2021 Year In Review: A Complete Technology Round-up

Dec 31, 2021
7 min read

The twenty-first year of the 21st century has been a year of revolution in the field of technology. A significant number of highly lucrative and widely used technologies from the early 2000s have completely disappeared, and newer, better ones have replaced them.

Several completely new technologies have emerged, particularly in the fields of computer science and engineering. The year 2021 has been a great time for innovation in the field of green technology as well. Let’s look back at the exciting year that 2021 was, in terms of innovation and technology.

Innovative application factors, family-focused devices, and other innovations are all geared at keeping us away from our phones but still recording life's defining moments. These are a few of the breakthroughs in technology that helped define the technological year of 2021, as well as several to keep an eye on during the future.

1) Lithium-metal batteries

QuantumScape is working on a lithium-metal battery. According to early test findings, the battery may increase an electric vehicle's range by 80 percent and can be recharged quickly. VW has agreed to sell electric vehicles with the new type of battery by 2025, according to the company.

2) Green hydrogen

Green hydrogen is now affordable enough to be feasible, because of the tremendous decline in the cost of solar and wind power. Simply use electricity to zap water and you'll get hydrogen. Europe is leading the way, laying the groundwork for the necessary infrastructure.

3) Hyper-accurate positioning

New hyper-precise locating systems have accuracies of a few centimetres or millimetres, whereas today's GPS is accurate to within 5 to 10 meters. This opens up new possibilities, such as landslide warnings, distribution robots, and self-driving automobiles that can explore streets safely.

4) Data trusts

Data trusts are one solution that some governments are beginning to investigate. A data trust is a legal body that gathers and handles personal information on behalf of individuals. Although the form and purpose of these trusts are still being established, and many uncertainties remain, data trusts stand out as a possible solution to long-standing privacy and security issues.

5) Multi-skilled AI

Expanding AI's senses is one prospective way to improve its abilities; today, AI can perceive objects using computer vision or audio recognition, but it can't "speak" about what it sees and hears using natural-language algorithms. AIs with numerous senses will develop a better grasp of the environment around them, allowing them to be far more adaptable.

6) 5G technology

5g, one of the top upcoming technologies, will enter new markets very soon, providing benefits such as faster internet speeds, lower latency, and greater capacity. The advantages would allow driverless vehicles and wireless VR to operate with little technological hiccups.

7) Big data

With the increasing quantity of human-machine contact, the gadgets we carry with us every waking hour have become a tremendous data warehouse. Data that is just waiting to be transformed into useful information and advice that businesses can utilize to improve their service.

Top 10 Green Technology Round-up of 2021

Within the two domains of climate tech and clean tech, we discover hundreds of new industries focusing on certain elements of business and society, which make up the green tech realm in 2021. Most of these industries focus only on climate technology or cleantech, while others combine the two to effect social change.

1) Hydrogen planes

Hydrogen planes require special attention when it comes to green technologies. As the twenty-first century unfolds, the industry continues to demonstrate its desire for innovative design and innovation.

Sustainable aviation fuel, according to Airbus, is "produced from renewable raw materials." The most popular feedstocks include crops, leftover cooking oil, and animal fat, according to the report. United Airlines said that it has inked a commercial deal to buy planes from Boom Supersonic, a start-up.

2) Solar-powered desalination systems

Water supplies in several areas are contaminated with excessive amounts of salt and pollutants, an issue exacerbated by shifting precipitation patterns as a result of the climate crisis and regional population growth. Desalination can aid in the diversification of available water supplies. This will assist the United States to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 while also providing additional freshwater supplies to all Americans.

The US Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Alliance for Water Innovation (NAWI) have announced $5 million in government funding to assist develop desalination technology that will help towns around the country get freshwater.

3) Satellite mapping

Governments and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) can use the technology to build climate adaption infrastructure or conduct significant restoration programs without unexpected negative impacts.

Cultivo, a recently formed platform, uses data from remote sensors to allow investors to contribute to natural capital initiatives run by NGOs and landowners. It aims to invest $1 billion, which would be enough to repair 3.5 million hectares.

A company named 'Albedo' stated that it intends to create a constellation of low-orbit satellites that can give higher-resolution Earth imagery than is now available. It also just completed a $10 million seed round. Jetstream, Liquid2 Ventures, and Soma Capital all contributed to the investment, which was headed by Initialized Capital.

Pixxel, a Space-tech business located in Bengaluru, has raised $7.3 million in a venture fundraising round led by Omnivore and Techstars.

4) Smart farmland and forestry tracking

Nokia is collaborating with the Vodafone Foundation in India to implement IoT in the farming sector, beginning with soy and cotton. Over 400 sensors have been placed across 100,000 hectares of farmland to collect environmental data, which is then analyzed by a cloud-based program. The app communicates findings to farmers in simple English and local languages, as well as weather forecasts. It also includes advice on water conservation and pesticide management.

