Kurukshetra May 2024


Green Technologies

Chapter 1- Understanding Green Technologies for Future

Green technologies, also known as sustainable or clean technologies, are innovations aimed at addressing environmental challenges and promoting sustainability. These technologies strive to minimize negative environmental impacts, conserve natural resources, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

  • It encompasses a wide range of scientific research areas, including energy, atmospheric science, agriculture, material science, and hydrology.
  • The goal of green tech is to protect the environment, repair past environmental damage, and conserve Earth’s natural resources.

Types of Green Technology:

  • Green technology can be broadly categorized into 4 main areas: renewable energy sources, sustainable transportation, waste management and recycling, and energy efficiency solutions.
  • Each of these categories plays a crucial role in minimizing our impact on the environment and ensuring a greener future.

Cleantech vs Greentech:

  • Cleantech aims to improve the environmental performance of existing technologies.
  • Greentech promotes the adoption of new, sustainable solutions and encourages the use of renewable resources.


Environmental Benefits of Green Technology:

  1. Reduced Carbon Emissions: Green technologies often focus on renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, hydro, and geothermal power. By harnessing these sources, emissions can be significantly reduced, thus helping to mitigate climate change.
  2. Energy Efficiency: Energy-efficient appliances, LED lighting, smart thermostats, and building insulation reduces energy consumption, less fossil fuel needs to be burned, leading to lower emissions.
  3. Water Conservation: By reducing water usage, these technologies help conserve freshwater resources, especially important in regions facing water scarcity.
  4. Waste Reduction and Recycling: Advanced recycling technologies and processes help minimize waste by recovering valuable materials from discarded products.
  5. Improved Air Quality: Green technologies that replace fossil fuel combustion with cleaner alternatives, such as electric vehicles (EVs) lead to improved air quality by reducing emissions of pollutants such as nitrogen oxides (NOx), sulfur dioxide (SO2), and particulate matter.
  6. Long-Term Sustainability: By reducing reliance on finite resources and minimizing environmental degradation, these technologies help ensure that future generations can meet their needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs.

Economic Implications of Green Technology:

  1. Job Creation: Sectors such as renewable energy, energy efficiency, and sustainable transportation can stimulate employment growth, offering opportunities for skilled workers and boosting local economies.
  2. Market Growth and Innovation: The shift towards green technology drives innovation and market growth as businesses invest in research and development of cleaner and more sustainable products and services.
  3. Cost Savings: While initial investments in green technology may be higher, they often result in long-term cost savings.
  4. Resource Efficiency: Green technologies promote resource efficiency by minimizing waste and maximizing the use of renewable resources.
  5. Energy Independence: Investing in domestic renewable energy sources enhances energy security and reduces dependence on imported fossil fuels, thereby stabilizing energy prices and reducing exposure to geopolitical risks.
  6. Financial Incentives and Subsidies: Governments often provide financial incentives, subsidies, tax credits, and grants to encourage the adoption of green technologies. These policies can stimulate private sector investment, drive innovation, and accelerate market adoption, ultimately boosting economic growth and competitiveness.
  7. Resilience to Climate Change: Investing in green technology and infrastructure enhances resilience to climate change impacts, such as extreme weather events and sea-level rise.

Social Impact and Equity Considerations:

  1. Environmental Justice: Green technology plays a critical role in addressing environmental injustices by reducing pollution and mitigating the impacts of climate change, which disproportionately affect low-income and marginalized communities.
  2. Job Creation and Training: Training programs and workforce development initiatives can help create pathways to employment in the green economy, offering opportunities for economic advancement and social mobility for marginalized populations.
  3. Community Resilience and Adaptation: Investing in green infrastructure enhances community resilience to climate change impacts, protecting vulnerable populations and reducing disparities in exposure to environmental risks.
  4. Public Transportation and Mobility Equity: Sustainable transportation options promote mobility and accessibility for underserved communities, reducing transportation costs and improving air quality, while ensuring that everyone can access essential services and opportunities.
  5. Digital Divide and Access to Technology: Bridging the digital divide is essential for ensuring that all communities can fully participate in the green economy and benefit from technological advancements, promoting equity and inclusion in the digital age.

