Clean technologies provide the shining beacon of hope in the dark world issues of climate change, energy security and energy price hikes. We need new solutions and we need them fast. The industry that provides the practical solutions to these problems is fast growing and covers many aspects of sustainable engineering.
Smog or air pollution is produced when we burn non-renewable fossil fuels. The fuels from the natural resources of oil, coal and natural gas whose distribution causes unrest in the natural world as well as the political world. By harnessing the natural resources of wind, solar rays and tides or by developing new biofuels that use low impact crops such as algae, clean technologies are providing the world with something it can afford, renewable energy.
Clean technologies do however spread beyond the realm of energy generation. They answer the question of efficient delivery in smart grid infrastructure. And further down the line they work on the efficiency of devices at the point of use, as well as transport, buildings and industrial processes.
One of only only a few climate focused investment funds, is the Clean Tech fund which aims to ‘promote scaled-up financing for demonstration, deployment and transfer of low-carbon technologies with significant potential for long-term greenhouse gas emissions savings’. Large sums of money are required to make green technologies economically viable and luckily venture capitalist funding is rife in this area. Worldwide investment rose from $850m to $6b in just three years; evidence of a heavily funded growth area.
International initiatives, conferences and roadmapping events exist in order to set milestones and global targets to push countries into reducing their emissions. Copenhagen in 2009 hosted the United Nations Climate Change Conference though the output (or lack therefore) fell below par. Much to everyone’s disappointment there was no legally binding treaty formed. Global recession was blamed for the lack of concrete commitment but the rising oil prices suggest a sacrifice needs to be made not only for long term environmental benefit but short term economic savings. The ‘Clean Development Mechanism’ defined in the 2007 Kyoto Protocol aims to assist sustainable development.
Whether it’s money you have or skills, or will power and knowledge to make discoveries that will clean up the repeating patterns of human error this is the industry to be in. Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths are bubbling away to bring ever more effective solutions to environmental problems. Clean technologies mean we have to do little in reducing the quality of our lives to improve the eco situation. In terms of sustainability clean tech will mean that we don’t have to reduce our demands because the way those demands are met will be eco-friendly. -E. MESKHI