‘My aim is to get people to think differently about solar,’ said Dutch designer Marjan van Aubel at her talk during What Design Can Do Live Amsterdam earlier this year. That day van Aubel was on hand to present her ground-breaking project, Power Plant: a greenhouse designed to harvest both food and energy. It was this project that made her one of the thirteen winners of the first What Design Can Do Climate Action Challenge.
Van Aubel’s concept edged out the stiff competition – a total of 384 entries from 70 countries – to take home an award package including a tailor-made acceleration programme lasting five months. ‘The accelerator enabled us to kickstart the question of how to integrate solar into greenhouses and to turn this idea into a possible future,’ says van Aubel of the experience. Today, Power Plant is renowned around the world, showing at prestigious events like the London Design Biennale and the Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven (open til 28 October).
New challenge, same accelerator
Participants of the current Clean Energy Challenge can look forward to a similar impact development programme, should their project be selected as a winner. Aimed at making the winning concepts and startups ready for market and investment, this year’s programme will include workshops, expert consultancy, networking events, visits to peer entrepreneurs and bootcamps. Like van Aubel, winners will also receive the opportunity to present their project on the WDCD live stage. Watch van Aubel’s full WDCD 2018 talk on whatdesigncando.com.