Man on moon Ursula von der Leyen European commission

What will it take for the EU to lead the race to net zero?

Cleantech is crucial to achieving the EU’s climate and competitiveness goals.

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of the technologies we need to decarbonize have not reached commercialization yet, according to the IEA.

The EU has built a vibrant early-stage cleantech ecosystem over the last decade.

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Increase from 2011 to 2020 in venture capital invested in EU cleantech start-ups.

EU cleantech lacks clear demand signals and scale-up capital, pushing promising companies to move to North America.

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of global cleantech growth equity funding went to EU companies in 2020, compared to 54% for North America.

The opportunity to scale EU cleantech and take the global climate lead is now.

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Fit for


Can create continental green demand signals and set the EU up for decarbonisation and competitiveness.
Cleantech for europe investment report

The EU’s path to cleantech leadership, explained

Cleantech for Europe’s inaugural report analyses the EU cleantech landscape and makes the case for a green demand shock that would pull EU innovators to continental scale and maximise climate impact.

Voices of Innovation

Cleantech pioneers are unanimous: the time has come for the EU to lead the climate industrial revolution.

“We live in extraordinary times and need extraordinary efforts to succeed. The EU has an opportunity to put more focus and speed on financing green scale-ups, accelerating permitting and training the talent we need to reach continental scale.”

Alexander Hartman

CFO, Northvolt

“When growing a successful hardware cleantech business, you need to finance a large working capital. You won’t find that kind of money from EU VCs or banks. Your options are go abroad, or go with large corporates”.

Christoph Ostermann

former CEO, Sonnen

“In one of our recent growth equity investments, the EIB came in with a structured loan. That type of public – private partnership makes a difference.”

Petra Sokolova

Investment Manager, Inven Capital

“Europe has a unique position for developing the hydrogen market. With the technology bricks now established, the EU needs to facilitate access to private and provide public capital in order realize swift scale-ups.”

Nils Aldag

CEO, Sunfire

“The stars are aligning for cleantech: consumers are pushing for change, corporates are adapting and technologies are getting to scale. Strong policy signals could accelerate the movement.”

Stephanie Chretien

Partner, Demeter IM

“Europe must ask itself: Are we ready to take the helm and become the model for sustainability? If yes, we need more progressive legislation and a central drive.”

Ernst-Jan Stigter

CEO, Land Life Company

“Climate change puts pressure on all of us to increase our appetite for risk. Our governments should support VCs in financing more risk-takers to try promising solutions.”

Attila Bodnar

Co-Founder, Organica

Where should the EU start?

Claim leadership in these 5 key sectors.

Green hydrogen
Green Hydrogen
Green Hydrogen is the most promising route to decarbonise energy-intensive sectors. The EU has a technological advantage, but needs to scale up fast if it is to gain value chain leadership.
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sustainable aviation
Sustainable Aviation
Emissions from EU aviation more than doubled from 1990 to 2018. The EU needs an aggressive plan to scale-up a portfolio of technology options such as electric aircrafts, biofuels and synthetic fuels.
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soil carbon
Soil Carbon
Switching to sustainable farming practices can increase the CO2 sequestration of soils. The EU should jump-start a market for soil carbon credits and reward farmers for transitioning.
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low carbon construction materials
Low-carbon Construction Materials
More efficient materials and digital integration from design to build could decarbonise this fragmented market. The EU is severely lagging in investments. Strong policy signals are needed to start the transition.
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green steel
Green Steel
Steelmaking is energy-intensive and will need disruptive innovation to decarbonise. A higher, predictable carbon price and supportive regulation will accelerate the transition.
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Powered by
cleantech group logo
At Cleantech Group, we provide research, consulting and events to catalyze opportunities for sustainable growth powered by innovation. We bring clients access to the trends, companies and people shaping the future and the customized advice and support businesses need to engage external innovation.

Industries are undergoing definitive transitions toward a more digitized, de-carbonized and resource-efficient industrial future.
At every stage from initial strategy to final deals, our services bring corporate change makers, investors, governments and stakeholders from across the ecosystem, the support they need to thrive in this fast-arriving and uncertain future.

The company was established in 2002 and is headquartered in San Francisco with people based in London, Paris and Boston.
Supported by
breakthrough energy logo
Established in 2015 by Bill Gates and a coalition of private investors concerned about the impacts of accelerating climate change, Breakthrough Energy supports the innovations that will lead the world to net-zero emissions.

We are building on the proven model of public-private partnerships that Gates has already used to transform health, education, and public welfare around the world. Breakthrough Energy is a network of entities and initiatives, including investment funds, nonprofit and philanthropic programs, and policy efforts linked by a common commitment to scale the technologies we need to achieve a path to net zero emissions by 2050. We are encouraging the development of new net-zero energy technologies, championing policies that speed innovation from lab to market, and bringing together governments, research institutions, private companies, and investors to expand and enhance clean-energy investment.
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This initiative is presented with the support of
jacques delors instituterenewable hydrogen coalitionclimate & strategy partnersnegative emissions platformdanish technical universityeit inno energyepico klima innovation

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