Shift from green NZ focus 'ill-conceived'

01:00, Nov 21 2012

Picton-based clean technology businessman Nick Gerritsen is off to study creative leadership in Europe next year after winning a $31,000 scholarship.

Mr Gerritsen, who lives in Picton and chairs Blenheim-based clean tech company Carbonscape, said yesterday that after Carbonscape was named runner-up in a global green technology contest in New York in September, he was offered a place in the part-time post-graduate programme at the prestigious Amsterdam School of Creative Leadership and a €20,000 (NZ$31,000) scholarship.

He said it was a significant commitment, both financially and in stepping up to a different international environment.

"But in the end it was too good to turn down really."

He would be the first New Zealand-based Kiwi to take part, he said.

THNK, the Amsterdam School of Creative Leadership, was founded as an international educational foundation.


THNK provides an 18-month, part-time, post-graduate programme for a carefully selected group of international top talent.

Mr Gerritsen said he would start in March.

The course was heavily weighted towards practical elements that would enable him to keep up his work with Carbonscape, he said.

Carbonscape has developed a patented microwave technology to convert wood and other waste into high-value carbon products, one of which is called "green coke".

The company has a contract with NZ Steel to provide "green coke" to reduce its steel mills' carbon footprint. It is raising capital to deliver that contract.

"We have a few conversations under way, most strongly offshore. There are a couple of onshore parties.

"We hope that we can get support we want onshore, because we want to base the company here. You get pulled naturally to the jurisdiction the capital comes from."

Carbonscape's technology was reinvigorating reviews of the steel industry because of the scale of the reduction its "green coke" could achieve which had not previously been possible, he said.

"There is a degree of urgency globally, which we don't see in New Zealand."

Mr Gerritsen said the Government's stepping back from environmental commitments, particularly around climate change, was "ill-conceived".

"Over decades, New Zealand has developed a reputation for being a leader on many issues, and yet, on an issue that potentially goes to the heart of our economy, we're farting around. I find it interesting."

There was definitely a feeling internationally that New Zealand was not being consistent with its history, he said.


The Marlborough Express