Growth, young talents, and the Cluster’s new strategy 

Previous cluster aims surpassed

Innovative climate protection is an economic driver for southern Austrian Green Tech companies: In Green Tech Valley, the world’s leading hotspot for innovative solutions in the climate and circular economy, new technological benchmarks are emerging, such as the most efficient hydropower plants, bespoke wind power generators and leading recycling facilities for batteries. These combine climate protection with regional growth. It is this spirit of innovation that the member companies of the Green Tech Cluster have applied to 117 joint projects over the last five years and thus surpassed the objectives. The location is being expanded further with the new cluster strategy.
“The Styrian companies and research institutions in the Green Tech sector demonstrate impressively that climate protection and economic success are not mutually exclusive. In recent years, they have seen outstanding development and are making a major contribution to protecting the climate with new products and technologies. On account of this and for the benefit of sustainability for future generations, we will continue to push ahead with the expansion of green technologies together with the Green Tech Cluster,” State Minister for the Economy Barbara Eibinger-Miedl says.


New strategy: 100% for a greener future

Our vision is a healthy environment with no additional greenhouse gases and waste. To make that possible, we are developing innovative climate protection and recycling solutions. At present, 20% of the world’s green electricity is already generated using technologies from Green Tech Valley. “We want the valley to grow and are aiming at 1,000 additional researchers in the location over the next five years as well as a volume of 100 million euros of initiated cooperation,” Green Tech Cluster Managing Director Bernhard Puttinger says. To achieve this, the excellent research and development in the location are being expanded and the establishment of new centres of innovation and excellence is being intensified together with a cooperative culture of innovation. The focus is on innovative solutions for the integrated heating revolution, green gas and hydrogen, positive energy districts, digitalised recycling chains, new sorting technologies and battery recycling.

Green Tech Valley global hotspot #1 for climate and circular solutions
Green Tech Valley global hotspot #1 for climate and circular solutions

The sphere of influence is growing

With participation of the state of Carinthia in the Cluster, the globally visible ecosystem in southern Austria is growing. In Carinthia, there are 70 to 100 businesses operating in this promising sector.
In Styria, the Green Tech Cluster is already used by 220 companies as a platform for cooperation and innovation. “The Green Tech Cluster is an internationally top-rated network that empowers companies for growth with green innovations. The present cooperation of Carinthia and Styria in the Cluster gives rise to synergies and expands the critical mass in this area,” Carinthian Deputy State Governor Gaby Schaunig says. “The Green Tech Cluster offers international visibility, joint innovation opportunities and a valuable network for Carinthian businesses in the areas of solar, biomass, wind, hydropower and recycling.” One initial joint focus of both federal states is the sustainable production and use of hydrogen as a driver of the energy and mobility revolution. To this end, the new Green Tech radar highlights the technology and market opportunities in the coming years.


Turning young talents into Green Tech CEOs

A hotspot can be identified by the talented people who emerge here. That is why the new “Green Tech Summer Graz” strategic initiative is aimed at the international students in Graz, enabling them to develop their green start-up here during the summer holidays. In this
nationwide Austrian pilot initiative, smart business ideas such as packaging material made from dairy waste, a leather alternative made from sugar residues, an app for improved indoor greenery and many more have been developed into launch-ready businesses.
The Graz climate fund has provided the students with starting capital of up to 4,000 euros per person as well as workshops offering expertise from SFG, the Cluster, the Gründungsgarage and Science Park Graz for a functional start-up: starting with a smart idea, the provision has included active learning and implementation of founder workshops, coaching, pitch training, business plan preparation, contacts with partners, acceptance on a start-up programme and more. For the right start in business, participants have also had the opportunity to use the Green Tech Hub as an innovative office environment in the Smart City of Graz.
Milkywaste, one of the young start-ups, is hoping to redefine the packaging industry: “Edible bioplastic made of dairy waste aims to make packaging cost-effective and greener. Waste and waste management costs will be reduced, facilitating sustainability with a profit,” says Slovene Ivan Knechtl, who founded Milkywaste as part of Green Tech Summer Graz in 2020. With such talents, new cutting-edge research and joint development of innovative solutions in the South of Austria, a green future is growing globally, made in the Green Tech Valley.

Ivan Knechtl – Green Tech Summer Graz
Graduate 2020