on an 'Agreement by Agreement' basis. EETIC runs under one of these Agreements - 12 IEA countries and the EC participate.
CADDET - Energy Efficiency, is the oldest of the three programmes, set up in 1988, with CADDET - Renewable Energy (RE) following it in 1993. They exchange, analyse and disseminate information related to energy efficiency and renewable energy.
Dr Richard Shock, FES project director for all three programmes, explains, "CADDET is based on a store of demonstration projects relating to energy efficiency and renewable energy - information which is often available within national boundaries but rarely outside them. CADDET, however, aims at trans-national dissemination - if there's a technology that's been tested and proven in Australia, Denmark or Sweden, why shouldn't potential users in the UK find out about it?
"On the other hand, CADDET can provide a shop window for technologies demonstrated in the UK. While the information is invaluable to decision-makers it clearly has wider relevance as countries signed up to the Kyoto Protocol develop their strategies for meeting their targets, either nationally, or through the Flexible Mechanisms."
Information on suitable projects is supplied by National Teams in the participating countries to the CADDET Centre at FES. "One of our strengths is that we are an independent organisation providing objective information about new technologies," says Shock, "While the websites are acting like a shop window with people looking at a project, it is about marketing technologies not products.
"The technical and financial performance of each project is tested at full scale and verified by experts. For example, there's a new technology that's come in from the Australian National Team recently which deals with leaks in compressed air systems. This project was sent to us and the details forwarded to FES technical specialists in that field with the expertise to spot invalid data or unbelievable claims.
"If the project passes this test, then it joins the database known as the InfoStore. Currently we have about 1,500 energy efficiency demonstration projects and 500 renewable energy projects on file."
Mike Landy, FES CADDET project manager says, "CADDET also ensures that the information is up-to-date. National Teams are encouraged to revise details or to remove old entries, especially when technologies, which were once the latest thing being demonstrated, are themselves overtaken by development."
GREENTIE on the other hand has a different focus. Set up to address an information vacuum in developing countries, it has at its heart a database of suppliers of technologies and services that are specifically aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions. In contrast to CADDET, it focuses on organisation's details, each company a card entry on a virtual, web-based rollerdeck.
GREENTIE Liaison Offices (GLOs) in participating OECD countries disseminate information about GREENTIE and encourage organisations in their countries to submit their details, which are then entered into the directory database. Of the 6,500 entries, the UK has contributed about 1,200.
Mike Gettings, FES GREENTIE project manager, also promises in the not too distant future a web page giving guidance to project financing and a facility to act as a 'marriage broker' between suppliers and users of technology.
GREENTIE's latest coup has been to build on the success of its Regional Partners
by developing a link with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). While
many of the GLOs from developing countries are full of enthusiasm, they often
receive little financial support for their operations, limiting the amount of
activity they can undertake. UNEP is establishing the Sustainable Alternatives
Network (SANet) to foster investment in sustainable solutions and bring local
support to deliver the services and augment the work of the GLOs.