Posted on 9th September 2015 by Alex Heys
It was around the turn of the century when clean technology really started to come into the spotlight and since then investments in this area have grown considerably. While there does not seem to be a standard definition of clean technology, The Clean Technology Trade Alliance defines it as a broad base of processes, practices and tools, in any industry that supports a sustainable business approach. Think recycling, renewable energy and pollution control.
Every week a new clean tech innovation gets picked up by the media. Recently we’ve seen the shower that uses 70% less water, a tower that turns air pollution into jewellery and the bug-killing book that cleans murky water, to name a few!
Here are five of our favourite, past and current, initiatives, projects and businesses created in the name of clean tech innovation:
Formula-E is the world’s first fully-electric racing series that is centred on three core values – energy, environment and entertainment. The first season started on the streets of Beijing in 2014 and ended in London in June 2015 with races in eight different host cities in-between including Miami and Buenos Aires.
Formula-E gives teams and manufacturers the opportunity to showcase their own electrical energy innovations, helping to improve battery technology with the hope that it will filter into the everyday electric vehicle market.
Sir Richard Branson predicted that Formula-E would overtake Formula One within the next five years, while Renault is considering pulling out of F1 all together and upping its investment in Formula-E.
Hotels in Chennai, Eastern India, will soon be putting their food waste to good use thanks to a project that converts vegetable waste into electricity. For every two tons of waste 40 kilowatts of electricity can be generated, thats enough to power at least 150 street lights in the area. In the same vein, Pakistani scientists converted used tea leaves to make a cheap source of low carbon emission bio-diesel. The world consumes millions of tonnes of tea yearly, so if this could be scaled up to a commercial scale it would be a giant step towards the production of alternative energy resources.
In just six hours, the worlds deserts receive more energy from the sun than the worlds population consumes in a year. It was this fact that inspired Desertec one of the most ambitious solar energy projects to date. The idea was simple: fields of solar panels, spanning the deserts of Northern Africa and the Middle East would provide cheap energy to the region. The rest would be exported to Europe via undersea connectors. Unfortunately by 2014, 47 of the 50 shareholders had pulled out of the project due to various disagreements on its direction. So now Desertec will continue but on a much smaller scale than originally envisioned.
In 2008 Club Watt opened its doors in Rotterdam, the first venue to use green-entrepreneur Stef van Dongens Sustainable Dance Club concept. The nightclub used floor vibrations from people dancing to power its light show. The vibrations were captured by piezoelectric materials that produce an electric charge when put under stress. Club Watt has since closed its doors, but piezoelectric technology is being used in innovative ways elsewhere, such as in two of Japans busiest train stations, the power is stored and channelled to areas around the station such as the ticket gates and electric signage.
The London Array is the worlds largest offshore wind farm located 20km off the Kent cost in the outer Thames Estuary. Generating 630 megawatts of power on a level with many conventional power stations and consisting of 175 turbines, it certainly is very impressive.