Enabling technology

Technological innovation often comes about by combining existing technologies with so-called ‘enabling’ technologies. The most prominent are artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. But sensors, drones, advanced materials, 3D printing, blockchain, robotics, digitalisation and digital twins also stimulate and facilitate new applications in various technological sectors. Whether it is in energy, circular economy or mobility, the potential of AI in cleantech is enormous. As can be read in the ‘Bloomberg NEF New Energy Outlook 2021’: ‘Using AI in the transition to clean energy can save 1.3 trillion dollars in thirty years’. We illustrate this importance here through some examples from the Flemish cleantech ecosystem and the views of experts.