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Business - Written by on Monday, November 10, 2008 18:27 - 0 Comments

Paul Artiuch
Emerging green innovation

Emerging economy innovators have been touted as a major threat to developed world legacy business models. The concept is simple – companies in emerging economies innovate in the face of extreme price sensitivity, although their customers have relatively low expectations. They are also able to operate using the latest technology and management practices. In the green sector emerging economy players have an additional motivation in the fact that they are often based in countries that are much more polluted than developed nations. There is market demand as well as government impetus to come up with inexpensive ways to clean up the air and water.

There is speculation that companies in countries like India and China will take the lead in terms of green innovation. Early examples support this notion. A project by the Center for Scientific and Industrial Research, an Indian organization, has resulted in a solar powered rickshaw with a top speed of 15 km an hour and a range of 50-70 km. The rickshaw runs on a 36-volt battery that can be replaced at a local solar-power charging station. The vehicle is now being tested in Delhi with the aim of replacing some of the city’s 500 000 rickshaws. If successful, the soleckshaw as it is called, will provide a clean and relatively speedy option for moving around Delhi’s crowded streets.

Another innovation in China produced an inexpensive solar powered car. The vehicle has a sticker price of just over $5000 with a range of up to 150 km. The tiny Chery QQ clone has been fitted with roof mounted solar panels that absorb 95% of the solar energy coming in. Although far from luxurious, the vehicle may be attractive to China’s rising middle class. It will be interesting to see if emerging economy companies and public sector institutions manage to leapfrog developed countries in both green technologies and their market applications. We would be interested to learn of any other green innovations from outside of the developed world that our readers might have come across.

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