- In a context of sustainable development, greenhouse gas reduction, and green economy, it is more and more frequent to come across the term clean technology.
- These eco-technologies stand out for their limited impact on the environment and support the global transition efforts towards an eco-responsible economy, a reduction in carbon emissions, preservation of the environment, and optimized management of natural resources.
- The purpose of these technologies, in addition to the above, is to offer technological solutions that are economically advantageous and efficient at higher performance levels than so-called traditional technologies. Finally, these clean technologies contribute to a better quality of life by reducing various sources of pollution and reducing the impact of human activities on global warming.
- To summarize, the term clean technology can encompass any process, product or service that is sustainable and contributes to reducing environmental impact by offering goods and services that require less energy than conventional industry practices.
- It is a growing sector that is widely supported by various governments that have as a guideline the fight against climate change.
Some areas of focus for clean technologies
Québec has close to 1,000 organizations working in the field of clean technologies, including approximately 350 innovative companies and more than 200 public research groups.
The benefits of clean technologies are being demonstrated in multiple industry sectors. For example, the benefits of clean technologies can be seen in many industry sectors:
Energy efficiency, which consists of implementing technologies and procedures to optimize the use of energy while reducing its consumption in construction (energy-efficient buildings), transportation (e.g. electric cars), and industry in general (reduction of energy at source, energy recovery technology, gradual replacement of equipment with new, less energy-intensive equipment using new materials).
Treatment of residual materials. The focus is on optimizing treatment using energy-efficient technologies, limiting the environmental impact of treatment operations, increased recycling, and energy recovery from residues.
The development of bioenergy channels: production of biogas, biofuels, biofuels in different sectors: livestock, management of plant residues, development of new technologies for the extraction of biofuels in industry, particularly in the transformation and recovery of waste.
Water treatment: deployment of new technologies in the industrial, and municipal and agricultural sectors. The aim is to perfect treatment processes, maximize wastewater purification, promote the reuse of water and residual fertilizer materials from treatment and create a circular economy.
Wind energy, which contributes to generating clean electricity and to the electrification of regions, particularly in rural areas. Quebec has considerable wind energy potential. Recent calls for tenders from Hydro-Quebec have allowed for the rapid growth of this sector of activity. The wind energy industry in Quebec has 5000 employees in 150 companies.
Clean technologies in the agricultural sector: there are different aims, including the reduction of greenhouse gases (biomethanization, treatment of agricultural waste by various methods), better water management (aquaponic solutions, irrigation management, recovery and treatment of agricultural water), the list is not exhaustive.
Significant government budgets to support the development and deployment of clean technologies
Budgets and opportunities.
Large budgets are voted by various governments to encourage, promote, and stimulate the development and deployment of these clean technologies, not only to preserve natural resources and break away from fossil fuels, but also to compete and stand out on the international scene.
Environmental issues thus represent economic opportunities. For example, in Canada, in 2017, more than $2.3 billion has been made available to support the development of clean technologies and increased exports.
In Canada, the cleantech sector represents $10.6 billion and is organized around two main sectors:
Renewable energy: bioenergy; geothermal energy; hydropower; hydrogen and fuel cells; smart grid and energy storage; solar energy; waste-to-energy; wave and tidal energy; wind energy; and nuclear energy.
Environmental technologies that control and reduce pollution sources: air pollution control; water and wastewater treatment; solid waste management.
Given the global environmental challenges and the economic opportunities presented by the solutions provided by these clean technologies, the field of research and innovation in this area is particularly active. Between 2008 and 2015, global exports of this technology sector grew by nearly 4%, and by 2015 clean technologies were worth some $1.2 trillion. By 2022, innovation in clean technologies is projected to reach $2.5 trillion worldwide, according to various projections.
Clean technologies are now ubiquitous in the global economy: in industrial and extractive processes, transportation, recycling, power generation, energy efficiency, water management and agriculture.
Solugen: a fine example of clean technology
Solugen is active both in the field of water treatment in various industrial sectors and especially in the agricultural sector where we treat pig manure.
Does the solution we propose fit within the framework of clean technologies?
The answer is a resounding yes.
In fact, to treat liquid manure, Solugen uses hydroelectricity, a clean energy source, unlike conventional manure management, which consists of storing and spreading manure and which uses fossil fuel-powered vehicles for this purpose.
The solution is energy efficient: 30 kWh is enough to treat one cubic meter of manure. The solution also includes a heat recovery infrastructure.
Solugen’s process also allows for significant GHG reductions (90 to 95% of the GHGs emitted during storage and spreading).
84% of the volume of treated manure is recovered as pure water that can be reused.