Key Areas of Green Technology Adoption:

  1. Renewable Energy: This includes solar, wind, hydroelectric, geothermal, and biomass energy technologies. Renewable energy sources offer alternatives to fossil fuels, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and dependence on finite resources.
  2. Energy Efficiency: Green technology focuses on improving energy efficiency across industries, buildings, appliances, and transportation. This includes advancements in insulation, LED lighting, smart thermostats, and energy-efficient appliances to reduce energy consumption.
  3. Green Building: Green building technologies promote sustainable design, construction, and operation of buildings. This involves incorporating energy-efficient materials, passive design strategies, green roofs, and efficient HVAC systems to minimize environmental impact and enhance occupant comfort.
  4. Sustainable Transportation: This area includes electric vehicles (EVs), hybrid vehicles, public transit systems, cycling infrastructure, and alternative fuels. Sustainable transportation options aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, air pollution, and reliance on fossil fuels.
  5. Waste Management and Recycling: Green technology innovations focus on waste reduction, recycling, and waste-to-energy conversion. Advanced recycling processes, composting systems, and waste-to-energy facilities help minimize landfill waste and recover valuable resources.
  6. Water Conservation and Treatment: Technologies for water conservation, purification, and reuse play a crucial role in sustainable water management. This includes low-flow fixtures, rainwater harvesting systems, wastewater treatment technologies, and desalination.
  7. Agroecology and Sustainable Agriculture: Green technology promotes sustainable agricultural practices that minimize environmental impact and enhance productivity. This includes organic farming, precision agriculture, agroforestry, and soil conservation techniques.
  8. Environmental Monitoring and Management: Technologies for environmental monitoring, data analytics, and modeling help assess environmental quality, track pollution levels, and inform decision-making for resource management and conservation.
  9. Circular Economy and Sustainable Materials: Green technology advances circular economy principles by promoting resource efficiency, recycling, and the use of sustainable materials. This includes innovations in eco-friendly materials, product design for disassembly and recycling, and closed-loop manufacturing processes.

Challenges and Barriers to Adoption of Green Technology:

  1. High Initial Costs: Many green technologies, such as renewable energy systems and energy-efficient appliances, often have higher upfront costs compared to conventional alternatives, which can be a significant barrier for individuals, businesses, and governments.
  2. Limited Access to Capital: Access to financing and capital for green technology projects can be challenging, especially for small businesses and individuals. Banks and financial institutions may be hesitant to provide loans for innovative or perceived high-risk projects, hindering adoption.
  3. Technological Barriers: Some green technologies may still be in the early stages of development or face technological limitations, such as intermittent energy production for renewables or energy storage capacity for electric vehicles.
  4. Regulatory and Policy Constraints: Inadequate or inconsistent regulations, permitting processes, and zoning restrictions can hinder the deployment of green technologies. Uncertainty about regulatory requirements and compliance can deter investment and innovation.
  5. Lack of Public Awareness and Education: Limited awareness and understanding of green technologies among the general public, businesses, and policymakers can hinder adoption.
  6. Infrastructure Limitations: Inadequate infrastructure, such as charging stations for electric vehicles or grid interconnections for renewable energy systems, can limit the scalability and adoption of green technologies.

Policy Frameworks and Strategies for Promoting Green Technology:

  1. Financial Incentives: Financial incentives such as tax credits, grants, subsidies, and low-interest loans to support green technology adoption can help offset the higher upfront costs and encourage investment in renewable energy, energy efficiency, sustainable transportation, and other green initiatives.
  2. Regulatory Measures:  This may include setting renewable energy targets, energy efficiency standards for buildings and appliances, emissions reduction requirements for vehicles, and renewable portfolio standards for utilities.
  3. Research and Development Funding: Investing in R&D can drive technological advancements, reduce costs, and improve the performance and scalability of green solutions.
  4. Public Procurement Policies: Using government procurement policies to prioritize the purchase of green products and services can create market demand for sustainable goods and services, driving innovation and lowering costs through economies of scale.
  5. Education and Outreach Programs: Developing educational campaigns and outreach programs to raise awareness about the benefits of green technology and provide training and technical assistance to businesses, communities, and individuals.
  6. Partnerships and Collaboration: Fostering partnerships and collaboration among governments, businesses, academia, and civil society to promote green technology innovation, deployment, and diffusion.
  7. Capacity Building and Technical Assistance: Providing capacity building support and technical assistance to help businesses, communities, and governments navigate the challenges of adopting and implementing green technologies. This may include training programs, feasibility studies, and knowledge sharing platforms.
  8. Integrated Planning and Policy Coherence: Ensure coherence and alignment across policies, plans, and sectors to create an enabling environment for green technology adoption. Integrated planning approaches can address cross-cutting issues and promote synergies between economic, environmental, and social objectives.
  9. International Cooperation and Knowledge Sharing: Engaging in international cooperation and knowledge sharing to exchange best practices, experiences, and lessons learned in promoting green technology can facilitate technology transfer, capacity building, and collective action on climate change and sustainability.

