Could you shift over, please?

The Australian government recently announced its intention to review its targets for renewable energy; it also plans to reactivate two coal-fired power stations. The reason: after looking at Germany and noting its sluggish shift to renewable energy sources, the fear of rising energy prices is growing “down under”. In Germany itself, opinions about the viability of sustainable energy supplies from renewable sources range from outright rejection (too expensive, poorly considered) to disinterest (we’ve heard enough about it) to passionate support (essential, pioneering). In such a polarised debating climate, a brochure about the contribution the textiles sector can make to the “energy shift” published by the Confederation of the German Textile and Fashion Industry titled “energy | textile” is naturally going to attract our attention.

Technical textiles can indeed make a contribution to the success of the switchover to renewable sources of energy. On page 7 of this 44 page document, we read that wind turbines would never turn without glass fibre or carbon fibre reinforced plastics, that textile stadium roofs and marquees are being fitted with dye solar cells to generate electricity and that the construction of an innovative bridge is apparently capable of reducing carbon dioxide emissions. The brochure continues with insights into further textile innovations, prospects for research and a host of opinions from representatives of the sector on the potential of technical textiles and the requirements for implementing them in the future taking into account the aspects of sustainability, energy, the environment and economic viability.

But wait a moment – isn’t Germany the world market leader in the area of technical textiles? And was not the former Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Technology recently renamed the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy didn’t it just announce that a further aim of the new “energy shift” was to inspire imitators abroad? Is everyone singing from the same hymn sheet here?

We will be pleased to send the brochure – once it has been translated into English – to the sun and wind blessed shores of the continent in the southern hemisphere. Or, better still, why not encourage the Australians to visit Techtextil in May 2015 where we can discuss the energy shift (and other application areas for textiles). Could Australia be the first partner country? That really would be something!

Caption: Regenerative – Germinating fibre nettles that can later be transformed into bed linen, table cloths and jeans. Source: Institut für Pflanzenkultur e.K.

Ronny Eckert

Ronny Eckert

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