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  • Writer's pictureAIC Sangam

……… and the fight for a Better Planet in 2022 begins Now!

Well, the first four months of 2022 are already over, but what is still not over is our ambition to build a climate-positive society! We at AIC-Sangam are on a mission to tackle climate change through entrepreneurship. As the world is changing, we must pay more attention than ever before to embrace change and build a better tomorrow and Earth Day brings us a new hope! New hope for this planet, a new hope for its people, and a new hope for our country. The theme for Earth Day 2022 is “Invest in Our Planet.” The fundamental point here is to act boldly, innovate broadly, and implement equitably. India is slowly adapting to this shift as it makes its way into the market, and with the number of green-tech companies increasing recently.


Image Source: Sangam Team

Several startups in India are developing solutions to help build a sustainable energy future through clean technology. Therefore, it has created a buzz across the entire ecosystem among investors and entrepreneurs looking for investments in this industry. So as this day highlights the importance of investing in our planet, we bring to you trending clean technologies that are worth investing for our planet!


Preparing for the Energy Shift

There is a need for a rapid transition to clean energy which is enabling new developments in the renewable sector. The world is depending on innovators who can provide us with alternative sources of energy that will not only just last longer but will also not cause any additional damage to the environment. Renewable energies such as solar, wind, and hydroelectricity have been around for a long time, but thanks to our innovator’s recent rapid innovations still make these some of the most trending technologies. Moreover, startups are driving sustainable innovations using renewable energy to optimize large-scale high carbon operations. India is also boosting its green energy production through wind, solar and hydro projects, in addition to reducing its dependence on fossil fuels.

Budget 2022–23 offers much to look forward to. The government has already set a goal to achieve 500 gigawatts (GW) and 50 percent non-fossil fuel energy share by 2030. This is backed up by a pledge to achieve net-zero emissions by 2070, implemented at the global climate meeting in Glasgow last year (DowntoEarth, 2022). With each passing year, there is this growing realization that excessive reliance on fossil fuels to power economies will not be sustainable and if we want to build climate-proof economies then Energy Transition is the way to go.


Examples:

  1. Despite the pandemic-led dip in investment, the year 2020 has presented many high points for the sector, led by companies offering phased enhancements to clean technologies in areas like grid management and electric vehicle charging.

  2. cKers Finance raised $5 million from New Energy Nexus to boost the development of new distributed solar in India (March 2020).

  3. About 120 cleantech startups raised $1.2 billion in the past five years. The cleantech sector secured 6.7 percent of the total funding for startups over five years (2015–2020).

Unlocking the Future of Sustainable Spaces

Buildings and construction are other major sources of greenhouse gas emissions. According to the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Report for Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction, this sector accounts for at least 36 percent of global final energy consumption. Therefore, we can see a lot of startups coming up that can provide us with sustainable building solutions. These innovations will promote Low carbon construction thus making the building process less harmful and more in sync with the living nature by introducing elements such as plant walls or exteriors which facilitate natural cooling. Startups are also incorporating cleaner materials in homes and public spaces to limit energy consumption without compromising on key quality parameters. In addition, they are developing alternatives like hemp-based concrete, bamboo flooring, precast concrete slabs, and green insulation to lower their dependence on polluting materials. So, if your innovation can provide a sustainable construction or building solution, then this is not the time to wait! This is the time to give direction to your innovation and build it up!


Examples:

  1. One of our incubatees, Monish Siripurapu, and his team of Ants at Ant Studio have been tackling climate change and extremely hot weather by providing unique architectural designs to buildings. Their product — CoolAnt based on the evaporative cooling technique not only consumes less electricity but also effectively reduces our dependence on air conditioners.

  2. Another startup that was part of our FLCTD Acceleration Program, Himalayan Hemp has come up with a green construction mix material that can be sustainably used in the process of construction.

  3. ZERUND That Makes Eco-friendly Bricks Out of Waste Plastic, Raises Funding from NEVF (North-East Venture Fund).

Decarbonizing the Transport sector

It is not a newly known fact that India is the world’s third-largest oil importer and home to some of the world’s most polluted cities. Out of all the causes of pollution from the sector in the country, road transport contributes about 90 percent of the total emissions (EnergyWorld ET, 2019). So, the big leap in the mobility sector this year will be finding alternative sources that are easily available, based on indigenous technology, affordable, environment-friendly for both production and consumption — ‘well-to-wheel’, economically viable, and compatible with the existing vehicles. Bio-ethanol, methanol, Bio-CNG, Bio-diesel, and hydrogen, are all coming up as unique and relevant energy solutions to power the mobility sector in India. Apart from these, the shift toward EVs looks like an inevitable one, December 2021 was the first time when electric vehicle registrations crossed the 50,000 units mark in a month.

Examples:

EV funding hits an all-time high in 2021 as investors bet big on support systems. Overall, the four prominent areas that guided investment in 2021 are Battery technology (Log 9 Materials, Lohum Cleantech), EV charging (Magenta EV Solutions, Exponent Energy, goEgoNetwork), Vehicle makers (Ola Electric, Detel, Simple Energy), and Mobility-as-a-service (Blusmart, 3ev Industries).


Integrating Climate-Friendly Waste Management and Circular Economy

Each year, 90 billion tonnes of primary materials are extracted and used globally, with only nine percent recycled (United Nations Environment Programme, 2019). This is commercially unsustainable and there are significant detrimental impacts on human health and the environment. With each year passing, as we are losing our time to deal with climate change, one problem that needs to be addressed this year, therefore, is — safe and sustainable waste management.

From waste-to-energy solutions, to waste segregating applications, chemical recycling and remanufacturing, and wastewater treatment methods, there is no end to the scope of innovations in this sector. For a country like ours, we can channel our waste into building up our economy. This is where circular-based waste management innovations can shine and help in the implementation of circular economy-based waste management.


