With global emissions dropping as economies froze throughout the pandemic, discussions were catalysed about what countries can do to tackle climate change and improve sustainability. Questions have been raised in government and within businesses about how we can build back greener, fairer, and more equitably and green tech is set to play a key role in this transition.
The role of technology in providing new ways to tackle these critical issues has never been more important, and many companies are taking a lead in making our planet a better place for ourselves and for future generations. Here, we take a look at some of the most exciting businesses in the green tech space.
Hungry? Would you be happy to tuck into a plate of mealworms if you felt you were doing your bit for the planet? Ÿnsect is the world leader in natural insect protein and fertilizer production. Founded in 2011 in Paris by scientists and environmental activists, the company transforms your average creepy-crawlies into high-value ingredients for feed, food and plants. Founder Antoine Hubert says they taste a bit like peanuts, and plans to produce 100,000 tonnes of food from mealworms per year in a bid to disrupt the global meat industry and minimise the environmental impact of our dinners.
Zurich’s Climeworks has the ambitious mission of capturing one per cent of all global emissions by 2025, capturing C02 from air with the world’s first commercial carbon removal technology which removes C02 from the atmosphere to supply to customers and lead us closer towards a negative emissions future.
The start-up’s commercial direct air capture plant can remove 900 tonnes of C02 from ambient air per year using a filter that can use low-grade heat as an energy source, making it low-cost. Technology like Climeworks’ will be crucial if we are to limit a global temperature rise of 2 °C.
Bio-Bean is a UK-based biotech start-up industrialising the process of recycling used coffee grounds and transforming them into advanced biofuels. The company was founded in 2013 after its founder, Arthur Kay, noticed a film of oil forming on top of his cold cup of coffee and went to research the role of the your morning caffeine fix in creating biomass pellets. Bio-Bean works with existing supply chains to collect tonnes of coffee ground waste and recycle it into fuel that can heat buildings, so your morning coffee not only wakes you up, but keeps you toasty.
Too Good to Go
Copenhagen company Too Good to Go is fighting food waste, which accounts for 8-10% of all C02 emissions. Its app is the world’s largest B2C marketplace for surplus food, where restaurants, cafes, supermarkets, bakeries or wholesalers across 15 countries can share information about their surplus food. This can then be collected by the app users.
Another company tackling food waste is Israeli startup Wasteless, though it is instead using a data-driven approach. Its small screens display changing prices in real-time for each item on the supermarket shelf, and it leverages machine learning to optimise the corresponding prices, claiming to reduce waste by a third as well as maximising revenues.
US-based Hazel Technologies, meanwhile, targets food producers, producing sachets that release a chemical called 1-MCP, a plant hormone which tells fruit that it is not yet time to ripen. This means the ripening process can be safely slowed. Since 45% of all fruit grown is wasted, this clever technology allows more time for produce to get to market.
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