Cleantech Research Agenda Update – Q3 2020

Quarterly Research Check-in

 Cleantech Group’s research agenda focuses on growth opportunities powered by innovation. From trends and companies to the people and ideas defining the future of industry, we are tracking and engaging with thousands of start-up companies who are shaping a more digitized, de-carbonized and resource-efficient future.

Our analyst team delivers insights on sectors and investment trends allowing our clients to evaluate market attractiveness, business models and competitiveness. We conduct hundreds of research interviews every year across our ecosystem of entrepreneurs, investors, corporations and governments in order to develop a deep expertise in technology and innovation trends.

 Here are some highlights from the great stuff we’ve recently published:

  • Fusion Energy: Path towards commercialization: Producing energy from nuclear fusion is widely regarded as the grand engineering challenge of the 21st century. Fusion has the potential to provide an always available, environmentally benign and distributed future solution.  It can also provide utility-scale energy on-demand, making it an excellent complement for intermittent renewables and battery storage. While the common narrative for fusion is that commercialization remains ~20-30 years away, this analysis examines how international efforts, and advancements in enabling technology have set the stage for the rise private-sector activity, and, accelerated timelines.

Near-Term Commercialization Technology Developers

  • Innovation to make Electric Buses work for Cities: A key challenge with operating electric buses is the current limited range, which is on average ~265 miles for a single charge compared to ~700 miles for a full tank of diesel.  One of the keys to overcome the limited range challenge will be is to operate the buses as a network, rather than a group of individual vehicles.  This solution will require more sophisticated routing, scheduling and charging mechanisms than transit agencies have historically used. This analysis assesses the software-based, data-driven solutions needed to provide operators with the tools they need to make electric buses work for all fleets.

  • Q2 Quarterly Investment Monitor: This detailed report captures the global cleantech venture investment trends as well as geographic and investment stage breakdowns. 2Q20 concludes as another strong quarter with investment activity amounting to $9 billion, a 6% decrease from 1Q20. The effects of COVID-19 are not evident in the overall 2Q20 cleantech investment activity yet, possibly given the time it takes for deals to go through from initialization to announcement, and due to increased financial incentives and economic reassurance from governments and corporates.

Q2 2020 Deal $ Amount & Volume

For the 2H 2020, we are working on these great topics:

Agriculture & Food

  • Food Service Logistics – With Covid-19 brings the restaurant and commercial kitchen industry to a standstill, food chain resiliency and agility are being tested like never before. The total impact of food waste due to Covid-19 is still being calculated. As the industry adjusts to this ultimate challenge, we will look at the technology and innovation which is increasing the agility and resiliency of the food service system from logistics requirements, to safety, to marketplaces and food waste solutions.

Energy & Power

  • Grid Resilience challenges – Reliability of power supply is a real concern. Electricity network were designed many years ago to carry power in one direction from large coal plants in rural areas to population centres. They are not yet designed to deal with ramping adoption of renewable energy and omnidirectional electricity distribution. Transmission and distribution lines are starting to support the latest technologies to improve energy security and responsiveness to future-proof operations. Innovation is playing a key role.

Materials & Chemicals

  • Additive Manufacturing – This transformative technology is going to have a significant impact on industrial production, enabling the development of on-demand parts as needed. 3D printing/additive manufacturing will have a significant impact on the supply chain, producing needed parts locally and on demand. For manufacturers in the machinery, aerospace and automotive sectors among many others seeking improvements to supply chain resiliency, additive manufacturing will be a key part of the solution.

Resources & Environment

  • Innovation in commercial wastewater treatment – Solutions for commercial wastewater must be long-lasting and meet current and future standards for public and environmental health.  In the last year alone, Cleantech Group has monitored 27 deals in wastewater treatment totaling over $35 million. As building owners look to guarantee the safety of their water supply in a post Covid-19 world and with corporations increasingly motivated to tackle their environmental impacts, innovations in commercial wastewater treatment are coming!

Transportation & Logistics 

  • Fleet management – Mobility is moving from private vehicle ownership to a service-based model enabled by fleets. Innovative technologies, services and business models will be needed to operate fleets efficiently, service vehicles, reduce emissions and maximize margins. This insight will explore ‘fleetification’ of mobility and the innovation enabling and following this trend.

Recently Published Research

Upcoming Research 2H 2020