Startups in Asia Pacific fight climate change with technology

Photo credit: Jason Cooper

Photo credit: Jason Cooper

As businesses and governments have been slow to act, activism over climate change has intensified and outspoken leaders like Greta Thunberg and organisations like Extinction Rebellion and Birthstrike have emerged. Although grassroots activism plays an important role, businesses must also take action. Without the involvement of companies responsible for the massive amounts of CO2 emissions and energy consumption, there is no real possibility to reduce the effects of climate change quickly enough to avoid further irreversible consequences. Irreversible climate change is difficult to measure. Researchers predict we have either 12, 20 or 30 years left to save our planet. But ultimately, as the effects of climate change become harder to ignore, public, private, global and local communities must do their part.

In the Asia Pacific region, statistics warn that by 2025, 750 million people will be at risk from flooding, by 2035, 20 billion tons of CO2 (46% of the whole planet’s emissions) will be emitted into the atmosphere, and 88% of people in Asia will experience water shortage by 2050.

Fortunately, there are a few tech leaders who decided to take matters into their own hands and respond to the environmental problems that we’re all beginning to experience. Asia, with high levels of deforestation, nearly 1.7 billion people without access to safe, clean water and air pollution, needs technology solutions that are also environmentally friendly. Here are some of the startups putting tech to good use against climate change:

  1. EcoWorth Tech is a Singaporean startup specializing in transforming waste materials into reusable products. Its carbon fibre aerogel, which absorbs up to 99% of organic material, is making it possible to reuse wastewater. This solution is also cheaper than traditional filters and can be made locally, eliminating the need for transport.

  2. Zenatix is an Indian startup aimed at optimising energy consumption. They do so by installing sensors for temperature, humidity and energy usage, transferring the data into cloud systems and creating smart control alerts for electronic devices. In other words, all the electronics you use will become less wasteful, more efficient and cost-effective. Plus, since electricity and heat contribute to 30% of climate change, it offers one of the most far-reaching solutions.

  3. Karma Recycling aims to minimise the negative impact of electronics waste, this Indian-based startup collects used smartphones, tablets and laptops, repairs and resells 95% of them, and recycles the rest. They have already collected over 100,000 mobile devices. 

  4. Weltmeister, based in Shanghai, was founded in 2015 and produces affordable, high-quality electric vehicles, and has raised more than a $1 billion from investors. The company already owns one manufacturing factory, is building another one, and is selling and delivering their vehicles to 29 cities in China.

  5. Transkinetic developed Movnetic, an innovative technology based on the idea of reusing the kinetic energy that’s normally lost when a car slows down or brakes. The smart hump absorbs energy and converts it into clean, reusable electricity. In addition to vehicles, the technology can collect kinetic energy from wind and solar power.