The Role of International Collaboration and Cooperation:

International collaboration and cooperation play a pivotal role in advancing green technology and addressing global environmental challenges. Let’s explore how international efforts contribute to the development and adoption of sustainable solutions:

  1. Knowledge Sharing and Research: Collaborating across borders allows scientists, researchers, and experts to share knowledge, data, and best practices. International research partnerships accelerate innovation, leading to breakthroughs in green technology.
  2. Joint Research and Development (R&D): Countries pool resources to conduct joint R&D projects. Collaborative efforts enhance the development of clean energy sources, efficient materials, and eco-friendly processes.
  3. Standardization and Harmonization: International cooperation establishes common standards for green technologies. Harmonized regulations facilitate the adoption of sustainable practices across different regions.
  4. Policy Alignment: International agreements (such as the Paris Agreement) promote policy alignment. Shared goals drive countries to adopt similar policies, regulations, and incentives for green technology adoption.
  5. Capacity Building: Developing countries benefit from capacity-building programs. Knowledge transfer, training, and technology transfer enhance their ability to adopt and implement green solutions.
  6. Global Impact: Environmental challenges (such as climate change) require collective action. International collaboration ensures a coordinated response to global issues.

Future Directions and Opportunities:

  • The future of green technology holds immense potential for innovation and sustainability.
  • Advancements in technology, including artificial intelligence and digitalization offer new opportunities for enhancing resource efficiency and environmental protection.
  • Embracing circular economy principles and decentralized energy systems can further promote sustainability, fostering a transition towards a more resilient and regenerative economy that meets the needs of both present and future generations.


Chapter 2- Green Technologies for Clean and Renewable Energy

According to a ‘Electricity, 2024 Report’ from International Energy Agency, global growth of demand for electricity is expected to speed up to a 3.4% average from this year through 2026.

  • Approximately 85% of the global increase in demand for electricity is predicted to come from India, China and South-East Asian countries.
  • Renewable and clean energy sources with low-emissions made up only 40% of the planet’s electricity generation in 2023.
  • Energy is the dominant contributor to climate change, accounting for around 60% of total global greenhouse gas emissions.

Present Renewable Energy Scenario:

  • As per the statistics released by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), Global renewable power capacity reached 3,870 GW by the end of 2023, with solar accounting for the largest share at 1,419 GW.
  • Deployment of solar PV, wind power, nuclear power, electric cars, and heat pumps from 2019 to 2023 avoided around 2.2 billion tonnes of emissions annually.
  • Renewable hydropower and wind energy had total capacities of 1,268 GW and 1,017 GW, respectively.
  • Other renewable capacities included 150 GW of bioenergy, 15 GW of geothermal, and 0.5 GW of marine energy.

In India:

  • In India, renewable energy sources, including large hydropower, had a combined installed capacity of 183.49 GW, with about 13.5 GW added in 2023.
  • Solar energy dominated in India, contributing 75.57 GW, followed by wind energy at 44.15 GW.
  • India aims for 500 GW of renewable energy installed capacity and five million tonnes of green hydrogen by 2030.
  • India has set targets to reduce carbon intensity by less than 45% by 2030, achieve 50% cumulative electric power installed by 2030 from renewables, and achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2070.
  • India also aims to produce 5 million tonnes of green hydrogen by 2030.


Green Technologies for Clean Energy:

  • According to IEA, Clean energy investment saw a substantial increase of nearly 50% from 2019 to 2023, reaching USD 1.8 trillion in 2023.
  • This growth trend is expected to continue, with clean energy investments growing at around 10% per year during this period.
  • These technologies aim to make renewable energy projects more efficient, cost-effective, and scalable, contributing to the transition towards a more sustainable energy future.

Solar Energy:

  • Solar energy is abundant and renewable, with sunlight containing more energy in a single hour than the world needs in a year.
  • Photovoltaic (PV) cells convert sunlight directly into electricity and have been the backbone of solar power generation.
  • Emerging technologies such as multi-junction cells, tandem cells, and perovskite-silicon hybrid cells are enhancing efficiency and reducing costs in PV technology.
  • Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) systems utilize mirrors or lenses to focus sunlight onto a receiver, generating heat for electricity production.
  • Innovations in CSP, such as molten salt storage and advanced heat transfer fluids, improve efficiency and storage capabilities, enabling continuous power generation.
  • Tandem solar cell technology, which stacks an ultrathin perovskite solar cell on top of a standard silicon solar cell, achieves power-conversion efficiencies of over 30%.
  • 'Passivated Emitter and Rear Contact' (PERC) solar cells technology enables cells to produce 6 to 12% more energy than conventional solar panels by adding an extra layer within the back side of the cell.
  • Heterojunction (HJT) technology combines amorphous and crystalline silicon layers, resulting in panels with higher efficiency and superior temperature performance.
  • Vehicle-integrated photovoltaics integrate solar panels into various parts of vehicles, reducing reliance on fossil fuels and lowering greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Offshore solar power, by installing solar panels on bodies of water, conserves land resources, efficiently uses water bodies, and benefits from the cooling effect of water, enhancing solar panel efficiency.

