What is Green Technology?
Green technology refers to a type of technology that is considered environmentally friendly according to its manufacturing process or supply chain. Green technology can also refer to clean energy production, the use of alternative fuels, and technologies that are less harmful to the environment than fossil fuels.
Although the green technology market is relatively young, it has garnered significant investor attention due to increased awareness of the effects of climate change and depletion of natural resources.
-Green technology is an umbrella term that describes the use of technology and science to reduce human impacts on the natural environment. -It covers a wide range of scientific research, including green technology, energy, atmospheric science, agriculture, materials science, and hydrology. -Many green technologies aim to reduce carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions to prevent climate change. -Solar energy is one of the most successful green technologies and is cheaper to use than fossil fuels in many countries.
Understanding Green Technology
Green technology is an umbrella term that describes the use of technology and science to create environmentally friendly products and services. Green technology relates specifically to clean technology, which refers to products or services that improve operational performance and also reduce costs, energy consumption, waste or adverse effects on the environment.
The purpose of green technology is to protect the environment, repair the damage done to the environment in the past, and protect the Earth's natural resources. Green technology has also become a thriving industry attracting enormous amounts of investment capital.
The use of green technology may be the stated goal of a business segment or a company. These goals are typically outlined in a company's environmental, sustainability and governance statement, or can even be found in a firm's mission statement. Increasingly, socially responsible investors are looking to narrow their forward investments to only include companies that specifically use or manufacture green technologies.
Types of Green Technology
Green technology is a broad category that encompasses various forms of environmental improvement. While climate change and carbon emissions are now considered among the most pressing global issues, there are also many efforts to address local environmental hazards. Some seek to protect certain ecosystems or endangered species. Others try to conserve scarce natural resources by finding more sustainable alternatives.
To provide a viable alternative to fossil fuels, many businesses are trying to design alternative energy sources that do not generate atmospheric carbon. Solar and wind power are currently among the cheapest sources of energy, and solar panels are affordable for some consumer-scale homeowners.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, about one-third of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions are emitted due to transportation activities. Many manufacturers are exploring ways to reduce automotive emissions, either by designing more fuel-efficient engines or switching to electric power.
But electric vehicles require a number of innovations in other areas, such as high-capacity rechargeable batteries and charging infrastructure. Additionally, the benefits of electric vehicles are limited by the fact that many electrical grids still rely on fossil fuels.
Agriculture and livestock have a significant environmental footprint, from the high costs of land and water use to the ecological consequences of pesticides, fertilizers and animal waste. As a result, there are many opportunities for green technology in agriculture. For example, organic farming techniques can reduce damage from soil depletion, innovations in cattle feed can reduce methane emissions, and meat substitutes can reduce livestock consumption.
Recycling aims to conserve scarce resources by reusing materials or finding sustainable substitutes. While plastic, glass, paper and metal waste are the most common forms of recycling, more complex processes can be used to recover expensive raw materials from e-waste or auto parts.
Carbon capture refers to a group of experimental technologies that aim to remove and capture greenhouse gases either at the point of combustion or from the atmosphere. This technology has been heavily promoted by the fossil industry, but has yet to meet those expectations. The largest carbon capture facility can absorb 4,000 tons of carbon dioxide per year, a tiny amount compared to annual emissions.
While the common goal of green technologies is to conserve biodiversity and conserve the earth's resources, there are several ways to do this without affecting the environment in other ways. In some cases, reducing environmental costs in one area means causing negative impacts in another.
For example, batteries in electric vehicles rely on lithium, an element often mined from the South American rainforest. Hydroelectric dams have low carbon emissions but high impacts on salmon and other species that rely on these waterways. Green energy devices such as solar panels and wind turbines require a number of rare minerals that can only be mined by diesel-powered mining machines.
This doesn't necessarily mean that green technology is a lost cause, but it does require careful accounting to ensure the benefits outweigh the costs.
Adoption of Green Technology
While green technology is a broad and difficult to define category, some types of green technology have been widely adopted. Several countries have launched initiatives to eliminate single-use plastics, a goal that will require large investments in alternatives such as paper substitutes, bioplastics or recycling technologies. Singapore, for example, has promised to recycle 70% by 2030.
What Is the Cheapest Form of Green Energy?
According to the International Energy Agency, the cheapest form of alternative energy is solar energy. In its 2020 World Outlook Report, the agency found that Photovaltaic solar "is consistently cheaper than new coal or gas-fired power plants in most countries, and solar projects currently offer the lowest-cost electricity ever seen."
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