NICK GERRITSEN (RUNNER-UP) - CARBONSCAPE
Plan: CarbonScape uses fast, efficient industrial microwave technology to transform waste biomass, such as timber site residue, into high-grade materials that replace fossil carbon. Its low-cost, carbon-neutral products include green coke, activated carbon, biochar and graphite. Its customisable process could slash emissions by replacing fossil carbon in industry, decreasing emissions from organic waste decomposition, and offering companies products made from local materials. CarbonScape converts energy generated by its processes into electricity, further lowering its net carbon impact. It has signed a green coke supply deal with a leading New Zealand steel manufacturer.
Biography: I'm a Marlborough-based entrepreneur specialising in the commercialisation of New Zealand grassroots technology propositions. I'm the founder and Chairman of Directors for CarbonScape and Celsias, and a founding Director for renewable fuel developer Aquaflow Bionomic Corporation. I was recently appointed a Trustee of the Hikurangi Foundation, and am founding Chairman of the National Whale Development Centre.
In my previous life as a lawyer, I advised leading corporates on intellectual property and later enjoyed several successful business ventures, most notably in radio and software sectors. I have been an advisor to the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.
1. Please introduce yourself
I'm Nick, a Kiwi of Dutch heritage, and a citizen of New Zealand and the Netherlands. I grew up in the Marlborough Sounds, a remote part of New Zealand's South Island. My childhood experiences were shaped by a strong engagement with nature and the landscape. This developed my ability to notice natural patterns and progressions, a mind-set that formed the basis of my successful career in strategy and Intellectual property architecture, and now environmental entrepreneurship.
2. What's your entry for the Postcode Lottery Green Challenge?
CarbonScape has developed cutting-edge microwave technology that transforms virtually any waste organic material into high value carbon products. These products replace fossil carbon in existing value chains. We create green coke for reducing emissions in steel-making. We create high quality activated carbon for pollution control. We create graphite for a wide range of advanced technologies. Our by-products are clean energy and biofuels.
By using these products, we can dramatically reduce emissions by enabling industries and communities to create low-carbon cradle-to-cradle resource cycles anywhere in the world.
3. Where did you get this idea?
The initial idea for our technology came from our friend and co-founder, Prof. Chris Turney, after a childhood misadventure with a household microwave and a potato. As our equipment and expertise developed, we realised that CarbonScape had the potential to do more than simply transform and store carbon in an environmentally friendly form; it could create a whole new class of economically viable, carbon neutral products.
4. Why do you want to contribute to the reduction of CO2-emissions? Where does that drive come from?
We believe that unsustainable consumption of fossil carbon, and the emission of CO2 around the world is causing huge and irreparable environmental damage. We are not prepared to wait for governments to take action against that could transform and store carbon in an environmentally friendly form such practices. Instead, we are stepping up as leaders in the formation of a sustainable, low carbon economy.
5. What difference will your plan make if it comes to market if you win the €500.000 Green Challenge prize?
When CarbonScape products reach the global market, they will enable industries and communities to increase their sustainability effortlessly. We can change the world by allowing people and businesses to significantly reduce carbon emissions and other environmental pollutants, irrespective of their beliefs about climate change and global resource depletion
CarbonScape's products are economically viable in today's market. This means that our services require no subsidies, government policies or regulations in order to generate a profit and reduce emissions at the same time. We create carbon-efficient, renewable materials that can be dropped in to existing infrastructures. We can enable industries and communities around the world to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental pollutants in the near term without waiting for dramatic behavioural adaptations.