29 May 2007 - 09:24
  • News Code: 105811

The first factory in the world to make renewable energy technology running off renewable energy will be in Wales, an American entrepreneur told a business audience on May 26.

Addressing a meeting of the Cardiff Business Club, Bob Hertzberg spoke of his plans to turn his G24i plant in Cardiff into a self-sufficient unit, using wind and solar energy to power production.

The company is pioneering what it claims is the world’s lightest, most efficient and least expensive solar technology.

Its innovative material will initially be made to power devices such as mobile phones, handheld games consoles, MP3 players and laptop computers.

Hertzberg, the former speaker of the California State Assembly, spoke of the urgent need to address the issue of global warming.

He said, “We have to be holistic about this and look at sustainability. We are in the process of working with Cardiff Council and the Assembly Government to use solar power, geothermal energy and wind turbines to make sure we can run entirely off renewable energy.

“That would make it the first factory on the planet that makes renewable technology entirely from renewable energy.“

Hertzberg is chairman of G24i, which is owned by Renewable Capital and which has invested £60m in bringing its dye-sensitized solar cells manufacturing facility to Cardiff, at the site of the former Acer plant

G24i says it hopes to have recruited 300 hi-tech staff by the time its operation reaches full production capacity in the summer of 2008.

Hertzberg is a confidante of California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, despite their differing political allegiances, and said his company will begin production this summer.

Its first target markets are in the developing world, where many people do not have access to electricity.

The company is looking at how its solar strips can be used to charge mobile phones in parts of the world where there is no reliable source of power.

He said, “We are planning for tremendous growth. We have a great facility Ð it’s exactly what we were looking for.

“We have invested £3m in bringing it back to life and we really have a lot of pride in what we do.

“The vision for the building and the big picture is to create a new, next-generation company.

“It’s part of the synergy, the imagination and the importance of coming to Europe.

“We can become the Silicon Valley of the green movement in Wales, so let’s make it work.“

Hertzberg said Europe and other Western countries can compete with the fast-growing economies of the world.

“We have to make bigger statements in the business community,“ he said.

“We are coming to Europe--coming to Wales--to send the message that we don’t have to give up to China, that we can do great things here.“

The company is planning to create a learning centre at its site in Wentloog and has been in talks with Techniquest and Cardiff Council.

“We don’t just want to have a great technology that nobody knows about,“ said Hertzberg.

“We hope students at Cardiff University will be able to go and learn there--it will bring a whole new green movement to the people of Wales.

“Each generation has a duty to make a contribution to future generations. Our generation must be committed to dealing with the issue of climate change.

“It’s an extraordinary challenge. The motivation for all of us is our kids--in our business and our personal lives we really need to get a grip on this problem.“

 

PIN/ ICNETWORK.COM

News Code 105811

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