Cleantech is one of the most flourishing sectors in Flanders, even though it is not a classic sector. With technology, cleantech gives sustainability a tangible form in various industrial sectors, with an emphasis on operational and environmental gains. The now more than 1,000 cleantech companies employ 25,000 people and generate a gross profit of EUR 4 billion. The Cleantech Report 2020 proposed by Cleantech Flanders provides a complete overview of Flemish cleantech, the ecosystem, its impact and the opportunities and challenges for the future.

Header image: Cycling through the trees © Toerisme Limburg

Renewable energy, clean water, circular economy... The awareness that we can only give ourselves a bright future if we switch to clean technologies is growing every day. New materials and technologies are rapidly being embraced in Flanders; innovative solutions have accelerated this process even further. Flanders is establishing itself more and more as a growth area of these clean technologies. Annually, Flanders is good for some 85 published cleantech patents, divided over almost all cleantech domains. In this story, research centres and major commercial players continue to be the main drivers.

In the report we see how Flemish cleantech is concentrated mainly around the large Flemish cities and how the presence of higher education institutions and universities facilitates the expansion of the cleantech field. Ghent, Leuven and Antwerp are central to the growth of cleantech.

Companies that focus on renewable energy and energy efficiency remain strong players. But the growth in the circular economy – waste management and recycling – has been particularly striking in recent years.

Continuous innovations and the application of new technologies, such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, sensors, lightweight materials, 3D printing, blockchain, big data, drones, etc., will give the traditional cleantech domains an extra boost in the coming years. This will also accelerate implementation in society.

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