Environmental technologies are installed in almost every private household, every communal institution, every public building and every production facility. Very often they are invisible, taken for granted and sometimes only noticed when they are no longer there. The majority of Austrian companies in the sector are SMEs and successfully use their accumulated expertise in the environmental technologies sector for their customers all over the world - their export shares are over 80%.
Energy and environmental technology is about safeguarding resources and about solutions that are compatible with the climate and the environment. In Austria, there is a unique combination of innovation, technology and market leaders in the area of renewable energies and environmental technologies. As early as at the beginning of the 1970s, people began to understand here at societal and political level that environmental protection is an important factor for preserving quality of life. That is why customers from all over the world find technologically sophisticated solutions in Austria for questions of the future, for instance
- Waste disposal, recycling, thermal utilisation, treatment of biogenic substances
- Air pollution control and measurement
- Water supply, water treatment, drinking water purification
The industry is innovative and export-oriented; the companies are always striving to find practical solutions. Sustainable management and the attempt to keep materials in the cycle are particularly important here.
Environmental technology as an economic factor
The Austrian environmental technology sector consists to a large extent of small and medium-sized companies and is undergoing rapid technical development. This momentum is also driven by specific statutory measures.
Ecological innovations have a direct positive effect on the economy, which customers of the Austrian specialists benefit from. Particularly in the area of recycling, there are new developments on the market that drive entire economic sectors. In Austria, there is a high level of recycling of glass, paper, metals and biogenic substances. The recycling rate for domestic waste is around 60%. Austrian companies have the know-how about the technologies, logistical and organisational processes and services required for this.
Future technology with history
For more than 100 years, Austrian companies have had their finger on the pulse with regard to innovative green technologies. Today, the Kaplan turbine, which was developed in 1913 by the Austrian engineer Viktor Kaplan, is still the driving technology in the hydro power sector. Solar thermal energy started its triumphant march in Austria and recycling technologies and systems from Austria are used all over the world.
Until the turn of the century, the focus of the developments by Austrian companies was on water protection, air pollution control and waste management. Today, tried-and-tested technologies from these areas are in demand worldwide. Current thematic fields being addressed by Austrian companies are the ongoing optimisation of recycling processes and the recycling economy, innovative approaches in water treatment and biological water purification.
Knowledge-driven technologies for the environment
Training plays a major role in environment technology because environment technology needs specialists from many fields. One example of Austria's commitment to developing future experts is the training in the field of bioresources at Graz University of Technology. Along with 13 scientific and economic partners from five countries, including the Green Tech Cluster Styria, this technical university developed two new Master's degrees in the field of bioresources. The European network for sustainable energy innovations, referred to in brief as "eseia", supports the development of the new industrial occupational profiles "Biorefinery Engineers" and "Bioresource Value Chain Managers".