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Scotland's emerging climate technologies

06 Apr 2021 • 11 minute read

Learn about the Scottish companies developing tech to meet the challenges of global climate change.

Scotland is poised to take a leading role in developing new technology that can help meet the challenge of global climate change. A new report captures the growth and investment potential of climate tech, highlighting some of the Scottish companies already successfully working in this space.

"Scotland is on the cusp of a climate tech revolution," says a recent Climate Tech report from ScotlandIS – the trade body and collective voice of Scotland’s vibrant technologies industry. Scotland is developing advanced climate technology applications across many sectors including energy, transport and mobility, agriculture, food systems, manufacturing and construction.

Underpinning these technologies is Scotland’s rich culture of innovation and a supportive ecosystem. Scottish companies have the know-how and the ability to optimise digital tech and data science to help deliver solutions that will address and lessen the impact of greenhouse gas emissions and climate change.

Here’s a snapshot of Scottish companies behind the 'climate tech revolution', helping to shape a greener future for all.

Applied climate technologies being developed in Scotland

Scottish Power

Scottish Power unveiled its 10-point plan to help deliver clean and sustainable economic growth across some key strategic priority areas. 100,000 jobs could be created in the green economy each year until the middle of the decade, with the right investment.

Scottish Power is committed to focusing its strategy on renewable energy, electric vehicles (EVs), low carbon homes, and energy networks, and will support Scotland’s journey towards net zero emissions.

Scottish Power unlocking net zero opens in a new window  


In Scotland, Wood has helped build the world’s first industrial-scale project to generate electricity from decarbonised fuels, capable of creating 475 MW of carbon-free electricity. The project will also permanently store 1.8 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year, the equivalent of removing 400,000 cars from the roads.

Wood is helping turn ambitious net zero targets into real emissions reduction by supporting clients through their energy transition journey.

Together with Microsoft, Wood has created a cloud monitoring solution to accurately track clients’ emission. Wood’s ENVision provides governance and insight around emissions and carbon releases by streamlining and automating diverse data sets to provide a clear, auditable and accurate view of emissions from any asset, organisation or city.

ENVision can focus directly on the Internet of Things (IoT) and sensor-driven realtime-emissions monitoring.

More on the Wood website opens in a new window  


Reath is a leading climate tech startup based in Edinburgh focused on building the digital infrastructure for circular systems.

Reath specialises in data analysis, data modelling, database architecture, technology architecture, software development, service design and understands the potential of digital products and technologies in the circular economy.

There are a lot of barriers getting in the way of companies shifting away from single use items. Our society’s laws, and our business’ systems are built for single use. Reath’s advanced software enables safe reuse of items, as well as collecting data that can be used to optimise circular systems, further improving their carbon footprint and increasing the amount of waste diverted from landfill.

More on the Reath website opens in a new window  


Edinburgh-based OnGen has a clear mission to reduce an organisation’s total cost of energy consumption, provide greater security of supply and help reduce their carbon footprint.

By assessing solar capability using the OnGen Expert software, the company has identified 4000 tonnes of potential carbon savings in the University of Edinburgh’s city building stock. OnGen has saved potential energy cost savings of £2.9 million across the lifetime of potential onsite renewable installations. The OnGen Expert system was a key piece of climate technology for the University to determine viable renewable energy strategies, on buildings across an incredibly complex estate.

More on the OnGen website opens in a new window  


Governments around the world are coming under increasing pressure to find measures to help reduce the impacts of climate change. With the built environment accounting for a significant proportion of current energy use and carbon emissions globally, improving the performance of, not only new buildings, but also current building stock, will be crucial.

Against this backdrop, Glasgow-based tech firm IES is helping to create a ‘Digital Twin’ of one of Scotland’s most iconic buildings. The project ultimately aims to increase understanding of building energy performance and the associated carbon footprint.

More on the IES website opens in a new window  

Intelligent Growth Solutions

Dundee-based agritech firm Intelligent Growth Solutions (IGS) takes innovation in food production and climate tech a stage further, with platforms that deliver ideal climates for growing food plants indoors.

Vertical farming and data mining have the potential to not only reduce our emissions in farming and agriculture, but also create sustainable and economically viable jobs in the farming and agricultural sector. In farming, precision agriculture data mining is used to minimise the use of water, fertiliser and pesticides.

In September 2020, IGS announced a significant export deal with French urban agriculturists, Jungle, to supply the French retail market.

Find out more about IGS and its growth ambitions 

Scottish Agriculture Organisation Society

The Scottish Agriculture Organisation Society (SAOS) has created and developed a platform named CarbonPositive. With support and funding from the Scottish Government, the initiative has gathered data on a range of activity areas including soils, woodland, water and renewable energy, to record and convey the positive contribution of Scottish farms and crofts in capturing carbon and reducing climate change.

Together with the James Hutton Institute and Forest Research, they are gathering data on carbon sequestration to get a picture at a national and individual farm level of the carbon that is stored and being managed on-farm.

The data will ensure there is the opportunity to evaluate both agricultural emissions and sequestration when it comes to UK greenhouse gas checklists. This work and analysis will help to foster a closer relationship between farming, agriculture and climate tech.

More on the SAOS website opens in a new window  


Topolytics is a leading 'wastetech' company, aggregating and analysing data at scale to make the world’s waste visible, verifiable and valuable. It does this to dramatically reduce the material going into waste dumps or leaking into the environment on a global basis.

