From the lab to the world: Transforming climate tech solutions into reality

By Woo Hoi Yuet

How aspiring entrepreneurs are transforming their innovative ideas into real-life impacts to solve the climate crisis.

Carbon-capture technology, meat made from cell-based fish fat, and proposals for sustainable forest management— these cutting-edge solutions all hold great potential to solve the climate crisis.

But many of these solutions may be destined to remain a dream in the minds of young entrepreneurs, unless someone can help them make them a reality. With the support of governments, private enterprises, and non-government organisations, youths can bring their innovative ideas to life and drive meaningful change in the world.

Here are some exciting climate tech solutions that have great potential to tackle the climate crisis, and how aspiring entrepreneurs are supported by the public and private sectors.

Turning ideas into real-world impacts 

Many entrepreneurs in the sustainability sector are already coming up with ground-breaking climate tech innovations to address climate change. Climate tech refers to technological solutions that can help tackle the climate crisis. Examples include developing green transportation, sustainable alternatives to plastic, and automated recycling systems.

Red Dot Analytics, a deep tech firm, uses an AI-driven digital twin solution to help data centres and reduce energy consumption. In Singapore, data centres contribute seven per cent of the country’s electricity consumption.

But the firm’s solution digitalises data centre operations by simulating them in the digital twin. This allows data centres to predict energy consumption and reduce the amount of electricity used to power them.

In the field of food sustainability, alternative food start-up ImpacFat  developed a technology that can create meat products using fish fat cultivated from stem cells. This reduces the carbon emissions produced by the meat industry, improves food security, and preserves the rich biodiversity on Earth.

GAIT, a start-up from Australia, has also developed machine-learning software that uses data from sensors and satellites to measure carbon emissions in real time.

These data allow organisations to evaluate the progress of sustainability projects, such as reforestation and carbon capture technology. It can also make carbon credit schemes easier to implement, which limits the extent of carbon emissions that countries or businesses are allowed to emit.

Countries around the world have been placing more emphasis on building a more sustainable future. The Paris Agreement, for instance, signals an international commitment to reduce carbon emissions.

But even with vision and political will, countries cannot achieve their goal of mitigating climate change without the help of climate tech solutions. Sustainability entrepreneurs need sufficient support to transform their ideas into business opportunities and practical solutions.

Supporting climate tech solutions

The Liveability Challenge is an example of how organisations can support innovation in the climate tech space. Presented by Temasek Foundation and organised by Eco-Business, it showcased a  diverse team of sustainability talents globally.

Sustainability changemakers can “seek out collaboration as well as funding support opportunities from the sustainability ecosystem”, explains Lim Hock Chuan, Head of Programmes at Temasek Foundation.

A successful example is RWDC Industries, the winner of the first run of The Liveability Challenge. It managed to expand its services from substituting plastic straws with bio-based plastic alternatives to bottles and personal care products.

This was made possible after they secured over US$200 million in follow-on investment and scored collaborations with multinational corporations after winning the challenge, shared Lim.

The winning project for The Liveability Challenge 2022 was Fairventures Social Forestry. With the organisation’s help, local farmers in Indonesia planted a million trees and reforested degraded land. They were also able to secure a livelihood through selling timber and cash crops in recovered forests sustainably.

They aim to “create long-term value, income opportunities for local communities, and positive climate contributions”, shared Fairventures Social Forestry. The grand prize of S$1 million in funding will go a long way in helping them achieve their goals.

Future runs of The Liveability Challenge will continue empowering entrepreneurs to bring their ideas into the market, scale-up existing projects, and foster greater collaboration between investors and governments to build a sustainable future.

Unlocking the potential of climate tech

Looking toward the future, the climate tech field shows much potential. Public and private sectors are starting to recognise its importance, with investment in climate tech more than tripling in 2021, according to PWC.

Transitioning to a carbon-neutral society will require private sectors to adopt a more climate-conscious business model. It might seem like a tough change, but climate tech allows companies to do so more easily.

For example, Singapore-based firm Unravel Carbon has developed an AI-powered software that helps companies in Asia “track and reduce their carbon emissions” in their supply chains. It also automatically generates climate solutions that help organisations achieve net-zero emissions.

Public-private partnerships are also essential in building a conducive environment that can unlock the potential of climate tech solutions. In partnership with Eat Just, a company that developed lab-grown chicken, Singapore is the first country that legalised the sale of lab-grown meat.

This is Singapore’s first step toward becoming a forerunner and innovation hub in developing alternative proteins. Reducing dependency on imported meats is also key to improving food security and building a sustainable food system.

“Our planet needs all the help she can get, and all solutions, big or small, will make a difference in tackling climate change and sustainability,” Lim says. With sufficient support, these sustainability entrepreneurs’ ideas no longer have to remain on the drawing board or in laboratories—they can be implemented in real-world markets and drive meaningful change.