Wind Power:

  • Wind power grew by 13% in 2023, reaching a total capacity of 1,017 GW, with increased installations both on-shore and off-shore.
  • The wind power industry is experiencing rapid innovation, including rooftop bladeless wind turbines, vertical-axis turbines, floating multi-turbine technology platforms, and more.
  • Taller wind turbines with longer blades have increased energy capture capacity, even in areas with less wind.
  • Offshore wind is growing significantly, with floating turbine technology tapping into stronger wind currents and opening up new development areas.
  • Vertical axis wind turbines (VAWTs) capture wind from any direction, suitable for urban environments and areas with complex wind patterns.
  • Kite wind energy systems use large kites tethered to the ground to capture high-altitude winds, requiring fewer resources than conventional turbines.
  • Enabling technologies such as advanced sensing, power electronics, permanent magnet generators, superconductor technology, and artificial intelligence (AI) enhance wind turbine efficiency, maintenance, and energy production.

Hydroelectric Energy:

  • Hydropower remains the largest renewable source of electricity, generating more than all other renewable technologies combined.
  • In the Net Zero Emissions by 2050 Scenario, hydropower maintains an average annual generation growth rate of close to 4% in 2023-2030, providing approximately 5,500 Terawatt hours (TWh) of electricity per year.
  • Hydroelectric generation increased by almost 70 TWh (up close to 2%) in 2022, reaching 4,300 TWh.
  • Advanced turbine designs in hydropower are fish-friendly and operate efficiently at low water velocities, reducing environmental impact and extending hydroelectricity’s viability to previously unsuitable locations.
  • Kinetic hydro turbines harvest energy from flowing water without large dams or reservoirs, showing promise for small-scale power generation in rivers and streams.


Nuclear Power:

  • Nuclear power is the second-largest source of low-carbon electricity, operating in 32 countries with around 413 gigawatts (GW) of capacity.
  • Global nuclear power generation is forecast to grow by almost 3% annually on average through 2026.
  • Small modular reactors (SMRs) are advanced nuclear reactors typically generating up to 300 MW(e), expanding global access to nuclear energy, especially for small electricity grids and integration with renewable energy sources.
  • New nuclear reactor technologies are utilizing substances like molten salt or liquid metals as heat transfer mediums, allowing for safer operation at higher temperatures and lower pressures with reduced construction and design costs.
  • Micro-reactors, which are one percent or less the size of traditional reactors, produce 1 to 10 megawatts and are mobile, providing clean energy solutions for remote areas currently reliant on fossil fuels. They can be easily transported and operated for weeks or months before being moved to another location as needed.


Energy Storage-Advanced Technologies in Batteries:

  • Batteries are essential for energy storage, especially with the incorporation of renewable resources, due to their compact size and wide availability.
  • Present battery technologies have limitations in meeting cost criteria for stability, power operation, energy efficiency, and large-scale storage.
  • Lithium-ion batteries (LiBs) dominate the stationary electric energy storage market, with an annual demand of around 1 TWh.
  • Sodium-ion batteries (SIBs) are emerging as a viable substitute for LiBs due to abundant sodium availability and lower cost. They can use aluminum for the anode current collector, enhancing safety during transportation.
  • Aqueous zinc ion batteries offer safety, environmental friendliness, and cost-effectiveness, utilizing a water-based electrolyte and abundant zinc resources.
  • Potassium-ion batteries use potassium as the anode material and offer potential for high energy density, rapid energy transfer, and increased safety.
  • Solid-state batteries use a solid electrolyte, offering improved safety, higher energy density, and faster charging rates compared to traditional Li-ion batteries.
  • Redox flow batteries (RFBs) store energy in electrolytes rather than electrodes, with reversible electrochemical reactions facilitating charge/discharge processes.


  • Bioenergy is derived from organic material, or biomass, primarily from plants.
  • Biomass absorbs carbon through photosynthesis, and when used for energy production, the carbon is released during combustion, but it is considered near-zero-emission because it simply returns to the atmosphere.
  • Modern bioenergy is the largest source of renewable energy globally, accounting for 55% of renewable energy and over 6% of global energy supply.
  • Microbial fuel cells (MFCs) are bio-electrochemical devices that directly convert chemical energy in biodegradable organic matter to electrical energy, utilizing exo-electrogenic bacteria as catalysts. Geobacter and Shewanella species are predominantly used in MFC technology.
  • Plant-Microbial Fuel Cells (PMFC) technology utilizes rhizodeposition, the excretion of organic compounds from roots, as a source of electrons and electricity generation by electrochemically active bacteria in a microbial fuel cell.

