Top Trends to Watch in Sustainable Technology

August 26, 2016

9:00 am

Some of the biggest opportunities in business have been and will continue to be in the areas of green technology. There are startups popping up seemingly everywhere that are using technologies in new ways to harness alternative energy sources, to solve problems solved by pollution, or simply to make sustainable technology accessible to all. Here are some trending startups, rising concerns, and emerging technologies.

Hot Eco Startups

MowGreen.US

This Connecticut-based lawncare startup was founded in 2007. It’s selling point is environmentally friendly lawn care services. This includes the use of solar and battery powered lawn mowers. The company has been steadily growing over the past nine years as it promotes sustainable, organic lawn care, along with promoting the practice of growing food in place of large patches of grass.

While this is and will likely remain a relatively small business, the concept behind it is exciting. One trend in housing developments is that HOA charters are frequently banishing the use of gas powered lawn care equipment. This means there is great opportunity for landscapers and lawn maintenance companies using environmentally friendly equipment.

Choose Energy

Many businesses and homeowners are no longer willing to accept the high rates and poor environmental practices of major utility companies. Instead, they are looking for smaller service providers who charge disruption level rates, and who are investing in sustainable energy sources, along with sustainable delivery methods. Choose Energy connects both residential and business customers with energy companies that are less expensive and often more environmentally friendly. In some areas of the United States, they’re even helping people find solar energy solutions.

Impossible Foods, Inc.

If you visit Momofuku Nishi in New York city, you can try a burger that the rest of the world is still anticipating. This is Impossible Foods’ plant based burger that is creating huge buzz in the restaurant industry. That’s huge, because for the most part, commercially prepared vegetable burger patties have been dismissed by restaurants catering to omnivores.

Impossible foods has managed to get this attention from chefs and publications such as food and wine magazine by using technology to extract a substance called heme for plant sources. This is a genetic building block that is manipulated to create a taste and texture like real meat.

Concerns Facing the Eco Technology Sector

Economic and political destabilization around the world is of great concern to leaders in the eco-technology space. The refugee crisis, unstable currency rates, economic troubles in Europe, Brexit, ongoing terror threats, and even the economic crisis in Brazil are just some factors that could have a native effect. For one, these crises can divert attention away from environmental issues towards other social issues. When attention goes away, interest from VC investors tends to dwindle as well.

Then, there’s the issue of falling petroleum prices. This can remove some incentive on the part of consumers to invest in sustainable technologies. In spite of all of these challenges, there are still plenty of opportunities. After the implementation of the Paris agreement, many of these will revolve around climate change solutions.

Emerging Technologies to Watch

Bladeless Wind Turbines

There’s no doubt that wind power is an infinite and free source of energy. Unfortunately, standard wind turbines do pose a risk to birds. There’s also an issue of noise pollution. Bladeless wind turbines solve both problems. Instead of using motion to generate energy, these turbines capture the vibrations created by wind.

Carbon Catching Technology

Many sustainable technology solutions focus on stopping pollution from happening in the first place. Carbon catching technology works at the other end of the spectrum. Greenhouse gases and other toxic emissions are collected. Then, they are provided to companies who can convert them into diesel fuel and other products. One company is even capturing soot from smokestacks and turning it into paint.

Keep an eye on the sustainable technology industry over the next five years. Whether you are an interested investor, entrepreneur, or simply a concerned citizen, you’re going to see lots of exciting action in this niche.

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Dianna is a former ESL teacher and World Teach volunteer, currently living in France. She's slightly addicted to apps and viral media trends and helps different companies with product localization and content strategies. You can tweet her at @dilabrien

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