Cleantech

Clean technologies try to enable our deep human desires to move around us and to consume all type of things, while still maintaining a level of sustainability for our planet. Some technologies even try to reverse the damage that has already been done.

Two fundamental problems with cleantech, are a “valley of death”, and that consumers usually don’t pay the full cost if they use traditional products that are stressing the environment. First, regarding the valley of death, one should realize that cleantech companies usually have capital-intensive activities. Whether they need or produce expensive machinery or infrastructure, or if things take long to develop, it is a fact that a lot of money needs to be put in and for a long time before any profit can be made. Many companies don’t make it to that point, not because the technology is unattractive but because the financiers become discouraged. Financing clean tech thus requires a special type of awareness of these mechanics (and potentially motivation that is not necessarily purely return-driven), and also the possibility that the financing might change to project based financing (potentially with other funders) for continuous money input once income is finally starting to come in. The second problem, where clean technologies are not always competitive in contrast to traditional technologies (where the cost of stress to the environment is not paid by the consumer), would explain that a clean technology needs a really smart solution (so that it can still be cheaper than the environmentally stressful substitute product), that it requires a really supporting attitude from its buyers (even if it might be more costly to them), or that the domain has a high degree of policy intervention (subsidies, etc.).