Last September, Zhengliang won €200,000 with his start-up Green City Solutions. They invented the CityTree, a revolutionairy system to fight climate change and air pollution. We were wondering how he and his team are doing.
How did you (and your team) experience the finale of the Postcode Lottery Green Challenge?
Starting with the application through to the awesome grand finale and being chosen as the runner-up 2016, the Postcode Lottery Green Challenge was and still is a great experience. At the finale I was impressed with the atmosphere and location and met many interesting, likeminded and unique people. Meeting the Dutch Queen and the former President of Costa Rica has made an everlasting impression. We are delighted and proud to be part of the Green Challenge family and look forward to the next steps.
What have you done with the prizemoney?
The prize money will form part of our new project, called the “CityTree Scaler”, in cooperation with Climate-KIC Germany, the city of Modena and Proambiente. The pilot aims to gain high quality data on the impact of the biotechnological plant filters in a real urban environment. Besides that we want to prove their effectiveness with regards to their ability to combat air pollution, improve biodiversity, reduce heat island effects and support sustainable urban development.
What has been the main takeaway for Green City Solutions after being one of the five finalists in the Postcode Lottery Green Challenge?
Being chosen as the runner-up was another step in the right direction regarding our ambition to create clean and profitable urban air and develop highly efficient and sustainable solutions to improve the environment for the cityscape of tomorrow. The honour of being chosen insuch a well-known competition and by an expert jury raises awareness and creates credibility in our company and our product.
Have you acquired any new business opportunities as a result of the Postcode Lottery Green Challenge? Have you made new contacts?
At the grand finale and thanks to the Postcode Lottery network we met numerous interesting people. We are in contact with many European cities and companies that could collaborate with us. Furthermore, we had the great opportunity to invite some people to the grand finale. The event strengthened our business connections.
How is the pilot with Deutsche Bahn doing?
The collaboration with the Deutsche Bahn is also an awesome experience and doing well. After the indoor version of our solution had been showcased at the InnoTrans 2016 fair and the main station in Berlin, we gained a lot of attention throughout Europe. The outdoor version of the CityTree is still deployed at the station Südkreuz in Berlin.
What are the next big steps?
Within the next few years we want to work on our vision of greener, smarter and more liveable cities. We will work on the product itself, the improvement of its effectiveness and further developments. For this purpose we will collaborate with renowned institutes such as Fraunhofer and partners.
One major task this year will be the start of the “CityTree Scaler” project. In addition, we are hoping to realise more projects like these and implement many CityTrees all over Europe, and eventually lso expand to Asia.