Five eco-friendly startups from the Netherlands, UK, France and Vietnam are competing in the final of the Postcode Lottery Green Challenge, an annual global competition for startups with environmentally sustainable business plans. On September 11th, the finalists will present their ideas in Amsterdam before a jury led by Dame Ellen MacArthur; the winner will receive US$680,000 and runners-up will receive US$272,000 towards their ventures.
The Dutch Postcode Lottery competition aims to help purpose-driven startups bring their innovative products and services to market. This year it called for inventions that reduce carbon emissions and the jury received 324 sustainable business plans from 57 different countries.
The top five finalists:
Bio-bean Ltd (United Kingdom): Arthur Kay
Bio-bean uses its patented process to upcycle waste coffee grounds into two advanced biofuel products - biodiesel and biomass pellets - which are used for powering buildings and transportation. Bio-bean addresses the need for production of clean, cheap, local energy and responsible waste collection and disposal.
Bluerise (The Netherlands): Diego Acevedo
Bluerise develops a technology that uses temperature differences in the oceans to generate electricity and cooling. It enables tropical islands and coastal regions to become 100 percent energy-independent and save up to 90 percent on cooling-related electricity use.
Fargreen (Vietnam): Trang Tran
Most of the world's rice is produced in Asia where rice straw waste is commonly disposed off through burning which releases millions of tons of greenhouse gases (GHG) every year. Fargreen works with local rice farmers to divert the straw waste from burning and instead with the help of Fargreen's technology, use it as a substrate to produce high quality mushrooms. Thus, Fargreen helps reduce the release of GHGs and helps farmers increase their income.
One Nights Tent (The Netherlands): Devin Malone
Millions camp at music festivals every year and 1 in 4 campers leave their equipment behind as waste. One Nights Tent produces recyclable tents which users pre-purchase online and receive it at the festival campsite. The company later recycles or composts anything that's left behind.
Turbosail (France): Pierre-Yves Cousteau
Turbosail develops an efficient wind propulsion technology for seagoing vessel operators, which is proven to deliver a 30 percent average reduction in fuel consumption as prototype. The Turbosail functions like an airplane wing, creating an aerodynamic power that lifts the vessel and pushes it forward.
Another sustainable innovation competition whose semi-finalists are awaiting results is the Electrolux Design Lab's competition for design and technology students. The 35 semi-finalists include everything from sustainable fashion solutions to futuristic air purifiers to food growth and storage systems. Earlier this month, Social Venture Network’s (SVN) 2014 Innovation Award announced its winners - Farmland LP, Public Lab, Rising Tide Capital and Sustaintech India. The award recognizes companies that demonstrate the greatest impact in solving social, environmental and economic problems. And entrants were judged on their use of innovation, impact and ability to scale.