Enabling technologies are new processes and techniques used to develop and improve existing technologies. Among other things, they can optimize the development and use of clean technology. Information and communications technologies (ICT), nanotechnologies and optics-photonics are examples of enabling technologies.
Information and communications technologies (ICT)
Information and communications technologies (ICT) are used to produce, process, transmit, communicate, interpret, save and dematerialize information. By helping us reduce travel, material resources and energy use and encouraging the use of energy-efficient goods and services, the ICT industry plays an important supporting role in the entire cleantech sector.
Optics-photonics refers to all the knowledge and practices associated with the generation, manipulation, detection and use of light. Technological developments in optics-photonics are used in the detection and monitoring of gases and other pollutants, solvent-free chemical analysis, device energy optimization, wind turbine/solar panel performance improvements, traffic measurement/management and more efficient waste sorting.
Nanotechnologies involve manipulating and controlling matter with at least one dimension on the nanoscale (nm, or one-thousandth of a metre), to create materials with amazing qualities: resistance to UV degradation, impact, scratches and corrosion, as well as lightness, sturdiness, conductivity, and antibacterial and antireflective properties vastly superior to those of traditional materials. A major benefit of these breakthroughs is the possibility of obtaining materials or configurations in systems with tailor-made functionalities. In terms of the environment and energy efficiency, the enhanced reactivity of some nanoparticles makes them promising candidates for fixing pollutants and developing new-generation processes.