Let’s take a look at where global sustainability is going, with an eye on sustainable technologies and technological innovations in the sustainability space.
What sustainable technologies are out there? Which sustainable solutions are gaining the most traction? And what technology could be the biggest accelerator in the sustainability agenda?
What sustainable technological innovations will be at the forefront of global debates in 2021, and which will have the greatest impact? Let’s find out!
1. Hybrid public transportation.
It’s not only individual car owners who have more access to electric vehicles (EVs) than ever before.
But today there are more than 175 electric and hybrid vehicle models available today.
We expect to see rapid growth in electric cars, especially when large manufacturers like Volkswagen start engaging the hybrid car space to a greater extent.
2. Electric trucks
Commercial fleets may soon follow in the footsteps of personal electric vehicles, which are rapidly gaining market share.
However, a thorough understanding of the total cost of ownership is needed to ensure a smooth transition.
Electric trucks, also known as “eTrucks,” were once prohibitively expensive to adopt.
However, due to increasingly cost-competitive and readily available electric vehicle infrastructure, the overall cost of ownership for electric trucks may soon be comparable to that of diesel-powered trucks.
3. Low-cost energy storage
With the rise of electric cars, the demand for lithium and cobalt batteries has exploded and their prices have plummeted.
Compared to $1,000 per kilowatt-hour just nine years ago, lithium ion batteries currently cost $200 per kilowatt-hour.
The expanded battery market has ramifications for more than just electric vehicles. They’re being used more widely by industry and utilities as energy-storage solutions.
4. Long-term storage
Lithium-ion batteries are perfect for short-term storage needs (4-5 hours) that occur regularly (20-200 times per year).
But the industry still requires solutions for long-term storage needs caused by seasonal changes and multi-day cycles when the sun isn’t shining and the wind isn’t blowing.
5. Recycled plastic
Every year, 260 million tonnes of plastic waste are generated around the world, but only 16 percent of it is recycled.
The plastics industry has the opportunity to transition away from a “take, make, and dispose” business model and toward a circular model, which seeks to reduce waste across sectors while providing economic, social, and environmental benefits.
6. LED efficiency
LED lighting is rapidly replacing conventional incandescent bulbs in American homes, with an estimated market share of 84 percent by 2030.
LED lights alone would cut energy demand by 40% by 2030, saving $26 billion in today’s energy prices.
7. Easily accessible solar energy
Renewable energy will begin to become more affordable and available in 2019, a development that will have significant consequences for the nearly 1 billion people who do not have access to electricity around the world.
8. Carbon sequestration and storage
Rather than concentrating solely on fully decarbonizing the major industrial commodities behind plastics and cement, we should also consider safely capturing the carbon released during production.
CCS helps businesses to catch carbon at its source, compact it, and transport it to a suitable long-term storage location.
Not only does the technology have the potential to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but it also has the potential to generate additional revenue if CO2 can be profitably used to produce other goods.
It’s difficult to see how we’ll reach aggressive climate targets without hydrogen as a key component of the solution.
By 2050, hydrogen-powered vehicles are expected to fuel more than 400 million cars, 15 to 20 million buses, and more than 20% of passenger ships and locomotives, according to hydrogen-led environmental pathways.