The Definition of Cleantech
Cleantech, the compound word of “clean” and “technology”, is not a new concept. Related to environmental technology and green technology, cleantech refers to ecologically friendly technologies. But more than environmental and green technology, cleantech can simultaneously improve the performance or productivity of a business with cost-effective solutions. An official definition provided by the Cleantech group says, “Cleantech is new technology and related business models offering competitive returns for investors and customers while providing solutions to global challenges.”
The Most Eye-Catching 3 Technologies
1. Electric Mobility
Tesla, the electric automaker founded in 2003, has already been one of the most valuable companies worldwide. The huge success Tesla has made points out how rapidly electric mobility has evolved to enable cleantech in these years. Electric mobility refers to vehicles that are fully or partly driven by electricity, which include but are not limited to hybrid electric vehicles (HEV), plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV), range extended electric vehicles (REEV), and battery electric vehicles (EV), ranging from cars, mopeds, to bikes and scooters.
In the electric mobility field, one of the most essential technologies for running an electric vehicle would be EV charging, which currently can be categorized into AC and DC scenarios. With Linux OS, >64MB DDR memory, built-in ethernet and multiple CANs support, the microprocessors from Nuvoton can be applied to both AC and DC EV charging systems.
In addition, for DC EV charging systems, the PFC and 2nd rectifier circuits can be realized by SiC Schottky diodes and FREDs. PANJIT SiC Schottky diodes have zero Irr (reverse recovery current) and high surge current capability (high IFSM), while PANJIT FREDs have low Irr and soft recovery characteristics; both perform outstanding system efficiency and are suitable to be applied to high voltage systems.
Another technology RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification) is suitable for realizing the authentication between charging stations and electric vehicles. For instance, the RFID modules from REYAX, one of the greatest wireless module providers worldwide, have already been adopted by various power management suppliers. And it is worth mentioning that the new-launched RFID module RYRR10S can transmit the RF signals as far as 8 centimeters with its internal antenna and built-in firmware.
2. Renewable Energy Technologies
More and more renewable energy technologies are rising to achieve the goal of cleantech; solar and wind energy are two main applications that will be discussed here. The three main technologies to use solar power are photovoltaics (PV), concentrating solar power (CSP), and solar heating and cooling systems (SHC). Photovoltaics produce electricity by directly transforming the sunlight; CSP systems generate electricity by using the sunlight to power electric turbines; SHC systems use the sunlight energy to heat water or air.
On the other hand, wind energy is getting popular for its environmentally friendly characteristics. When air blows the blades on the wind turbines for the blades to rotate, the motor connected to the blades will convert the wind energy to electricity. Both onshore and offshore wind power are expected to grow significantly recently. Onshore wind turbines are cheaper, can be easily installed with cables shorter than these for offshore wind; while offshore wind turbines can produce more electricity as they can collect more constant wind than onshore wind.
Maximum power point trackers (MPPT) are used in both solar and wind energy generation to maximize the energy output according to current environmental conditions. Boost converters, which can be realized by Super Junction MOSFETs (SJ-MOSFETs), SiC Schottky Diodes or Speedy FREDs, are often used to implement MPPT. As mentioned above, PANJIT SiC Schottky Diodes and Speedy FREDs are with exceptional system efficiency, and PANJIT SJ-MOSFETs perform competitively with minimal conduction loss and switching loss. All of them can optimize the efficiency of solar and wind energy systems.
Since there is much information in the solar panels (such as the collected photons and the produced electricity) and wind turbines (such as weather data, the collected kinetic energy, and the produced electricity) that need to be transmitted to the cloud, gateways and wireless transmission modules are essentially needed. REYAX LoRa modules are suitable to be deployed to transmit these data from solar panels/wind turbines to inverters/gateways; Nuvoton microprocessors can be used as the processors of gateways; while REYAX WiFi modules can be the bridges between devices and cloud.
After wireless modules (such as LoRa modules with long range and low power consumption properties) transmit the detailed data of solar panels/wind turbines to inverters/gateways, the microprocessors in the gateways can collect, control, process, and transmit these data to the cloud by communicating with 4G/WiFi after analyzing them. Relying on the above solutions, then, a mature integration of cleantech and IoT can be achieved. Fig. 4 shows the architecture diagrams of the solar and wind energy systems.
3. Green Materials
Green hydrogen, bioplastics, and biofibers are well known green materials that can reduce pollution which was originated from fuel, traditional plastics, and fibers. Made from the electrolysis of water, green hydrogen is known to be the best alternative to fossil fuels since it merely produces water as its byproduct when being burned, revealing nearly zero carbon emissions. Although many challenges of green hydrogen application such as storage, distribution, cost, and efficiency still need to be overcome, its future is worth expecting.
Bioplastics and biofibers are plastics and fibers that are produced from renewable living organism sources like vegetables, crops, or agricultural waste. Some biofibers can also be made from natural materials like minerals. The development of bioplastics and biofibers effectively extends the range of cleantech and decrease the amount of plastic or fiber rubbish. More corporates and researchers are putting effort into this field to leverage social responsibilities.
As global warming has seriously impacted the climate, the environment, and the biosphere, cleantech becomes crucial to let human beings get a chance to find the balance between economic development and environmental protection. Electric mobility, renewable energy, and green materials all occupy important positions in the cleantech industry for now and the future.