What is Cleantech?
Cleantech refers to any technology that aims to either 1) reduce environmental damage from existing technologies or 2) improve the environmental quality of polluted natural resources, including soil, water and air.
Cleantech may also include environmentally friendly alternatives to existing technologies, as well as support systems designed to help minimize their impacts.
Cleantech projects have a variety of goals. Some may help with the sustainable sourcing of materials, while others are targeted on environmental protection, energy efficiency, recycling or other waste management.
A large proportion of carbon dioxide emissions and other environmental pollutants come from the energy sector. Wind turbines, photovoltaic solar panels, hydroelectric power and geothermal energy are among the most common examples of clean energy alternatives helping to address this problem.
However, numerous supporting technologies such as battery storage, demand forecasting, and decentralized micro-grids also exist, which increase the sector’s efficiency.
Recycling transforms existing products back into raw materials for use in other applications. This helps reimagine the waste stream from a “linear” to a “circular” economic model.
Cleantech innovators see recycling as a space of opportunity. Some companies have developed processes to recycle materials that traditionally had no means of recycling. Other developments include recycling of rare-earth minerals, EV car batteries and food waste.
Many cleantech projects for wastewater treatment and filtration are focused on helping cities, industries, and communities enjoy more plentiful freshwater resources, by addressing industrial and agricultural pollutants. Others are designed to reduce the amount of water used by industry and residential areas.
Cleantech project with a clean air focus may be said to include clean energy and electric vehicles as both address traditionally highly polluting industries. Clean air projects also include filtration systems and emissions collection and storage systems.
Cleantech vs. climate tech
In certain cases, the distinction between climate tech and cleantech can be confusing. While there is some overlap between the two, climate tech is directly focused on technologies that reduce CO2 emissions, while cleantech includes a wider variety of technologies designed for environmental purposes.
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