The Boom of Clean Technology – 10 Innovators to Have On Your Radar

At A Glance 

Calling all aspiring Jimmy Neutron’s. It’s no secret clean technology is poised for significant growth as the world’s leaders scale their commitments to a sustainable green economy. Clean technology provides solutions in energy, materials, transportation and water with the aim to create planetary resilience and exponential social benefits.  

The aftermath of the first wave of COVID-19 has presented innovators in clean technology with a platform to accelerate their ambitions. Now, more than ever, global corporations are desperate to reassure their customers that they are dedicated to achieving climate targets laid out by the 2015 Paris Agreement and 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

In late June, Amazon announced a $2 billion investment fund for ‘sustainable and decarbonizing technologies’ to mitigate its seismic carbon footprint.

In addition to businesses, the UK Government’s commitment to a green economy and carbon neutrality by 2050 has stimulated investment in this arena. A recent report published by TechNation, the country’s network for ambitious tech entrepreneurs, revealed that:

  • A record breaking £10.1 billion has been invested into UK tech companies in 2019
  • The UK is Europe’s top scaling tech nation
  • The UK is 3rd in the world for tech unicorns behind only the US and China, with 77 companies valued at over $1bn.
  • UK tech companies aligned to United Nations Sustainable Development Goals have raised £2.2bn over the last 6 years, the highest in Europe.
  • UK tech employment grew by 40% in the last 2 years, now accounting for 9% of the national workforce with 2.93m jobs created

Mounting pressure from activists and citizens, who are hungry for infrastructural changes are spurring an increase of initiatives as the deadline for effective climate mitigation looms closer. The launch of the UK’s £40 million Clean Growth Fund to supercharge green start-ups in power, transport, waste and energy efficiency will prove to be a divisive tool.  This fund, if it receives additional private sector investment could be set to reach £100 million by 2021.

In Focus – Top 10 Innovators  

Here’s an edit of my favourite innovators across the globe who are disrupting their respective industries.

Infarm

Vertical farming in controlled environments is an agricultural technique that will cater to increased populations and resource scarcity. Infarm are a Berlin based company pushing the boundaries of autonomous vertical farms by growing fresh produce inside supermarkets throughout the year. Trialled by likes of Marks & Spencer, Infarm are decentralising the food system whilst simultaneously improving the quality of our food. One in-store farm (equivalent to 250 metres squared of farmland) uses 95% less water, 75% less fertilizers and zero pesticides. They are building farms that are resistant to temperature shifts, floods and droughts which is contributing to a low carbon climate resilient future.

Zeigo 

Founded in 2018, this UK based business is accelerating the world’s transition to renewable energy. Through AI and machine learning, Zeigo connects corporates with their extensive network of energy suppliers and developers to simplify the energy procurement process. They enable organisations to meet their sustainability targets and provide price transparency on power purchase agreements and fixed or flexed contracts.  In addition to being a global market place, Zeigo’s services include price comparison tools, a portfolio manager and they are currently developing blockchain solutions to ensure organisations procure 100% traceable clean energy.

CarbonCloud

Agriculture, food consumption and grocery shopping are at the heart of mitigating the climate crisis. CarbonCloud is a tool for food producers to calculate their carbon footprints using data insights to identify the impact of its users throughout their produce life cycle. Their extensive research led approach is supporting the world transition to smarter eating habits and helping producers become more competitive and efficient. Carbon footprint labelling is a thing of the future.

Life Cycle Impact of the Food Value Chain

Aeropowder 

What started as a student project in 2015 by making materials from surplus feathers has transformed into a blossoming business. Aeropowder create novel materials such as thermal packaging from surplus feathers. Did you know that 10,000 tonnes of waste feathers are produced daily across the world?! Their composition of keratin, a chemically resistant and strong protein, makes them a lightweight natural fibre that is simultaneously a strong thermal insulator.

Acceleron Energy 

This UK based start-up is creating the world’s most sustainable lithium batteries. Acceleron Energy strive to create a net positive impact and accelerate the global shift to cleaner energy usage through their battery technology. Their products embrace cradle to cradle design and ensure 100% of the battery’s material value is not wasted.

IndiNature

Biophilic design and appropriate construction methods are vital if we are to build sustainable inhabitable areas. Founded in 2016, IndiNature use bio technology to provide natural insulation solutions free from plastics. This aids the construction industry to meet their carbon and waste targets. They are reviving crops such as industrial hemp to produce durable and strong material alternatives for their customers.

Qista

If you’ve read my feature on the impact of climate change on health, you’ll know rising temperatures and humidity are exacerbating the spread of vector borne diseases such as malaria and dengue fever. This is what makes Qista’s services essential for both personal and businesses use. The Qista mosquito trap connects to the electrical network of your home and is effective with a radius of up to 60 metres around your land. It replicates human presence to lure mosquitos and then captures them. No fumigation is necessary, it uses patented technology that is organic and natural to get rid of the pests.

MeduSoil

Using the world’s first ground bio-stabilization technology, MeduSoil provide solutions for construction companies in the realm of soil erosion, landslide risk mitigation and soil consolidation. Their strong mineral binders are patented with nature-based biochemical carriers. These can be used to protect infrastructure, minimise costs and equipment requirements as well as increase resistance to the increased frequency of natural weather disasters.

Genomtec

Given the events of 2020, developments in health technology are pressing. Genomtec is an innovative diagnostic device that uses molecular technologies with a mobile DNA and RNA analyser. It is able to identify pathogens with 99 per cent accuracy within only 20 minutes.

Handerek Technologies

Based in Poland, Handerek Technologies chemically recycle waste plastic into liquid hydrocarbons. They are a stellar example of a business that embraces a strategy based on circularity of materials as they sort and treat plastic for renewed use.. Following a process of depolymerization, hydro-treatment and fractionation, clean liquid hydrocarbon is produced.  The products can then be used as feedstock for making new plastics or blended with traditional fuels.

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