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green research

Find research and collaboration opportunities in California

Research and development of new green technologies is a key focus in Denmark, as it plays a crucial role in achieving Denmark’s goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions with 70 percent by 2030. But climate challenges are global and like Denmark, California has a strong focus on research within the green area. The shared focus areas and comparative research strongholds in Denmark and California equal great opportunity for learning and collaboration.

California prioritizes green research and development

California has for many years been a frontrunner in the climate agenda with a stated goal of carbon neutrality by 2045. The prioritization of climate is also carried out within research. California has a high level of private and public research and development (R&D) and outstanding universities and research institutions. California’s total public R&D budget was $633 million in 2018, with $243 million, $41 million, and $36 million awarded to respectively energy, environmental and natural resources, and transportation. Besides state sponsored research, California receives around $14 billion in federal funds each year across all research areas.

In addition to investing in research, California supports innovation within green technologies with several programs. One is EPIC (Electric Program Investment Charge), that invests more than $130 million annually in clean energy research and development, demonstration projects and clean energy entrepreneurship. Another is the Low Carbon Transportation Program that aims to accelerate deployment of clean vehicle technologies and increase access to clean transportation for all. Historically, California has supported solar efforts with total investment of $3.3 billion. As a mark of success for these programs, they have been terminated because market prices have dropped to a level where the regular market can handle development investments.

Many Californian universities conduct research within climate tech. CITRIS (Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society) is a joint initiative of UC Berkeley, UC Santa Cruz, UC Merced, and UC Davis, created to shorten the pipeline from laboratory research to development of companies. From concept to prototype, the CITRIS invention ecosystem includes competitive seed funding, specialized testbeds, laboratories, and a startup accelerator. The center conducts research in areas such as energy, environment, and sustainable infrastructure including energy, water, and transportation. Collaboration with CITRIS is possible through the partnership agreement with the Danish Agency for Science and Higher Education, facilitated by Innovation Centre Denmark in Silicon Valley.

At Stanford, the Precourt Institute for Energy and SUNCAT are focal points for energy research. Precourt research efforts span across a wide range of areas within energy, and the institute engages with industry in an academic-private sector program focused on accelerating clean energy development, deployment, scale-up and finance. SUNCAT is a center which focusses on converting sustainable energy into liquid fuels. In addition to the outstanding universities, California has three national labs working with clean energy. The national labs partner with universities, research institutions, and industry to do basic science and share it with private partners to spur technological breakthroughs.

Danish-Californian Collaboration

Within the last ten years, Danish and Californian researchers have made more than 9000 co-publications. More than 1500 of these within Earth and Planetary Sciences, almost 700 within engineering, and more than 500 within environmental science. The numbers speak to the high level of interest in joint research activities and the many opportunities in the green area.

Also supporting the potential for research collaboration are the three Memoranda of Understanding between Denmark and California within water technology, offshore wind, and energy efficiency respectively. An example of a collaboration originating from one of these MoUs is GAP – California, a three-year groundwater architecture project, where Stanford University works with leading Danish companies and three Californian water agencies to develop a template for an optimal workflow using airborne electromagnetic (AEM) data as the foundation for developing hydrogeological conceptual models. This collaboration has supported the successful work of the Trade Council to promote Danish commercial water solutions in California.

Research collaboration with California can contribute to Denmark’s endeavor to develop the new technologies and solutions necessary to realize Denmark’s climate goals. There are several thematic areas where there is mutual interest and comparative strongholds in the research communities, such as power-2-X, energy efficiency, offshore wind, and carbon capture. Areas where further research and development could bring both Denmark and California down the path towards carbon neutral societies.

Opportunities for collaboration within energy-conversion and storage will be explored further when a group of Danish researchers are planned to visit Californian universities and national labs later in 2020. If you are interested in learning more, please find our contact information below and do not hesitate to reach out. 

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If you want to learn more about green research collaboration and opportunities please feel free to reach out to our Innovation Attache.