Technology is leading resource conservation strategies across the industrial sector, with a heightened focus on energy efficiency, de-carbonization, and the deployment of smart manufacturing, according to the Industrials Insider, an industry report released by Brown Gibbons Lang & Company (BGL). Industrial technology investment activity is aligned with these trends, with capital flowing to equipment and products that advance green manufacturing practices in the industrial environment.
- The Energy sector is undergoing a pronounced shift with a growing emphasis on emissions reduction. Permitted U.S. refinery expansion projects have the potential to increase annual emissions by up to 267,200 tons of VOC, NOx, and CO2 by 2025, which will require significant investment in additional emissions control equipment. Tightening regulatory requirements and rising attention to environmental stewardship are also inciting demand for reliable emissions control solutions and driving additional technology investment to ensure operational compliance.
- Technology is disrupting the Water sector with nutrient management and smart infrastructure core to advancing water quality and conservation strategies. Intelligent equipment such as smart meters and sensors provide industrial facilities and municipalities with robust digital solutions for water, wastewater, and stormwater monitoring and control.
- Manufacturing automation and robotics are addressing pressures of a tight labor market and expected to drive efficiency, lower production costs, and reduce waste in industrial settings. In the Waste sector, emerging robotics technology is helping address operational challenges arising from mixed volumes and waste streams by lowering processing costs and improving recovery and recycling rates.
The “greening” of industry is drawing broad investor interest, with conservation of energy and natural resources, waste reduction and recycling, and improved air quality among key areas of focus. Recent private equity and venture capital investment activity is illustrative of investor demand and spans various areas of resource management including energy and emissions (Apollo Global Management (Power and Energy Business of SPX Flow) and KPS Capital Partners (Howden)); water (Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and XPV Partners (Nexom and EOSi); Renovo Capital (FPI Sensors International); Midwest Mezzanine Funds (Dorsett Technologies)); and recycling (Sequoia Capital and other investors (AMP Robotics)). Manufacturing automation is also seeing accelerating M&A activity, with recent investments by Hitachi (JR Automation), Airbus (MTM Robotics), and Amazon (CANVAS Technology) among the notable acquisitions.