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CleanTech: Past, Present & Future

Shwetank Jain
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
Shwetank Jain
Clean technology, better known as CleanTech today, can be defined as any technology, product, service or process which includes a limited usage of non-renewable resources and delivers significantly lesser waste than the conventional offerings in the market. CleanTech not only entails the usage of non-renewable power sources, but also involves efficient usage of existing natural resources and increase in the efficiency of existing distribution systems, e.g. energy and water. Some of the major clean technology sectors are – hydro power, solar power, wind power, power distribution systems, bio-fuels, water filtration, green buildings, Smart Grid, public transportation.

Clean technology, in the 1970s and 1980s, was considered to be an expensive alternative to the technologies prevalent during those times, a pleasure for the richer and effluent mass or advocates of back-to-the-land lifestyle, and a province of the environmentalists or scientists with huge research funds. The continued exponential growth of the world economy over the last few decades, the depletion and fear of exhaustion of the natural resources, volatile energy and petroleum prices, environmental concerns, and huge losses and inefficiency in the distribution system have forced a major rethink on the usage of clean technologies. These technologies are not only more efficient and reduce the strain on the limited natural resources, but also contribute to a cleaner and greener earth.

Consequently, the governments throughout the world have put an increased focus on the rapid development of these clean technologies and their efficient deployment in all types of industries, distribution system and even in the day-to-day lives of the people. Denmark which generate most of their power from wind energy, and some regions of the USA and mainstream Europe are classic examples and role models for countries globally on how to effectively employ at least few of these technologies.

Clean technologies have become even more relevant for rapidly developing economies like India and China. These countries have a continued and ever-rising demand for cleaner and greener power. The mass adoption of these technologies at a very rapid pace becomes even more necessary for India due to its huge power demand which is not being met by the existing power generation infrastructure, large amounts of transmission losses, ever increasing energy theft, continued depletion of natural resources and the greenery cover, acute water shortage, and the astronomically huge and ever increasing demand pool, i.e. the Indian population.

The two main focus areas for application and development of clean technologies have been reduction of green house gas emmissions, and efficient utilization and conservation of energy. Several new technologies are being developed and various new laws are being passed to achieve the two objectives mentioned above. Both the industrial fraternity and the various governments have also been taking various measures to encourage the usage of clean technologies.

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