Top 6 Clean Tech Innovations Of 2011 [Slideshow]

2011 is almost over, and that means it’s time to reflect on what we’ve accomplished, both personally and as a society, so that we can make our resolutions for a better new year.

Although the fight for a cleaner, more sustainable world suffered repeated setbacks in the political realm (at least in America) there were still plenty of promising developments in the clean technology industry. While politicians continue to stymie government investment in clean energy, transportation, and agricultural advancements that could slow society’s contribution to climate change, entrepreneurs, engineers, and scientists haven’t slowed their work.

The clean tech industry saw more funding in 2011 than ever before, providing hope that while the clean tech revolution is woefully behind schedule, it’s still on its way.

On the following pages you’ll find six of the most promising clean tech innovations of 2011. Think we missed one? Share it in a comment!

1. Clean Rivers Project: Washington, D.C.

DC Clean Rivers Project

Washington D.C.’s Clean Rivers Project will all but eliminate the 2.5 billion gallons of wastewater overflow into the Anacostia and Potomac rivers.  The tunnels come as the area’s largest infrastructure project since the Metro was built and will clean up area rivers as well as the Chesapeake Bay.

>>Up Next: Wireless Charging For Next Gen EVs

Image Credit: dc_water

2. Wireless Charging for Electric Vehicles

Employing the same technology used to charge electric toothbrushes, HaloIPT says its wireless charging system could drive the take-up of electric cars and overcome fears that drivers will forget to recharge them.

>>Up Next: Press-on Thermal Windows

3. Indow Windows

Indow Windows are thermal window inserts that simply press into the inside of your window frames to give you money-saving, double-pane window performance, but at a fraction of the cost. As a bonus, they reduce the noise that comes through your windows by 50% and may dramatically reduce fog and condensation on your windows. Indow Windows were a finalist in the 2011 Cleantech Open National Business Competition.

>>Up Next: Driverless Personal Vehicles

4. Driverless Pod Cars: London’s Heathrow Airport

At Britain’s largest airport, 22 all-electric automated pod cars have replaced a duo of diesel buses that formerly drove in a loop from the car parks to the terminal, pausing at various stations no matter how many people were present. The electric-power pods, which can accommodate up to four travelers and their bags, travel up to 25 mph along 2.4 miles of paved guideways, which can be customized to fit any path. They don’t require a special railway or magnetic field — just lines that can be used for optical navigation.

>>Up Next: Building With Whole Trees

5. WholeTrees Architecture and Structures

Whole Tree Architecture

Whole Trees, based near in Stoddard, Wisc., designs green building systems from abundant forest waste, providing a competitive alternative to steel and concrete. The company manufactures structural building systems made from round timber, the waste product of sustainably managed forests.
>>Up Next: Choosing Green Energy At The Source

6. GridMobility Renewable Demand Response

GridMobility has developed technology with the ability to report elecricity generation sources in real-time empowering electricity consumers to actively manage their power consumption. This patent-pending technology goes beyond price-based signals to provide consumers with real-time information about electricity sources thereby for the first time enabling consumers to make informed decisions resulting in consumption shifts from on-peak to off-peak, from carbon-based to renewable resources.

Do you know of a clean tech innovation that belongs on this list? Share it in a comment!

Related Reading:

Why Is The U.S. Losing The Clean Energy Race To China?

Top 10 Climate-Ready Cities

Top 10 U.S. States For Clean Energy Leadership

Image Credit: Flickr - opensourceway

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Chinmayee Jog
Chinmayee Jog2 years ago

These are great ideas, thanks for sharing - I'm assuming some of these are still in production stage...

Debbie L.
Debbie Lim3 years ago

Nice! :)

Brenda Louise
Brenda Louise3 years ago

I love the useage of the fluorescent light bulbs, but they have to be built much better than they are. Seeing that Chinese manufacturers have made the lions share of these products, I suggest that a challange for better longetivity to their poor manufacturing processes bulbs be made by the governments of the consumers. Say, a world wide standard light bulb longetivity be established and that every light bulb manufacturer must prove through continuous life testing that their product will meet these demands. Contrairy to one's beliefs, China can and does produce some quality designed and manufactured products. They just need to be goaded into doing just that.

Lindsey Williams
Lindsey Williams3 years ago

thanks for sharing.

Kathy Perez
Kathy Johnson3 years ago

heck yes!

Raluca Anghel
Raluca Anghel3 years ago


Jason Shepard
Past Member 3 years ago

This comment is directed to Tom W. and Steven M. as I thought they might find it quite informative:

While this motor is still in development, along with related research and development of derivative works, it is exactly what Steven M. was referring to. Steven is correct in that there are variations of this out there that aren't 100% efficient, but are working prototypes, while the Howard Johnson motor isn't complete yet. Progress on the Howard Johnson motor, along with its derivative works and variations, is continuing daily. The goal of the Howard Johnson project is to provide all of the plans, in an Open-Source arrangement, so that anyone could build one and benefit from the project.

Just a little food for thought for today :)

Emily L.
Emily L.3 years ago

These are some great inventions and changes and I hope we continue on this track and I want some of those window boxes...

rene davis
rene davis3 years ago


William Eagle
Bill Eagle3 years ago

Some great inventions.