Cleantech is short for Clean Technology, a term that is growing more and more popular in the modern world. It usually represents a set of technologies that either reduces or optimises the use of natural resources, whilst at the same time reducing the negative effect that technology has on the planet and the environment.

The aims of cleantech are to provide users with enhanced performance at lower costs, use natural resources more wisely and at the same time, reduce negative ecological footprint.

There are a few key areas of interest for cleantech enthusiasts. These include, but are not limited to: the use of sustainable energy as opposed to depending on burning fossil fuels, waste management, recycling, providing clean water and pollution reduction.

Here are the 8 main categories of cleantech, as defined by Kachan & Co.

Sustainable energy

This category encourages the use of renewable energy sources, such as:

  • Sun (solar panels convert light into into electrical current)
  • Wind (wind turbines, wind farms)
  • Geothermal (using the heat from the Earth itself)
  • Marine (tidal, wave or rivers)
  • Renewable fuels (ethanol, biogas and methanol)
  • Biomass (wood combustion)
  • Waste-to-energy (anaerobic digestion, gasification, and waste heat recovery)
  • Nuclear (fusion, waste disposal)

Energy storage

This includes ways of storing energy without harming the environment, to use on our smallest home devices, to large factories.

  • Batteries (wet and dry cells, reserve batteries)
  • Thermal storage (molten salt, ice, chilled water)
  • Hydrogen storage
  • Mechanical storage (pumped water, compressed air)
  • Super / ultracapacitors


  • Smart grid
  • Cogeneration (combined heat and power)
  • Semiconductors
  • Green building (deigns, building automation)
  • Data centres and devices (virtualisation, smart appliances)
  • Collaborative consumption systems (ride sharing, co-housing, garden sharing)


  • Vehicles (hybrids, electric cars, water transportation)
  • Traffic management (lighting and signals, parking management)
  • Fueling / charging infrastructure (fast charging, battery swapping, alternative fuel conversion)

Air and environment

  • Recycling and waste (new sorting technologies, waste treatment and management)
  • Bioremediation
  • Emissions control (biofiltration, catalytic converters)
  • Carbon sequestration (geoengineering, forestry, agriculture)
  • Carbon trading / offsets (software systems)
  • Monitoring and compliance (toxin detection, sensors and software)

Clean industry

  • Equipment innovation (efficient motors, heat pumps, controls)
  • Materials innovation (nano, bio, glass, chemical, ceramics, adhesives)
  • Design innovation (biomimicry, software)
  • Production (construction, fabrication, toxin minimisation)
  • Monitoring and compliance (automation, sensors, software systems)
  • Advanced packaging (packing, containers)


  • Monitoring and compliance software systems and sensors)
  • Efficiency (recycling, smart irrigation, water saving appliances)
  • Treatment (filtration, purification, waste treatment)
  • Transmission (mains repair and improvement)
  • Production (desalination, air-to-water)


  • Aquaculture (health and yield, containment, waste innovations)
  • Crop farming (natural fertilisers, biotech, weed, pest and disease control)
  • Controlled environment agriculture (hydroponics, aeroponics, improved greenhouses)
  • Animal farming (waste innovations)
  • Sustainable forestry