Germany

germany

Germany is an export-oriented nation with a strong manufacturing industry and well established eco-innovation areas and markets. Since 2013 the Germany’s performance in the Eco-innovation Scoreboard has dropped by one place and ranks fourth in 2014-2015. This is mainly attributed to a downshift in the socio-economic and resource efficiency outcomes. Germany performs particularly well in the subcategories eco-innovation patents and exports of products from eco-industries.

With respect to a circular economy, Germany is characterised by very good waste infrastructures and recycling rates. The present focus on technical waste management and end-of-life measures is simultaneously signalling further demand for innovative waste instruments at the interface of material cycles and new business models. A first step was taken by introducing the Waste Prevention Programme in 2013. A strengthening of the regulatory framework and a better alignment of responsibilities, competencies and approaches towards a circular economy seem important for the increase of secondary input rates and a closing of the loops. The demand for high-tech and waste technologies is expected to remain high in the world and–as one of the market leaders– Germany has a strong standing in exporting innovative waste management solutions.

The German green tech sector is expected to further develop dynamically. The early implementation of the Renewables Energies Act (in 1991) and the introduction of the German Resource Efficiency Programme (ProgRess) in 2012 serve as important and drivers for energy and resource efficiency, eco-innovation and the energy transition in Germany.

The framework conditions for innovation are generally well developed and include both supply and demand-side instruments while there is a pronounced reliance on voluntary and informational approaches at the consumption side. An eco-innovation action plan is under development. Nevertheless, Germany will probably not meet its sustainable development strategy targets for raw material and energy productivity, energy consumption, biodiversity, land use, mobility and farming .

2015 Eco-innovation Scoreboard ranking and eco-innovation index composites for Germany

Germany

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Technological eco-innovation

Labels: Germany

showerDecentralised water management - eco-efficient recycling of gray water (e.g. AquaCycle 2500, Pontos GmbH)

The shower and bath water is recycled in a patented bio-mechanical process without chemical additives. The result is hygienically clean process water. The gray water is purified in a multistep process, and sterilised by ultraviolet irradiation - a gentle, energy-saving manner. A fully automatised, closed recycling system with a patented cleaning process that works with low maintenance and operating costs and is weather-independent. The system AquaCycle 2500 can also be combined with a rain water system.

Determinants

Barriers:

  • In Germany, the water supply is so large that water is generally not regarded as being scarce - there is no immediate pressure to act
  • There are no legislative incentives;  on the contrary, it is practiced in many municipalities to force the connection to and the use of the public water supply and management, so there is a massive incentive not to invest in decentralised wastewater treatment (UBA/BMU 2008)

Drivers:

  • Climate change will lead to greater fluctuations in rainfall and the increase of heavy rainfalls will lead to a reduction in the effectiveness of the central wastewater treatment
  • central water and wastewater infrastructures need more flexibility due to demographic and migration changes
  • cost-effective synergies between wastewater treatment and heating is possible (UBA/BMU 2008)

Sustainability effects

Shower and bath water that is consumed in residential buildings, hotels, swimming pools, or fitness centers can be recycled with a decentralised water management system so that it can be used for toilet flushing, cleaning or for irrigation of green spaces. To save even more heat energy, the system allows for recovering the residual heat of the gray water (such as from showering or bathing). By the end of 2010, a newly developed optional heat exchanger module will be provided. The resulting heat generated in the order of 10-15 kWh per cubic meter resulting gray water is supplied to the heat storage of the hot water heating or heating.

Further Information

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Eco Innovation in Practice in Germany

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