Geothermal Energy:

  • Geothermal energy is heat contained within the Earth, generated by the decay of radioactive isotopes and primordial energy from planetary accretion.
  • Geothermal fluids occur in reservoirs at depths of up to 3,000 meters and can be recovered by drilling wells.
  • About 14,000 megawatts (MW) of geothermal electricity are produced globally as of 2023.
  • Conventional geothermal power plants are typically located near geysers and steam vents, indicating hydrothermal resources belowground.
  • Next-generation technology includes 'superhot rock energy,' utilizing deep drilling to reach temperatures 400°C or hotter, theoretically capable of fulfilling a significant portion of the world's power requirements.
  • Medium/low-temperature hydrothermal resources exist at depths of 1,500 to 3,000 meters, with temperatures ranging from 150°C to 300°C. Energy is harnessed through deep drilling and fluid injection to capture heat.

Green Hydrogen:

  • Green hydrogen is produced by splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen using electrolysis, with electricity sourced from renewable energy, making it a clean and sustainable fuel.
  • It can be used to power fuel cells, converting hydrogen's chemical energy into electricity.
  • Adoption of green hydrogen can significantly reduce CO2 emissions and decrease reliance on industrial coal imports.
  • The approval of the National Green Hydrogen Mission in India aims to establish the country as a global hub for green hydrogen production, utilization, and export.
  • Hydrogen storage technologies, including hydrogen fuel cells and electrolysis, offer solutions for long-duration energy storage and transportation.

Chapter 3-Empowering Rural Communities

Rural communities face serious waste mismanagement practices e.g., open dumping, e-waste open burning, river dumping, pollution from plastic waste etc. due to lack of or poor access to formal waste management systems.

  • Rural landscapes face threats from urbanization and agribusiness, impacting organic farming, natural habitats, and biodiversity.
  • Rural communities also face climate-induced hazards and socio-economic challenges such as migration, poverty, and poor infrastructure.
  • Waste management in rural areas presents both challenges and opportunities, including solid waste (organic material, plastic waste, biomedical waste, e-waste, construction and demolition waste).
  • Bridging urban-rural socio-economic gaps and ensuring equitable resource distribution are crucial for a circular economy transition and achieving Net Zero Targets by 2070.

Analysis of the Impact of Green Waste Technologies on Rural Communities:

  • India's rural areas face environmental challenges due to fossil fuel use and inadequate waste management systems.
  • Utilizing such technologies offers economically viable and eco-friendly energy solutions while addressing resource depletion.

Benefits of Implementing Green Waste Technologies:

  1. Empowering Rural Communities: Green waste technologies provide environmental conservation and socio-economic development benefits to rural areas.
  2. Environmental Sustainability: Technologies like composting and biogas generation help manage organic waste sustainably, improve soil fertility, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  3. Economic Opportunities: Implementation of green waste technologies creates income streams through the sale of compost and biogas, encouraging rural entrepreneurship.
  4. Climate Resilience: Proper waste management contributes to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, thereby mitigating the impacts of climate change.
  5. Community Engagement and Awareness: Promoting green waste technologies empowers communities by imparting knowledge and skills, encouraging ownership and responsibility.


Barriers to the Adoption of Green Technologies in Rural Regions

  • Rural areas face challenges with open burning of agricultural residues, e-waste, and plastics, releasing harmful pollutants and worsening air pollution and climate change.
  • Inefficient waste management systems in rural areas deprive communities of potential resources and economic opportunities.
  • Limited infrastructure, resources, and awareness about proper disposal practices contribute to improper waste management in rural villages.

Potential Solutions and Innovations:

Smart Waste Management System (SWM):

  • Smart Waste Management Systems (SWMs) employ IoT technology to revolutionize waste processing, enhance efficiency, and promote sustainability.
  • Ultrasonic sensor-equipped smart bins are strategically placed across rural areas, collecting real-time data on waste levels.
  • Data collected from smart bins is communicated to a central control center via cloud platforms, allowing for remote monitoring and management.
  • Solar-powered sensors ensure continuous operation of the system, reducing dependence on traditional power sources.
  • Optimized route scheduling based on real-time data minimizes fuel costs and maximizes efficiency in waste collection.
  • GPS-guided trucks are deployed when waste levels exceed a certain threshold (e.g., 80%), ensuring timely and resource-efficient waste collection.
  • Integration of IoT-based SWMs empowers rural communities with greener and smarter waste management solutions, contributing to environmental sustainability.