Examples:

  1. Recykal on Tuesday announced a $22 million fundraise led by Morgan Stanley India.

  2. Phool.co Founded by engineering graduates, Ankit Agarwal & Prateek Kumar in July 2017, converts floral waste into charcoal-free luxury incense products.

  3. EnvoProtect, which was in the top three of our FLCTD Acceleration Program generates climate-conscious industrial products using unrecyclable paper waste.

  4. Revy, who was also a part of our FLCTD Acceleration Program has formulated an innovative and effective treatment of wastewater.

Alternate Solutions that offer a Lower Environmental Impact

2022 should be the year when companies both old and new understand that it’s highly trendy to be environment-friendly. Companies will have to leave behind their non-sustainable practices and have to think about incorporating nature in the way they think about products, technologies, processes, and business models.

Many startups and scaleups across industries are replacing fossil-based materials with green alternatives. These materials are sourced from organic sources, including food and Agri waste, without producing toxic by-products. Bioplastics and bio fibers are the most commonly used green materials and reduce the amount of waste from single-use plastics and textiles.

Example:

  1. Bengaluru-based green packaging startup Bambrew has picked up $2.35 Mn in its Pre-Series A round.

  2. Zeroplast which has come up with home compostable alternatives to single-use, non-recyclable plastics has so far raised ₹71 lakh via grants and prizes.

  3. Zerocircle, who is also the winner of our FLCTD Acceleration Program has created a carbon-efficient and hyper-compostable flexible packaging material.

Driving New Momentum for CCUS

Carbon capture, use, and storage (CCUS) is the process of capturing carbon emissions, thereby reversing their negative impacts, for storage or upcycling the captured carbon. These techniques ensure the clean disposal of industrial carbon dioxide (CO2) which would have otherwise polluted the environment. Strengthened climate goals and new investment incentives are delivering unprecedented momentum for CCUS, with plans for more than 100 new facilities announced for upcoming years. CCUS technologies will play an important role in meeting net-zero targets, including as one of the few solutions to tackle emissions from heavy industry and to remove carbon from the atmosphere (IEA, 2022).

Innovations in this area include artificial photosynthesis using bio solar leaves and phytoplankton-based solutions that mimic the chemical process of photosynthesis. CCUS advancements are also tackling bovine methane emissions, one of the largest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions (Startus Insights, 2022). Besides this, startups that are developing technologies to upcycle carbon into various useful materials like carbon-based plastics and biochar, have a chance to stand out!

Example:

  1. Startups like Smart Joules, Carbon Masters, and Graviky Labs are providing us with similar solutions. Their ideas range from capturing carbon emissions from cars and improving the energy efficiency of buildings to turning city waste into gas.

  2. Carbon Clean, a leader in low-cost carbon dioxide capture and separation technology, announced today that it has joined forces with Veolia, the global leader for optimized resource management, to exclusively develop multiple green projects in India.

Role of IoT and Automation in Climate Change

To speed up manual tasks in different sectors like manufacturing, agriculture, and transportation, the upcoming Monitoring and Automation Systems are going to be highly effective in steering industries toward sustainability. These monitoring systems are enabling autonomous solutions like smart thermostats to control appliances. Sustainable automation also finds applications in a smart factory setting wherein operators use AI to optimize functions. Innovations that greatly reduce the energy wasted by gadgets when not in use are the way forward for a smart future.


  1. Living Things, which was also a part of our FLCTD Acceleration is providing a retrofittable device for Air Conditioners to improve efficiency by 15%.

  2. LivNSense, which was among the top three startups of our FLCTD Acceleration Program is decarbonizing the manufacturing sector by using Real-Time Energy Balancing AI.

  3. iRasus, also a part of our FLCTD Acceleration Program has created a platform that enables data visualization, data analytics, and software services.

Well, the trends discussed here might just scratch the surface of Cleantech trends in the country but what’s important is to understand that startups working towards a greener tomorrow will rule not only this year but upcoming years too! Cleantech has the potential to fill the missing part in every step of the value chain and it thus becomes essential for a safer and more sustainable economy.

If your innovation can provide a solution, then you are the TREND and we at AIC-Sangam would like to like to help you every step of the way in commercializing your innovation.


To know more, visit us at: https://www.aic-sangam.org/


Blog Credits: Shikhita Gupta


References





Electric mobility in India: A big leap towards a brighter future — Opinion by Atul Arya | ET EnergyWorld https://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/energy-speak/electric-mobility-in-india-a-big-leap-towards-a-brighter-future/3747



Carbon capture, utilization, and storage — Fuels & Technologies — IEA https://www.iea.org/fuels-and-technologies/carbon-capture-utilisation-and-storage


Top 8 Cleantech Trends & Innovations for 2022 | StartUs Insights https://www.startus-insights.com/innovators-guide/top-8-cleantech-trends-2022/


Green Building Materials Market size worth $ 653.41 Billion, Globally, by 2028 at 10.5% CAGR: Verified Market Research® https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/green-building-materials-market-size-worth--653-41-billion-globally-by-2028-at-10-5-cagr-verified-market-research-301415278.html


Why 2022 can be a watershed year for EV adoption in India https://yourstory.com/2021/12/2022-watershed-year-ev-adoption-india/amp


How circular waste management systems can benefit the environment — 2021 — IIASA https://previous.iiasa.ac.at/web/home/about/200110-circular-waste-management-systems.html



2022: The ‘sweet spot’ for Carbon Clean https://www.carbonclean.com/blog/ceo-blog-2022-the-sweet-spot




Climate tech investments gain pace in India | KrASIA https://kr-asia.com/climate-tech-investments-gain-pace-in-india






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