Asian Climate Tech Businesses: Making the Right Impact on Climate Change
Several countries in Asia, such as Japan, the Philippines, India and Sri Lanka, have faced the brunt of the effects of climate change in recent years. Typhoons, hurricanes, floods and intense heatwaves have caused the loss of lives and damage to properties and infrastructures across Asia. Soon, more Asian countries will be experiencing the dire consequences of climate change, especially if reasonable efforts are not taken to mitigate it.
In Asia, governments and businesses have started investing in climate technology to positively impact climate change. In 2021, more than 3,000 climate tech startups were identified globally, with an investment value of US$ 87.5 billion between 2021 and the second half of 2022.
It is reported that 2021 has seen 28 new climate tech Unicorns, valued at over US$ 1 billion through venture funding rounds, added to the industry—bringing the total climate tech Unicorn count to 47. Of these 28 climate tech Unicorns, eight are Asia-based—seven are in China, and one is from India. Most climate technology investments have been made in mobility and transportation companies, with other areas, such as wind power, food waste technology, and solar power, receiving a smaller share of the pie.
Under former Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga's leadership, Japan announced in 2020 that the country would aim to be carbon neutral by 2050. Businesses, including prominent brand names in Japan, such as Toyota Motors and Panasonic, have started working on solid-state batteries to attain this goal. Solid-state batteries are expected to cut the carbon footprint of electric vehicles by about 29% compared to the current liquid lithium-ion batteries. Toyota Motors have announced that they plan to launch an electric car fitted with solid-state batteries by 2025, which will transform the electric vehicle market, especially in Asia.
In a bid for clean energy, other Japanese businesses, such as Toshiba, have developed what is claimed to be the "world's most efficient large-scale film-based perovskite solar cell". With the technology deployed to create a thinner, lighter and more flexible solar panel, Toshiba believes that their perovskite panels can be used in many locations, (which may not be suitable for traditional solar panels), in both urban and rural spaces. This new climate change technology can also transform the agriculture industry, responsible for 8.5% of greenhouse emissions in 2019, by being fitted onto greenhouses. Ricoh, another well-established Japanese brand, is also working on similar perovskite technology by creating flexible energy harvesting devices that can power everyday applications, including wearable terminals, headphones that do not require charging, and more.
In Indonesia, one of the country's more prominent corporations, Bakrie & Brothers, has also pledged its support to the government's effort to mitigate climate change. The business, which has been heavily reliant on industrialisation processes, has recalibrated its focus and is looking toward sustainable options. This includes the company's venture into developing, manufacturing and introducing electric buses to the Indonesian demographic. Bakrie & Brothers are also committed to providing sustainable energy through collaborations with PT PLN, an Indonesian government-owned electric power distribution corporation. Together, the two corporations are working on sustainable energy solutions, including procuring and installing hybrid solar power plants.
Understanding the unprecedented needs of the moment, businesses across Asia are coming through to support their governments on climate change technology efforts. With the stance that many governments are adopting regarding climate issues, it is expected that more new and existing businesses will emerge or divert their modus operandi to incorporate climate tech solutions.
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