Strategies for Overcoming Barriers to Adoption and Scaling up Green Technologies in Rural Regions

  • Social Inclusion of Waste Pickers in Rural Villages:
  • Waste pickers play a crucial role in rural India by diverting recyclable materials from landfills and contributing to environmental conservation.
  • Approximately 4 million waste pickers in India earn their livelihoods from waste management, but they often face humiliation, discrimination, and socio-economic marginalization.
  • Digital Monitoring of Waste Management:
  • Digital monitoring systems utilizing IoT, mobile apps, and data analytics offer innovative solutions to streamline waste collection and disposal.
  • These systems integrate stakeholders such as waste pickers, recyclers, ULBs (Urban Local Bodies), and citizens through mobile apps, creating a digital cloud.
  • Real-time data tracks the waste supply chain from collection points to recycling facilities, facilitating seamless monitoring and management.


Conclusion and Way Forward:

  • Supportive policy frameworks are essential for incentivizing the adoption of green waste technology and creating a conducive environment for sustainable waste management.
  • Financial incentives, subsidies, and technical assistance are crucial for small rural entrepreneurs and rural enterprises to adopt green waste technologies.
  • Public-private partnerships can facilitate technology transfer, fostering innovation and entrepreneurship in rural areas.
  • By promoting the adoption and scaling up of green waste technologies, India can pave the way towards a greener and more inclusive future for its rural population.


Chapter 4- Usage of Green Technology in Sustainable Water Management

The sustainable water management approach views the whole water system as an integrated system. This whole system includes drinking water, wastewater, rainwater, and stormwater drainage in a collective form which should be managed together to be truly efficient and sustainable.

Key Facts:

  • Population Growth: The increasing population in India has led to a decline in the per capita availability of water over the years.
  • Water Availability: From 1816 cubic meters per capita in 2001, it reduced to 1544 cubic meters in 2011, and it is projected to further decrease to 1140 cubic meters by 2050.
  • Scarcity Threshold: International agencies consider any situation where the per capita availability of water is less than 1000 cubic meters as scarcity conditions.
  • Projected Water Demand: By 2030, it is estimated that the country's water demand will be twice the available supply, resulting in severe water scarcity affecting millions of people.
  • Impact on GDP: The water scarcity situation is expected to lead to about a 6% loss in the country's GDP (NITI Ayog), highlighting the significant economic implications of water shortages.

Green Technologies in Water Sector:

Green technologies are increasingly being adopted in the water sector to address challenges related to water scarcity, pollution, and inefficient water management.

  1. Water Treatment: Green technologies are used in water treatment processes to purify water for drinking, industrial, and agricultural purposes. Advanced treatment methods, such as membrane filtration, ozone treatment, and UV disinfection, are more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly compared to traditional chemical treatment methods.
  2. Desalination: Desalination technologies, such as reverse osmosis (RO) and electrodialysis reversal (EDR), are used to convert seawater or brackish water into freshwater. Green desalination technologies utilize renewable energy sources like solar and wind power to reduce energy consumption and minimize environmental impacts.
  3. Water Conservation: Green technologies promote water conservation through efficient water use practices and technologies. Low-flow fixtures, water-efficient appliances, and smart irrigation systems help minimize water wastage and optimize water use in households, industries, and agriculture.
  4. Rainwater Harvesting: Rainwater harvesting systems capture and store rainwater for various purposes, including irrigation, toilet flushing, and groundwater recharge. Green technologies, such as rooftop rainwater harvesting systems and rain gardens, help reduce stormwater runoff, replenish groundwater, and conserve freshwater resources.
  5. Greywater Recycling: Greywater recycling systems collect and treat wastewater from sinks, showers, and laundry for non-potable uses like irrigation and toilet flushing. These systems reduce freshwater demand and wastewater discharge, contributing to water conservation and sustainability.
  6. Constructed Wetlands: Constructed wetlands mimic natural wetland ecosystems to treat wastewater and improve water quality. These green infrastructure solutions use vegetation, soil, and microbial processes to remove pollutants and nutrients from wastewater before it is discharged into water bodies.
  7. Smart Water Management: Smart water management systems integrate sensors, data analytics, and automation to monitor and optimize water distribution, usage, and quality in real-time. These systems improve operational efficiency, reduce water losses, and enable proactive water resource management.

