Water and environmental technology cover a range of solutions that mitigate the negative effects that our modern society has on the environment.
Clean works with five areas, which are shown below. The further analysis of the water and environmental technology companies is based on these five areas.
The five areas are not mutually exclusive, and a number of the Danish (particularly large) water and environmental technology companies have activities in several areas, which contributes to the coherence of the cluster.
Water technology includes solutions, products and technology related to ‘water in pipes’, including water supply, wastewater management and water/sewerage systems. Denmark is a world leader when it comes to developing innovative solutions in the water sector. Therefore, we bring together the entire water ecosystem in the technosphere to support and develop the Danish position of strength.
Danish companies have more water-related patents per capita than any other country (2023). At the same time, the national and global market potential for sustainable water solutions in the technosphere is enormous.
Denmark is in the top 3 among the EU-15 countries in terms of water technology exports, which totalled DKK 20.6 billion in 2018. There are approximately 350 water companies in Denmark.
The environmental cluster’s innovation priorities within Water in the Technosphere are:
Living Labs: Access to testing and demonstration facilities.
Digitalisation: Data and data sharing.
Sector coupling: Water and energy are interlinked, especially with regard to the many PtX projects that require huge amounts of water for the electrolysis process.
Different water qualities for different purposes: Clean supports the reuse of secondary water from industry and households, where water can have different purity depending on the purpose. This circular approach to water as a resource saves precious drinking water resources and uses less energy.
Water and resources: Resource recovery (e.g. phosphorus) and utilisation of wastewater for e.g. biogas production.
Entrepreneurship and export promotion.
Climate change caused by human emissions of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere is the biggest challenge facing the global society today. However, it’s not just greenhouse gases that pollute our atmosphere and the air we breathe.
That’s why Clean is dedicated to supporting the development of technologies that can monitor and reduce greenhouse gases and other harmful atmospheric emissions from industry, agriculture, transport and other activities. This will help improve not only our planet’s climate, but also public health in the world’s cities.
It is estimated that more than 500 Danish companies produce clean air technologies or solutions, or provide various types of services, analyses and consultancy. Danish exports of clean air technology totalled DKK 17.4 billion in 2015.
The environmental cluster’s innovation priorities within Air are:
Technologies for capture, transport and utilisation of greenhouse gases (CCUS): We are a member of the Danish innovation programme INNO-CCUS, as well as the regional lighthouse, CO2-Visionen, in Denmark.
Efficient and digital methods for increased monitoring and filtering of odours and emissions from agriculture, including the use of drones, sensors and models for better monitoring.
Reduction of emissions from combustion from production and shipping, including cross-industry collaborations with a focus on CO2 capture and storage.
Measurement, control and improvement of air quality in the working environment, indoor climate and outdoor air: With a focus on developing measurement methods, purification technologies and optimised ventilation, we want to improve air quality while reducing the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
The many environmental challenges present a huge potential for innovation in areas such as measuring, monitoring and restoring pollution in soil and water, as well as promoting biodiversity and nature quality.
It is estimated that approximately 70 companies are active in the soil sector alone in Denmark, and that the turnover in the soil industry in 2013 was around 1.2 billion DKK.
In Denmark’s environmental cluster, we bring together the ecosystem within Soil, Water and Nature to make Danish companies world leaders in this area.
The environmental cluster’s innovation priorities within Soil, Water & Nature are:
Denmark develops future technologies and solutions to monitor, prevent and restore the environment.
Clean works to develop new innovative solutions and environmental technologies that help protect nature and promote biodiversity. Particularly on utilising nature-based and circular solutions.
Denmark also utilises its strong position in soil remediation technologies that threaten nature and the environment.
Clean supports the development of sustainable onsite and in situ soil and groundwater remediation technologies that combine minimal material and resource consumption with optimal cleaning performance and reuse of cleaned materials.
Protecting nature through new and innovative digital solutions.
Clean supports the development of digital equipment, technologies and methods for measuring and monitoring environmental conditions. These include geoinformatics, drones, satellite data and the use of artificial intelligence (AI).
Climate adaptation is a major societal challenge where a holistic mindset must work towards securing stressed cities, infrastructures, and society.
In climate adaptation, there are two paths: Nature-based solutions (NBS) and ‘grey’ structures.
NBS could be localised rainwater drainage, green roofs, shade to lower urban heat and improving biodiversity. Grey structures could be the management of large amounts of rainfall, such as fixed barriers by the sea and pipelines and rainwater tanks.
In Denmark, we are good at managing water, with only 4% of the water in the water system disappearing. In other Nordic countries, losses are as high as 15-20%. In Denmark, we are at the forefront in many areas of nature-based solutions that can be quickly exported.
The environmental cluster’s innovation priorities within Climate adaptation are:
Digital methods for forecasting and monitoring extreme rainfall and water masses – including climate adaptation strategies to protect nature, buildings and people.
Holistic knowledge of stormwater technologies and water management methods – we match utilities and municipalities with water companies and support the development of new, innovative stormwater technologies and nature-based methods including infiltration, retention, treatment of surface water for unwanted elements.
Materials play a key role in the green transition. Resource constraints and environmental impacts have become critical issues globally. The environmental impact of a material ranges from raw material extraction to final recycling. It is essential to promote the sustainable use of materials and recognise waste as a valuable resource.
For industry, key materials are plastics, metals, wood, glass and concrete. In Denmark, many manufacturing companies utilise these materials to produce a variety of products.
We focus on waste, resources and materials to place Danish companies among the world elite in this field.
The Environmental Cluster’s innovation priorities within Waste, Resources and Materials are:
Mechanical and chemical recycling of plastics, closing the plastic loop, and developing CO2-neutral solutions for chemical recycling.
Denmark aims to design and produce sustainable materials with circular life cycles. Clean supports this effort, especially within plastics and textiles.
We support the development of new methods for textile recycling, including fibre recycling and chemical recycling of textiles.
In partnership with the Danish Construction Cluster, Clean strengthens the market for recycling building materials, promotes knowledge about demolition and construction and establishes a central database for the construction industry.
We focus on the recycling and safe disposal of electronic products to reduce environmental damage. Furthermore, we promote innovation in the reuse of rare metals and valuable components found in electronics to support a more sustainable electronics industry.
Tech Tour Water Tech 2023
In May 2023, water technology took centre stage in Aarhus, Denmark, as 40 selected SMEs got the chance to present their innovative solutions to investors from across the globe. Among the companies, you could find several members of Clean on stage introducing their water technology solutions to the international audience.
Our activities in numbers
Companies participate in the cluster’s activities annually
Companies participate in our international activities annually