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Green tech definition

Green Tech definiton A man is sitting on a table on the sides of a potted plant

Green tech is an abbreviation of green technology and it refers to technology that is used to make industrial processes, supply-chain operations and daily human activities more environment-friendly and less carbon-intensive. Increasing awareness about global warming, the depletion of natural resources and environmental pollution has pushed for innovation in green technology.

In this article, we learn what green tech means and understand why green technology is important.

What is green tech?

Green technology is a broad term that describes the use of technology to create products or change existing processes to support sustainable and environmentally friendly living. Green tech is often referred to as clean-energy tech.

Green, or environmentally friendly technology, has gained traction recently as an increasing number of individuals and corporations have become more aware of and concerned about the long-term sustenance of the planet’s natural resources. The goal of green tech is to protect the environment through innovation and change.

Today, corporations across the globe have outlined environmental, sustainability and governance (ESG) standards. Investors often shun investments in companies that have bad environmental ratings, such as coal-producing companies. Electric vehicle (EV) maker Tesla (TSLA) boasts high valuations today as it appeals to investors who are deeply concerned about the future of the planet.

Examples of green technology

Some green-tech solutions that scientists, engineers and other experts have been working on to reduce pollution, contain global warming and protect natural resources include wastewater treatment, alternative green-energy technology, EVs, sustainable agriculture, recycling and carbon capture.

Green technology examples

  • Wastewater treatment: Emerging and established technologies such as adsorption, disinfection, flocculation, oxidation, solids removal and nutrient removal are used to treat wastewater before it is discharged into rivers and oceans.

  • Alternative energy: In order to lessen dependence on polluting fossil fuels such as coal and crude oil used for the world’s energy needs, alternative sources of energy such as wind and solar power are being championed as the fuels of the future. The use of hydrogen, which produces only water when consumed as fuel, is also being developed as a viable clean-energy source to replace petroleum, diesel and natural gas.

  • Electric vehicles: Electric vehicles (EVs) are heralded as the future of mobility since they do not produce atmospheric pollutants when in use as do traditional internal combustion-engine vehicles. The world has seen positive signs of EV adoption as governments have encouraged citizens to buy EVs by providing tax benefits and other forms of concessions. However, lack of an EV-charging infrastructure, the unreliable availability of electricity, underdeveloped EV technology and fossil fuel-generated energy sources are seen as hurdles to worldwide adoption.

  • Sustainable agriculture: Sustainable farming techniques such as organic farming and vertical farming are being used across the world to prevent soil pollution, to conserve space and to practice efficient water usage.  

  • Recycling: More resource-efficient ways to recycle steel, aluminium, paper and plastics are being developed to reduce the burden on natural resources. 

  • Carbon capture: Carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) technologies are used to capture carbon-dioxide emissions from power and industrial factories. This type of innovative green technology can also capture carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).

How does green technology help the environment? 

According to the UN Environment Programme: “Limiting climate change to well below 2°C will require unprecedented aggressive decarbonisation of global electricity generation and deployment of demand-side low-carbon energy technologies in the coming decades. 

“Moreover, meeting the seventh Sustainable Development Goal – ‘to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all’ – will require substantially increasing the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix and doubling the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency by 2030. 

“Achieving these targets will necessitate a profound transformation of how energy is supplied and used around the world. With this challenge comes the opportunity to design systems and select technologies that will minimise adverse impacts on the environment and climate, as well as address the additional pressure on natural resources.”

All the green-technology types aim to reduce harmful human impact on the environment.

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