Some other methods to filter waste water:

S. No Green Technology Principles Advantages
1. Forward Osmosis It uses a new eco-friendly chemical compound to draw the water molecules through a membrane leaving the salt behind. Then we separate the chemical from water through a heating process. This chemical can be reused in the process. Use waste heat to drive separation. Low in energy use.
2. Clathrate desalination This technique traps water molecules in carbon dioxide and pressurises water molecules into clathrate crystals. Later, these crystals are broken down to release freshwater. This technique humidifies a stream of heated air by running a stream of saline water on a heated surface. Then collect the condensed water when the saturated air is moved along condensing heat transfer films. New technology has been developed which increases the size of crystals. This technique is low on energy use and can be used for any kind of water quality. Newer energy sources such as waste heat and/or solar are used in the process. The technique is highly cost-effective.
3. Dewvapouration This technique humidifies a stream of heated air by running a stream of saline water on a heated surface. Then collect the condensed water when the saturated air is moved along condensing heat transfer films. Newer energy sources such as waste heat and/or solar are used in the process. The technique is highly cost-effective
4. Freeze Desalination It uses the phase shift of water from liquid to solid state to remove salt from the ice crystals. These ice crystals are then melted to produce fresh water. It uses density gradients to work. Energy and cost-effective method
  • Biofilters: Microorganisms or bacteria are allowed to grow on biofilters to form a biofilm. Wastewater is then passed through this biofilm, accelerating the degradation of pollutants and organic matter.
  • Bioremediation: Microorganisms are applied to wastewater sites to remove hazardous species or convert toxins into less or non-toxic materials. It is a cost-effective method that doesn't require excavation or incineration.
  • Electrowinning: In this process, current is passed through wastewater using electrodes. Metals are electro-extracted from their oxidized forms and deposited on the cathode. Heavy metals like copper, nickel, silver, gold, cadmium, and others can be recovered from wastewater through electrowinning.

Chapter 5: Green Technologies for Sustainable Agriculture

Green technology application in agriculture offers opportunities to increase yield, improve product quality, maintain soil fertility, and adopt to eco-friendly techniques.

Green Technologies Adopted in Agriculture:

1. Organic Farming:

  • Techniques: Organic farming relies on methods like crop rotation, green manure, compost, and biological pest control.
  • Weed and Soil Management: It emphasizes weed management without pesticides and soil management through crop rotation.
  • Resource Utilization: It utilizes animal manure and green manure crops for fertility.
  • Consumer Demand: Increased awareness of sustainable development and consumer demand for organic products have driven its adoption.
  • Green Technology: Organic farming is considered a green technology, leveraging ecological processes to enhance soil fertility and productivity.
  • Environmental and Health Benefits: It minimizes negative impacts on the environment and human health.

2. Agroforestry:

  • Integration of Trees with Crops/Livestock: Agroforestry involves the intentional integration of trees with crops or livestock on the same land.
  • Ecological and Economic Interactions: It fosters ecological and economic interactions between trees, crops, and livestock, creating a dynamic system.
  • Diversification and Sustainability: Agroforestry diversifies and sustains production, offering benefits to farmers at all levels.
  • Environmental Sustainability: It is environmentally sustainable, utilizing natural resources to ensure a healthy farming environment.
  • Benefits: Agroforestry enhances food supply, income, and health for farmers.
  • Practical Applications: Practical applications include using windbreak trees for protection, hedgerow barriers for erosion control and organic matter, and live fences for managing animal movement and providing fodder and nutrients.

3.  Integrated Pest Management:

  • Integrated Pest Management (IPM) provides a sustainable approach that utilizes natural pest control mechanisms instead of relying solely on chemical pesticides.
  • IPM aims to minimize disruption to ecosystems and reduce environmental risks associated with conventional pest control methods.
  •  IPM is applicable in both urban and rural settings, offering a versatile solution to pest management challenges.
  • IPM involves proactive measures such as growing disease-resistant crops and employing deterrent strategies to discourage pest infestations.
  • Despite its benefits, implementing IPM may pose challenges for farmers, including limited resources and expertise in pest management.

4. Biogas:

  • It utilizes agricultural waste to produce renewable energy and fertilizers, rendering it environmentally friendly.
  • Anaerobic Digestion: Through anaerobic digestion, agricultural waste is transformed into fuel and fertilizer.
  • Organic Crop Production: By-products of biogas technology are used for organic crop production, enhancing soil fertility and serving as a sustainable alternative to inorganic fertilizers.
  • Benefits: Provides nutrients for crops, improves soil penetration capacity, and contributes to environmental sustainability by reducing agricultural waste and dependence on non-renewable energy sources.

5.  Mixed Farming: Mixed farming is an agricultural practice where different types of crops and/or livestock are raised on the same farm. This method integrates crop production with animal husbandry, allowing for a more diversified and sustainable approach to farming.

6. Crop Rotation:  Crop rotation enhances profitability by introducing high-value crops and mitigating economic risks through crop combination.