It's starting to scale the business, deploying analytics platforms with organisations across the 'downstream materials' system such as waste producers, recyclers and governments.

More on the Topolytics website opens in a new window  


The Scottish Earth Observation Service is an initiative led by Edinburgh-based space tech firm Ecometrica to advance applications of earth observation in Scotland.

Working with GSi and Carbomap, Ecometrica will collect high resolution LiDAR data and use innovative machine learning techniques to combine with Sentinel 1 and 2 satellite data to generate improved information streams for forestry and vegetation conditions in Scotland.

It will be working with commercial forestry companies and land agents to develop due diligence reports with basic forestry metrics to reduce the cost of manual surveys before purchasing new land assets.

How Ecometrica’s space tech is protecting the planet 

Space Intelligence

Edinburgh-based Space Intelligence is working with NatureScot (Scotland’s nature agency) to explore ways of using artificial intelligence (AI) techniques to tackle the climate emergency.

The project will develop a complete and repeatable map of habitats and land use in Scotland to improve how Scotland’s natural capital is calculated – the habitats and ecosystems that provide social, environmental and economic benefits and can store and even absorb carbon.

Space Intelligence has used satellite data and AI to create a map for the whole of Scotland that can be repeated helping us to identify and measure change.

How Space Intelligence is helping restore the world’s peatlands 


McGill's bus firm has recently invested £17.5 million into all-electric buses, ordering 13 from Falkirk bus building company Alexander Dennis. McGill’s will also install new electrical charging infrastructure for its depots in Johnstone and Dundee.

This latest investment brings the total capital put into the firm since 2014 to more than £50 million – around £40 million of which has been spent on new vehicles, demonstrating the ongoing shift towards electric and hydrogen powered transport.

More on McGill’s website opens in a new window  

Arcola Energy

Scotland showcased its first hydrogen-powered train to the world at COP26 created by a consortium of engineering and technology firms. The project leaders Arcola Energy were responsible for the hydrogen fuel cell system engineering, design and integration, as well as the project demonstration. The project forms the basis of future opportunities in climate technologies towards transport.

Read about Arcola’s move to Scotland 

Maas Scotland

One of Scotland’s leading strengths in our journey towards net zero is our journey towards MaaS. Mobility as a Service (MaaS) is the integration of various transport modes into a single mobility service. It provides the user with easy, digital access to all available transport options in a particular area, allowing them to make informed decisions as to how they wish to travel.

The implementation of MaaS in Scotland is being led by several public sector bodies, including local authorities, regional transport partnerships and Transport Scotland. This community, and the delivery of MaaS in Scotland more generally, is supported by MaaS Scotland, a network of over 75 public and private sector organisations who have a shared vision to develop and deploy MaaS solutions in Scotland.

More on the MaaS Scotland website opens in a new window  

Michelin Scotland Innovation Parc

Michelin Scotland Innovation Parc (MSIP) based in Dundee is a world leading innovation parc focused on sustainable mobility and low carbon energy. It will be home to a rich variety of projects, alongside companies, academia and skilled people to address key global challenges such as climate change and climate tech innovation.

A critical component of MSIP, which will help to facilitate the ongoing prosperity of the climate tech ecosystem in Scotland, is that there are opportunities to pitch to potential venture investors and potential customers or channels to bring the technologies to commercialisation and market.

Green opportunities at MSIP 

The Scottish National Investment Bank

The newly established Scottish National Investment Bank has enormous potential to act as the lever between the public and private sector. The Bank was launched in November 2020, announcing its first investment of £12.5 million in M Squared Lasers.

The Bank’s mission is to support the transition to net zero while harnessing innovation. So, there is the clear potential for shared interest between the Bank’s agenda and the development of climate tech.

The Bank will seek to invest debt and equity on commercial terms based on the needs of individual projects or businesses and will typically invest in businesses and projects seeking more than £1 million in investment support.

More on the Scottish National Investment Bank website opens in a new window  


In January 2020, Microsoft announced a bold new environmental sustainability strategy focusing on carbon, water, waste, and ecosystems. As part of that commitment, it’s investing $1 billion USD over the next four years in new technologies and innovative sustainability solutions focusing on climate tech. Solutions will target areas such as direct carbon removal, digital optimisation, advanced energy systems, industrial materials, circular economy, water technologies, sustainable agriculture, and business strategies for nature-based markets.

In June 2018, Microsoft’s Project Natick opens in a new window submerged a datacentre on the seabed of Scotland’s Orkney islands in an experimental effort to see if it can provide internet services faster to coastal cities using renewable energy.

The underwater datacentre is also processing workloads for the Folding@home opens in a new window global distributed computing project to understand the viral proteins that cause Covid-19 and design therapeutics to stop them.

Microsoft’s climate innovation commitment opens in a new window  


BT is leading the way in corporate and start up investment engagement towards climate technology. BT has chosen Glasgow tech start-up iOpt to develop new joint products and services aimed at helping its public sector customers reach their net zero emissions targets. BT will offer the product to local councils across the UK that are looking to adopt environmental monitoring and smart building solutions.

The Internet of Things (IoT) platform provides real-time information and alerts on the condition of properties. Installed sensors allow key information such as damp, mould, and fuel poverty to be collated and tracked to address such issues.

More on the BT website opens in a new window  

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