We connect and build knowledge and pass on what we have learned… This sentence captures the very heart of Cleantech Flanders. This Cleantech report confirms what we are seeing and experiencing: cleantech has taken a firm hold in Flanders. Businesses are increasingly aware of the fact that cleantech solutions contain the vital oxygen for the future. Cleantech is not only a guideline for individual companies, but also a global way of working.

The success stories of innovative cleantech companies in Flanders mentioned in our last report keep increasing. Flanders now has 1,980 stakeholders and represents 1.32 billion euros in investments. In just one year, cleantech businesses recruited around 2,000 new employees and the growth in the number of patent requests continued.

Companies and the government were not alone in facing the painful consequences of the global energy crisis in recent months;citizens feel it on a daily basis as well? It is a challenge, but also an opportunity to focus efforts on the energy transition, and this report clearly demonstrates how companies are very much aware of this. The evolution in battery technology, the wide-scale integration of renewable energy in our energy supply and research into renewable energy providers such as green hydrogen, the roll-out of heat grids and the realisation that Europe must become significantly more self-sufficient in providing strategic raw materials mean that the energy transition is taking place at a rapid pace. Therefore, it is no surprise that new patent requests focus mainly on renewable energy, energy optimisation and electrification.

The number of applications for clean technologies grows daily. Not only in the field of mobility in all its forms, but also within the building industry, where many efforts are being focused on recycling and maximising the circular economy.

Businesses that commit can count on support. Not only from Cleantech Flanders, but also via our spearhead clusters, the European Institute of Technology and – internationally too – from FIT. The Flemish Government is aware of the pole position that Flanders can accomplish in cleantech and is fully supporting a number of initiatives that further reinforce this position.

Those who wish to innovate, need the relevant place, space, time and resources. Innovative growth, in cleantech too, means taking risks and testing new paths. Those who take such steps are heroes. Of the many companies who competed in 2021 in the prestigious Cleantech Heroes campaign, three Flemish companies have definitely earned the right to call themselves a Cleantech Hero.

Flanders provides a fertile foundation for cleantech. A fact that is clearly demonstrated by this report. Cleantech Flanders is continuing along the chosen path, namely promoting Flemish cleantech both in Belgium and abroad.

Bruno Reyntjens, Commercial Director VITO