Clean tech refers to products or services that improve efficiency while reducing costs, inputs, energy consumption and waste and has been come to describe groups of emerging technologies and industries, based on principles of resource efficiency and second-generation production concepts in basic industries. Interest in these technologies has increased with two trends over the past two decades: a decline in the relative cost of clean technologies and a growing understanding of the link between traditional industrial design and an emerging understanding of human impact on earth systems.
According to figures from consultancy firm Frost & Sullivan, the market for clean technology was worth $601 billion in 2014. By 2020, the firm predicts this will expand to $1.3 trillion. The U.S. is among the fastest growing international clean tech markets. Much of what is happening in renewable energy, sustainable manufacturing, clean technologies, environmental industries and green build is taking place in the Midwest. State governments are currently addressing long-term policy and regulatory challenges around the development and implementation of clean technologies.
Clean technology development in the Midwest has a history with outcomes that include wind power development clusters, the greatest use of ‘green roofs’ in the world, a thriving green-build focus, the majority of biofuels producers globally and the world’s first private carbon exchange. The Midwest also hosts multiple universities, federal laboratories and research centers focused on the many clean-tech sub-sectors across industry. Collaborative efforts, partnerships and global outreach are all part of clean tech in the Midwest.
Due to the many challenges of conventional technologies, particularly in energy, which rely on limited natural resources and that may have adverse effects on the environment, clean technologies such as wind power, solar power, biomass, biofuels, water technologies, environmental and waste management, geothermal energy, natural gas technologies, recycling, energy efficiency and other alternatives are continuing to attract investment.
In 2011, global clean technology venture investments saw the US leading in overall investment dollars, and China continuing to be seen as a major growth market for clean tech investments with a focus on renewable energy technologies. According to the published research, the top clean technology sectors in 2011 were fuel cell development, energy storage, solar, biofuels, demand management and transportation. Solar accounted for almost 35% of total clean technology investment, followed by demand management. Current estimates for the next five years include forecasts of $325 billion of global investment in solar, biofuels and wind alone.
The benefits for the Midwest in this global industry are broad - estimates expect the creation of 87,000 clean tech jobs and $40 billion in clean tech capital investment by the year 2030. These carry the added benefits of reductions in energy and technology costs for consumers in the years ahead.
The Alliance is providing a Clean Technology Industry Forum for meaningful interactions between key executives engaged in clean technologies including wind power, solar power, biomass, biofuels, water technologies, environmental and waste management, geothermal energy, natural gas technologies, recycling, energy efficiency and storage, and scientists engaged in scientific research with a view to creating new products and novel, effective solutions to improve the clean technology industry.
If you would like more information about partnering with us on upcoming programs and sponsorships available with the Alliance's Clean Technology Industry sector, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The 2011 Where Are They Now? Brinks Innovation Competition Luncheon brought together 2010 Innovation Competition winners for presentations on what they are doing now and panel discussions on current and future trends in clean tech investments. The luncheon ended with an information session for the 2011 Brinks Innovation Competition applicants.
Global Midwest Alliance recently hosted its annual Innovation, Growth and Globalization Clean Technology Industry Event featuring the 2014 Polsinelli Innovation Competition. Highlights from the program can be viewed in this brief video clip.