Meet Bertrand Piccard in the Green Tech Valley 

A complete body of pioneers has paved the way in establishing what we, today, refer to as the Green Tech Valley: a global hotspot for climate protection and circular solutions, which is unparalleled in terms of the high density of innovators and range of expertise. 20 percent of the world’s green electrical power is generated by hydro and wind power and photovoltaic systems that originate from the Green Tech Valley. The innovative spirit in the Valley is part of its technology inheritance, starting with the invention of the revolutionary Kaplan turbine wheel in 1913 and extending through many other pioneering achievements to the present day.

It is, therefore, no surprise that futurists, like Bertrand Piccard from Switzerland, are travelling to the Global Innovation Summit in Graz to get a close-up view of the Valley. We had opportunity to talk about his vision in advance (see interview), and you can join him and other keynote speakers live at the Global Innovation Summit.

Solutions from the Green Tech Valley

Some 600 solutions for a green future are collectively concentrated under the 300 startups and companies of the Green Tech Valley. These Green Tech innovations cover heat, power, efficiency, mobility, materials flow, waste, construction, water as well as many other specialist sectors. The new Green Tech Valley Solutions platform has been structured around these specific areas. Under you can search for products and solutions, save them under a personal wish list and establish direct contact with the right people.

Global Innovation Summit

The virtual Global Innovation Summit will take place in Graz from 18 to 20 May and will be broadcast live around the world. 14 nations have already confirmed their participation and will take up the core theme of the green and digital transition. In addition to the inspiring program, with keynote speakers, Bertrand Piccard, Dorothee Ritz, Gabriel Felbermayr and Sabine Herlitschka, there are several simultaneous themed sessions on Green Transition, Post COVID and Digital Transformation. Over 1,500 participants are anticipated. Further information on participation can be found at – Register Now!

The session lead by the Green Tech Cluster will discuss how the Green Deal converts to the Green Lead. The co-organiser EUREKA, the world’s leading public network for international R&D cooperation in 45 countries, invites you to join in a highly exciting networking program around the theme of Funding & Networking. As host for this program of discussion and dialogue, the Green Tech Valley is on home turf and has one of the highest concentrations of leading innovation companies and research institutions.

The solutions of the Green Tech Valley are encouraging and extremely  useful. I am really amazed by the dynamism of the cleantech sector in Austria.

Bertrand Piccard – Pioneer for Sustainability

Bertrand Piccard, from Switzerland, achieved world acclaim as an adventurer and pilot through solar powered flight. Now he is showing the world how growth and environmental protection can go hand in hand. Piccard will give the Global Innovation Summit keynote address.

We had opportunity to talk about his vision in advance.

Green Tech Cluster:

When you circumnavigated the world in the solar aeroplane Solar Impulse II, in 2016, it changed public attitudes: It demonstrated, for the first time, that you can fly through the air over great distances without fossil fuels. How long will it be before average consumers can also fly under electrical power, without carbon emissions?

Bertrand Piccard:

Electrically powered aircraft can already fly with two to four people for up to one and a half hours. This is a start – I think we will have to wait about ten years before there will be mission-free short and medium-haul flights. The technology is already available: Batteries, hydrogen, synthetic fuels and lightweight construction. But we need to build up a critical mass first before this all becomes affordable.

Your arguments for climate-friendly technologies and business models seem so glaringly obvious, one could just say: “True!” But, why haven’t we taken the path to a green future a long time ago?

Simply because we didn’t have the technological capabilities in the past. Or they were there, but too expensive. And even today, there are too many people who do not understand that the situation has changed. Governments make promises about climate neutrality without having a clear idea of how it can be achieved.

Major changes in processes are initiated either from above or below. Will we conquer climate change by lots of small steps or with one big leap?

There is no one miracle solution for climate change. The real miracle lies in the fact that there are already 1,000 solutions available today that are having an effect at a local as well as global level. Because it is so difficult to find international agreement, local actors, companies or regions are now taking the lead in the fight against climate change.

At the Global Innovation Summit in Graz you will be talking to an audience about shaping the framework conditions for new innovation. Where lies the greatest shortfall in framework conditions?

Many statutory regulations are outdated because they are still based on old technologies, which means that many companies are still allowed to pollute the environment under current law. So they have no incentive to change anything. But that’s exactly where the greatest need is.

In the Green Tech Valley, 500 solutions for the fight against climate change have already been developed and put into use worldwide. What is your perception of this environmental hotspot?

It is very encouraging and extremely useful. I find the dynamism of the Green Tech sector in Austria quite amazing. The world at large needs to know more about it. Europe is now taking the lead, after lagging behind China and the US for a long time.

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Martina Schöneich
Green Tech Cluster
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