Across Europe, the number of contaminated sites that require remediation is estimated at 340.000 and only 15% of these sites are remediated yet. The status of Europe’s waters is dramatic, with only around 50% of freshwater bodies expected to be in good ecological condition. Air pollution constitutes a major problem in many areas around the world. It is most pronounced in high-traffic urban environments, which typically comprise substantial amounts of airborne pollutants. To overcome the challenges regarding agricultural management, it is of paramount importance to facilitate sustainable development and intensification of food production, including on marginal land. The aim should be to increase the production of biomass by at least 50% during the next 30 years. Moreover, there is a growing need for sustainable biomass production and to reduce the use of fresh raw materials.
It is an undisputed fact that current abatement strategies are not sufficient to cope with the global threat mentioned above and that additional, sustainable, socially acceptable and cost-effective solutions need to be developed. Clean technologies are processes, products and services that optimize the use of our natural resources and minimize the environmental impact, for example by making as much use as possible of renewable energy sources and sustainable materials and by preventing pollution and waste. Clean technologies are therefore focused on environmental benefits, in which the environmental impact is not tackled at the end of the production process (end-of-pipe), but requires an integrated approach to the economic, ecological and social aspects of a production process. In addition to technological development to meet the global challenges, a coordinated elaboration of government policy is desirable to support investments in clean technologies.