a.k.a. clean technology, green technology, new energy
A term that describes a diverse range of products, services, and processes that harness renewable materials and energy sources, dramatically reduce the use of natural resources, and cut or eliminate emissions and wastes.
"Clean technology" includes the wind power, solar power, biomass, hydropower, biofuels, information technology, electric motors, lighting, and many other appliances that are now more energy efficient. It is a means to create electricity and fuels with a smaller environmental and carbon footprint.
Its origin is the increased consumer, regulatory, and industry interest in clean forms of energy generation -- specifically, the rise in awareness of global warming and the impact on the natural environment from the burning of fossil fuels. It describes knowledge-based products or services that improve operational performance, productivity, or efficiency while reducing costs, inputs, energy consumption, waste, or pollution.
In 2007, the buzz over cleantech overshadowed an investment boom in biotechnology as venture capitalists invested about $2.5 billion in cleantech companies (9% of all VC funds invested), and more than 80% of VCs expect to increase their investments in this sector in 2008.
Industry experts say that clean technologies are competitive with, if not superior to, their conventional counterparts. Many also offer significant additional benefits, most notably their ability to improve the lives of those in both developed and developing countries.