5) High-end Recycled Plastic

Banyan Nation, a non-profit organization in India, has started a recycling program to combat the difficulties created by plastic pollution. Its recycling process comprises a high level of cleansing and purifying, resulting in high-grade recycled plastic that may be used in a variety of applications. Locals will be employed by the company, which claims to recover 100% of the water used in its recycling procedures.

Carbios, a plastic recycling technology company located in France, has received funding from the European Union's LIFE program valued at over 3 million euros (around $3.38 million).

T.EN Zimmer GmbH will contribute its ‘monomer repolymerization expertise in 100 percent recycled polyethylene terephthalate (PET), and Deloitte will undertake an environmental management audit of the technology for plastic and textile garbage as part of the agreement.

6) Vertical farms

The existing usage of land by mankind is a key factor in climate change and biodiversity loss. According to the IPCC, land use accounts for 23% of man-made GHG emissions, with agriculture accounting for the bulk. As a result, it's no surprise that the green agricultural business is booming. The advancements vary from record-keeping on blockchain to solar-powered robots that can prune and plant.

Despite using 95 percent less water, a two-acre vertical farm in California produced more food in 2020 than a regular 720-acre farm. After a successful trial at M&S in 2019, the vertically-grown salad is now available at Selfridges and Whole Foods.

Infarm, a vertical farming company located in Europe, secured a $200 million Series D funding round this week. The Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) sponsored the financing, which followed a $170 million fundraising last year. It brings the company's total capital to above $600 million, and its valuation to "well" over $1 billion, cementing its status as Europe's first vertical farming unicorn.

7) Carbon Capture

In the year 2021, collective efforts by the UK National Grid, which has already established a big carbon capture project in the Yorkshire and Humber region and is now trying to expand on this initiative with its partners Drax and Equinor, are anticipated to fuel the growth. The Humber might become the world's first net-zero-carbon region as a result of the initiative. The carbon is extracted from industrial companies in the area and pumped into storage in the North Sea for this project.

The "storage" is a perforated rock beneath the seabed into which liquid carbon dioxide is pumped. Along with this initiative, Phillips 66, Uniper, and Vitol have proposed the Humber Zero decarbonizing project, positioning the UK and Scandinavia, as well as the United States as world leaders in carbon capture technology.

And at last, a recent UN report advocated for greater use of carbon capture to deal with climate change, citing fundamental roadblocks to its development. Thus it can be safely said that carbon capture has a bright future.

8) Waste-Water Electricity Generator

Through the Indigenous Communities Notice of Funding Opportunity, the Economic Development Administration (EDA) hopes to help indigenous communities recover economically from the coronavirus epidemic (NOFO).

Competitive submissions for financing under this NOFO will offer programs aimed at fostering economic growth in indigenous communities and hastening the pandemic's growth in the economy. Broadband, electricity, road, water, and wastewater infrastructure (including community water facilities), vocational and higher education resources, and local health facilities are examples of core economic infrastructure projects that are required for future employment generation.

9) Lab-grown meat and fish

Overfishing depletes fish populations and has the potential to destroy finely balanced habitats such as coral reefs in the long run. Avant Meats, a Hong Kong-based start-up, is providing lab-grown fish fillets as an alternative. Fish stem cells are given nutrients and generate edible fillets in a fraction of the time it takes a fish to reach that size. The lab-grown substitute, apart from aquacultured fish, is devoid of pollution and illness.

10) AI helps verify offsetting

A slew of "climate intelligence" firms have sprung up, offering predictive analytics solutions to help businesses better foresee and prepare for catastrophic weather occurrences. These companies often integrate machine learning with more traditional weather modeling approaches, training their models using a combination of publicly accessible, private, and customer-specific data.

One Concern, one of the oldest and most well-funded AI startup firms, just announced a fresh $45 million fundraising round. One Concern is creating a "digital twin" of the world's natural and built surroundings in order to mimic the consequences of climate change dynamically and hyper-locally, dubbed "Resilience-as-a-Service" by the company. So far, the firm has largely concentrated on the Japanese market.

Investing in Green Technology

Green investment (or ESG investing) is gaining popularity with investors all over the world as a result of the freely available information and the increasing prominence of climate challenges in society. The pandemic of the coronavirus has heightened debates regarding the interdependence of finance and green technologies, with critical themes in climate change and social turmoil emerging as areas of interest to investors.

A new future is on the rise, one that is not what the world had anticipated. There will be no space for businesses that cling to the past as the future takes form. Will you stand by and observe while the world around you changes? Or do you want to be the one in charge?