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clean technology (clean tech)

Clean technology (clean tech) is a general term used to describe products, processes or services that reduce waste and require as few non-renewable resources as possible. The Clean Technology Trade Alliance, a global initiative to drive the expansion of clean tech, defines it as:

A broad base of processes, practices and tools, in any industry that supports a sustainable business approach, including but not limited to: pollution control, resource reduction and management, end of life strategy, waste reduction, energy efficiency, carbon mitigation and profitability.

The term "clean tech" is often credited to Ron Pernick and Clint Wilder, who wrote a book called “The Clean Revolution: The Next Big Growth and Investment Opportunity.”

In the book, the authors identify several main drivers of clean technology: 

  • the current cost of conventional technology
  • the capital being invested in research and development by large corporations
  • a competitive global marketplace
  • a change in consumer attitude which has brought environmental concerns into the mainstream
  • the growing middle-class in China, which is forcing the Chinese government to invest heavily in alternative energy resources. 

The authors maintain that when the cost of clean technology becomes competitive, everyone will benefit from advancements in solar and wind power, biofuel research, water filtration, grid management and transportation.

 

See also: green technology glossary, green computing, green networking, green data center

Learn more about clean tech:

Ron Pernick and Clint Wilder's book "The Clean Revolution" is available at Amazon.com.

A broad base of processes, practices and tools, in any industry that supports a sustainable business approach, including but not limited to: pollution control, resource reduction and management, end of life strategy, waste reduction, energy efficiency, carbon mitigation and profitability.

This was last updated in October 2010

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