Clean technology is about more than just wind and solar

Source: Heraldnet, Janice Podsada Feb 4 2020

What is clean technology? Until 10 or 15 years ago, clean tech referred almost exclusively to ventures focused on the design and manufacture of renewable energy sources — such as wind and solar and the batteries used to store that energy.

Now,it can be used to describe products and services that reduce pollution, waste and energy use in a broad range of industries, said Diane Kamionka, head of TheLab@Everett, a business incubator that’s paired with the Seattle-based CleanTech Alliance to present monthly clean tech discussions.

“Clean tech is now incorporated into manufacturing, food production and packaging,” Kamionka said.

Nearly 84,000 people are employed in clean tech sectors throughout Washington, according to a report called Clean Jobs Washington 2019, including 36,500 in King County, 7,800 in Snohomish County and 7,000 in Pierce County.

Cutting an unnecessary step in a manufacturing process or supply chain can lower costs and the amount of greenhouse gases that are emitted.

In Bothell, ASX Composites, a year-old startup, is about to deploy machines that can manufacture carbon fiber composites in small quantities and onsite, a method that can save on storage and transportation costs, said Andy Buchan, the firm’s vice president of strategy and business development.

Composites, the materials used in the manufacture of lightweight aerospace parts and wind turbines, are usually manufactured in large quantities and then stored in huge refrigerators that gobble electricity. Delivery requires hauling the material on refrigerated trucks. ASX Composites hopes to streamline the process at several points in the supply chain — reducing storage time and transportation costs.

For 20 years, WaterTectonics, an Everett firm, has been treating wastewater that’s used in the construction, mining and oil-and-gas industries. The company’s patented technologies remove heavy metals, oil and other particles so that water can be safely returned to the environment. “It’s one thing to put together a small system in the basement — the challenge is getting it to work in an industry where the flow might be 100 to 2,000 gallons a minute,” said Jason Mothersbaugh, the company’s vice president and general manager.

The Recology store in Bothell’s Canyon Park Place shopping center sells recycled products and up-cycled goods, including dryer fabric softeners made of recycled wool, wallets fashioned from airplane seat leather and a reusable ear swab. “It’s actually really popular,” said Erin Gagnon, who oversees Recology’s four Puget Sound retail locations.

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