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What is CleanTech, and how can it help fight climate change?

Updated: Aug 26, 2022

Over recent years, the imminent threat of climate change has pressured businesses to recalibrate their operation with sustainability in mind.

Not only this, a new sector of research and development (R&D) has come to the forefront, dedicating itself to using technology to advance renewable energy and reduce negative environmental impacts.

This trailblazing industry is known as CleanTech, and in the midst of the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (or COP-26), we wanted to shed light on the progress it’s making for our planet.

What is CleanTech?

So, we know that Cleantech (otherwise known as GreenTech) seeks to advance clean energy and sustainable resources that will essentially lower the Earth’s carbon emissions.

Let’s go into a little more detail about what types of innovation fall under this category.

Driven by Sustainable Development Goals laid out by the UN, CleanTech facilitates innovative technological climate solutions. R&D is what brings these solutions to life.

Research & Development is not only about innovating products or services from the ground up, but also improving efficacy and accessibility of existing solutions.

Some influential examples of CleanTech R&D are:

  • Solar power – though solar energy dates back to the 1950s, recent R&D has caused the commercial success and accessibility of solar panels to soar. Thanks to R&D, solar power now costs the same if not less than that of fossil fuels – further incentivising clean energy.

  • LED lights – switching to LED lights (or light-emitting diode technology) has been proven to save up to 5% of global CO2 emissions and 1,400 million tons of carbon dioxide. This CleanTech is cost-efficient and commonplace across the world.

  • Carbon capture – carbon capture technologies are set to be an R&D priority between 2021 and 2025. After being favored by government funding, capture and storage technologies are now emerging after intensive Research & Development. Carbon capture and storage innovations are incredibly important to mitigate the effects that carbon emissions have on climate change.

Though two of these innovations are now part-and-parcel of everyday life, they’re far from ordinary. These incredible technologies show just a snapshot of the groundbreaking progress that’s been made so far, and indicate the advances that CleanTech is set to make in the near future.

The reason that an influx of environment-focused R&D is on the horizon is the attention that the sector is getting from VCs, and the demand being highlighted in government policies across the world.

It’s estimated that about £100 billion of capital investment will be needed to meet demand for sustainable electricity in the foreseeable future. Renewable energy already accounts for over a fifth of the UK’s electricity - and EU targets mean that figure could soon hit 30%.

It’s conferences such as the current COP-26 summit that will look to further legislate the transition towards clean energy.

Can CleanTech really make a difference?

The truth is that the energy sources we’ve relied throughout the decades are going to run out. And more importantly, these fossil fuels are emitting greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere, leading to adverse climate risks from storms and shifting water levels to floods, droughts, and general warming.

These issues can be remedied if we implement immediate sustainable CleanTech approaches. By doing so, we’re investing in the future of our planet.

There’s no doubt that CleanTech will play a major role in reaching the set of targets laid out for environmental policy over the next two years. These aims are to:

  • Bring down carbon emissions by 34% and water consumption by 50%.

  • Lower the weight of wasted materials in manufacturing by 30%.

  • Recycle 75% of waste.

These aims are only the beginning of the government’s ambition for UK sustainability.

The internationally agreed Sustainable Development Goals identify the targets of managing our eco-system and illustrate how important CleanTech actually is.

Combating climate change through technology seeks to:

  • Keeping adequate and sustainable food, water, sanitation and education available to all.

  • Ensure agriculture, energy and human settlements are sustainable and safe.

  • Repair damage to forests and oceans.

  • Make society healthier, more inclusive and more peaceful for all.

  • Build sustainable economic growth, consumption and production patterns, while developing employment opportunities.

In short, yes – CleanTech is a hugely influential component of protecting the climate against further damage.

Progress is being made, with Boris Johnson’s pledge of an extra £1bn towards international climate finance by 2025 being announced at COP-26, taking the UK’s contribution to £12.6bn. But it’s clear that we have a long way to go.

IPCC Co-Chair, Panmao Zhai, urges that “Stabilizing the climate will require strong, rapid, and sustained reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, and reaching net zero CO2 emissions.”

CleanTech R&D is incentivised not only by the prospect of saving the planet, but also by R&D Tax Credits available to UK projects. By filing R&D Tax Credits, CleanTech innovators can claim back up to 33% of eligible R&D expenditure, giving them significant capital to reinvest into the growth of their product or service.

Here at Claim Capital, our R&D specialists are experienced in reclaiming maximum financial benefit from HMRC. Get in touch with our experts to find out more about our cost-efficient, Fixed Fee service.


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