Definition of Cleantech

Cleantech, also referred to as clean technology, and often used interchangeably with the term greentech, has emerged as an umbrella term encompassing the investment asset class, technology, and business sectors which include clean energy, environmental, and sustainable or green, products and services.

In brief, Cleantech refers to technology, products and services which generate superior commercial benefits to customers while addressing significant environmental concerns such as global warming, sustainability of natural resources and energy security.

Cleantech technologies include renewable energy generation, energy storage, energy efficiency, biofuels, cleaner fossil fuel processes, water purification and management, waste water treatment, recycling, pollution reduction and advanced materials (including nanotechnologies).

The sector and the term came into its own in the 2005 and 2006 time frame, when mainstream institutional investors began allocating investment into venture funds in the environmental, alternative and renewable energy sectors, and adopted cleantech as a term of choice for the description of that asset class, lending credibility to the sector.

Cleantech spans many industry verticals and is defined by the following eleven segments, Energy Generation, Energy Storage, Energy Infrastructure, Energy Efficiency, Transportation, Water & Wastewater, Air & Environment, Materials Manufacturing/Industrial, Agriculture, Recycling & Waste.

In outline form, with thanks to US based Kachan & Co, here is our taxonomy of what fits where in cleantech:

1. Renewable energy generation

2. Energy storage

3. Energy efficiency

4. Transportation

5. Air & environment

    • Carbon sequestration
    • Carbon trading/offsets
      • Software systems
    • Emissions control
      • Sorbents & scrubbers
      • Biofiltration
      • Cartridge/electronic
      • Catalytic converters
    • Bioremediation
    • Recycling & waste
      • Materials reclamation
      • New sorting technologies
      • Waste treatment
      • Waste management & other services
    • Monitoring & compliance
      • Toxin detection
      • Software systems
      • Sensors & other measurement/testing hardware

6. Clean industry

    • Advanced packaging
      • Packing
      • Containers
    • Design innovation
      • Biomimicry
      • Software
    • Materials innovation
      • Nano
        1. Gels
        2. Powders
        3. Coatings
        4. Membranes
      • Bio
        1. Biopolymers
        2. Biodegradables
        3. Catalysts
        4. Timber reclamation
      • Glass
        1. Chemical
        2. Electronic
        3. PV
      • Chemical
        1. Composites
        2. Foils
        3. Coatings
      • Structural building material
        1. Cement
        2. Drywall
        3. Windows
      • Ceramics
      • Adhesives
    • Equipment efficiency
      • Efficient motors
      • Heat pumps & exchangers
      • Controls
    • Production
      • Construction/fabrication
      • Resource utilization
      • Process efficiency
      • Toxin/waste minimization
    • Monitoring & compliance
      • Software systems
      • Automation
      • Sensors & other measurement/testing hardware

7. Water

    • Generation
      1. Desalination
      2. Air-to-water
    • Treatment
      1. Filtration
      2. Purification
      3. Contaminate detection
      4. Waste treatment
    • Transmission
      1. Mains repair/improvement
    • Efficiency
      1. Recycling
      2. Smart irrigation
      3. Aeroponics/hydroponics
      4. Water saving appliances
    • Monitoring & compliance
      1. Software systems
      2. Sensors & other measurement/testing hardware

8. Agriculture

    • Crop treatment
      1. Natural fertilizers
      2. Natural pesticides/fungicides
    • Land management
      1. Erosion control
      2. Sustainable forestry
      3. Precision agriculture
      4. Soil products/composting
    • Aquaculture
      1. Health & yield
      2. Waste management
      3. Containment
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