  • It reduces reliance on synthetic fertilizers, thereby lowering pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Crop rotation revives farmland biodiversity, offering socio-economic and environmental benefits for sustainable agriculture.

7.  Drones and Digital Sensors:

  • Drones and digital sensors support sustainable agriculture by enabling remote monitoring of crop development and gathering essential field data.
  • They reduce transportation emissions and produce zero emissions during operation, optimizing field time and minimizing crop loss to increase environmental sustainability and reduce food waste.
  • Digital sensors monitor various farming aspects, such as microclimate and soil pH, contributing to sustainability by reducing environmental impacts and health hazards.
  • This technology empowers farmers to make informed decisions, optimize production, enhance yields, conserve resources, minimize waste, and boost productivity.

9.  Smart Irrigation Systems:

  • Smart irrigation systems utilize weather data and soil moisture levels to schedule irrigation, responding to changes in plant environment and water needs.
  • These systems reduce outdoor water usage compared to traditional timers.
  • Modern technology, including wireless and remote monitoring systems, empowers farmers to optimize irrigation practices, promoting smarter decision-making for sustainable agriculture.

10.  Green Nanotechnology:

  • It enhances productivity while reducing pesticide usage, offering an eco-friendly and cost-effective solution.
  • Its applications include pathogen detection, targeted delivery of nano-pesticides, and improved nutrient absorption in plants.
  • It conserves energy, protects soil and water resources, and addresses future agricultural challenges.
  • Particularly, it contributes to food security in developing countries, presenting a sustainable approach to agricultural practices.

Advantages of Green Technology in Agriculture

Green technology in agriculture provides numerous benefits, enhancing sustainability and efficiency in farming practices.

  • It helps farmers achieve a balance between productivity, profitability, and environmental stewardship, ensuring a more sustainable and resilient food production system.

Challenges for the adoption of Green Technologies by Farmers:

  • High Costs: High initial investment and ongoing operational expenses associated with green technologies can be a significant barrier for farmers, particularly those with limited financial resources.
  • Limited Access to Financing: Lack of access to affordable financing options or credit facilities can make it difficult for farmers to invest in green technologies.
  • Technical Knowledge and Skills: Farmers may lack the technical knowledge and skills required to understand, operate, and maintain green technologies effectively.
  • Availability and Accessibility: Limited availability and accessibility of green technologies, particularly in rural areas or developing countries, can hinder adoption.
  • Infrastructure and Connectivity: Inadequate infrastructure, such as unreliable electricity or internet connectivity, may limit the feasibility and functionality of certain green technologies.
  • Perceived Risks and Uncertainties: Farmers may perceive green technologies as risky or uncertain, especially if they are unfamiliar with the technology or its potential impacts on their farm operations.
  • Compatibility with Existing Practices: Green technologies may not always align with farmers' existing practices, cropping systems, or cultural preferences, making adoption more challenging.
  • Policy and Regulatory Environment: Policy and regulatory barriers, including lack of supportive policies, standards, or incentives, can impede the adoption of green technologies.

Future of Green Technologies in Agriculture

  • Growing demand for quality food favors the adoption of green technology in agriculture for sustainable food production and environmental conservation.
  • Recommendations include educating farmers and promoting literacy through adult education centers in rural areas to ensure sustainable farming practices and enhance profitability while safeguarding the environment and human health.
  • Technological advancements, such as internet and GPS-based smart technologies, have led to the rise of precision agriculture, increasing crop production and enabling efficient management of fertilizers, pesticides, and irrigation.
  • Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) equipped with multiple sensors offer real-time, precise data for enhancing agricultural practices.
  • Robotics and sensing equipment allow for monitoring vegetable growth, crop health, soil conditions, and other parameters.
  • Advances in greenhouse technologies, including hydroponics, aeroponics, and aquaponics, offer promising prospects for vertical farming in urban areas.


  • Green technologies are revolutionizing agriculture by enhancing resource efficiency, reducing environmental impact, and improving agricultural productivity.
  • There is a growing emphasis on cleaner and eco-friendly agricultural technologies to create a more resilient and sustainable global food chain.
  • Collaboration between farmers and policymakers is essential to develop reliable and profitable green technologies that benefit all stakeholders while minimizing environmental footprints.


UPSC Mains Practice Questions-(Around 250 words)

Q.1 Green hydrogen is being termed the fuel of the future. Critically analyse. Also, list the steps taken by India with regard to the promotion of green hydrogen.

Q.2 The adoption of electric vehicles is rapidly growing worldwide. How do electric vehicles contribute to reducing carbon emissions and what are the key benefits they offer compared to traditional combustion engine vehicles?  (2023)