It’s been just under a month since the Clean Energy Challenge came to a close with the respective Demo Day events, so we thought it was time to share the best bits from the final leg of the process: the accelerator phase.
The twenty winning teams received a budget and tailor-made guidance to develop their project. The accelerator is aimed at giving the winners the tools to take their project to the next level. In each of the five cities, a local partner organised sessions to help the teams connect with relevant partners, finances, customers and networks that can help bring their solution to market.
We invited ten of the winners to Amsterdam for a one-week Bootcamp. The programme was packed with workshops, aimed at strengthening each team’s entrepreneurial skills by giving them a 360° ‘run down’ of what it takes to build businesses that focus on sustainable outcomes. In-between workshops, pitches and mentor sessions, we managed to find some time to ask the teams about their projects, what they gained from the challenge, and their plans for the future. Without further ado…
1. LIVING LIGHT
‘We aim to harness the natural processes of living plants to generate clean electricity. Using microbial fuel cell technology, our living lamps can turn any green space in Amsterdam into its own light source, without putting any more cables into our crowded streets. We want to replace the street lights with trees, charge our devices in public spaces and create datahubs for the municipality, all through the power of plants.’
2. MILÊNIO BUS
The proposal is to develop both software and hardware for real-time passenger flow calculation on buses in São Paulo. Using innovative technologies, the system aims to generate increased passenger functionality and fleet optimisation. In addition, the Milênio Bus is capable of generating information (big data) for public transport companies, allowing better planning of their routes.
Huge amounts of agricultural wastes are burnt every year in the states of Punjab and Haryana, contributing to high levels of air pollution in the city of Delhi. But what if these agricultural wastes can be turned into a resource? Agrocrete is a bio-based building material made from raw crop waste and locally available lime-based binders. Each unit is carbon-negative and lightweight while being adequately strong, and providing thermal insulation.
Ecolana aims to be the ultimate guide for recycling in México City. The platform provides access to information and builds connections between two main types of communities: recycling heroes (citizens) and recycling centers (collectors). Next to these key players, they also encourage consumer brands to connect and add value to the city’s recycling chain.
Ecoplaso transforms fruit and vegetable peels and other organic waste into bioplastic which is 100% biodegradable and compostable. This material can replace petroleum- based plastics as the raw material for the manufacture of products such as disposable plates, straws, bags, furniture and toys. Ecoplaso also has developed an alternative to animal leather out of this organic waste, which can be used in the fabrication of furniture, shoes, accessories and interior designs.
6. Iconic energy
An effective way to preserve sustainable energy is to store water in a reservoir at higher altitudes. By pumping up large amounts of water in times of energy abundance and allowing the stock to flow back when there is a shortage, the back-flowing water can be used to generate electricity. In using old industrial water towers to do so, the concept integrates clean energy storage with the preservation of our cultural heritage.
Created by Ant Studio, Beehive is a functional-art alternative to energy intensive cooling and air purification solutions. The system works through evaporative cooling, using traditional earthenware pots which are soaked with water. With use, biofilm forms naturally on these pots, assisting with air purification. The modular design is also zero-plastic and zero-emission, and is perfectly suited to cool down outdoor working conditions in the city.
8. FOOD NEXUS
Ukulima Tech seeks to facilitate the production of healthy and nutritious food for urban residents. Transforming backyards, verandahs and balconies through energy and space efficient farming methods. The system entails the collection of organic waste which is composted to form a nutrient rich-growing medium to be used for planting. The systems are easy to use for individuals with little to no farming experience.
9. FOOD NEXUS
Pedivela is an integration of cyclelogistics. Using a network of urban automated crossdocks, Pedivela connects and optimizes the relation between passionate cargo bike riders and parcel delivery companies. Customers can bring their products to the crossdocks located at the “gates” of the city, where the cargo bikers will perform the next step of micro- logistics.
10. SOLAR FREEZE
Today, an estimated 470 million small farmers in developing countries lose an average of 15% of their income to food spoilage. SolarFreeze uses solar-powered cold rooms to preserve perishable food in farms across Africa. Farmers can pay for cold-storage via MPESA, with as little as $0.1cents per day for a crate of fruits. Solar Freeze also provides mentorship and training, plus a mobile app that helps farmers reduce post-harvest losses.
Meet all 20 Clean Energy Challenge winners in this interview series.