Science & Technology in Action

5th Edition

Technologies Protecting the Environment


Any technology whose use is less environmentally harmful than alternatives is called an environmental technology; they are designed to minimise, and if possible repair, damage to the environment.

Contains the full lesson along with a supporting toolkit, including teachers’ notes.

Lesson excerpt

What are Environmental Technologies?
Any technology whose use is less environmentally harmful than alternatives is called an environmental technology. wind turbines, solar panels and wave machines are environmentally friendly because they use renewable energysources. Technologies that improve our environment are also included in this definition. Examples here include waste-management systems; recycling and clean transport systems that make use of fuel cells, hybrid engines or biofuels. Sustainable construction is also included.

Houses can be built from environmentally friendly materials, or built so that they do not produce pollution. Such a house is called apassive house. Information and Communications Technology (ICT) can also help as it can be used to improve energy use or reduce pollution from industrial processes.

Environmental technologies play a key role in many sectors of our economy, including:

  • Agriculture
  • Construction
  • Energy
  • Industrial Processes
  • Waste and Resources Management
  • Resources Management
  • Transport

In this lesson we examine some of the main technologies that help us to protect our environment.

Quiz questions

  1. Diesel engines are efficient because they burn fuel in excess oxygen and this leads to more complete combustion false
  2. Radioisotope thermal generators provide electricity from radioactivity. They have powered space probes, lighthouses and remote sensors. true
  3. Burning CH4 fuel produces CO2, replacing a greenhouse gas with one that has less greenhouse effect. true
  4. Algae are ineffective absorbers of NOx gases from power stations. false
  5. Well-aerated garden compost generates CO2 rather than CH4. true
  6. Adding excess fertilisers to farmland carries no environmental risk. false
  7. Using closed recirculation systems in fish farming would mean that effluents could be better controlled. true
  8. Farming of predatory fish has involved the harvesting of wild fish in large quantities for fishmeal. true
  9. Catalytic converters in cars operate extremely well at low temperatures. false
  10. Using CFC substitutes in aerosol propellants reduces damage to the Earth’s ozone layer. true