Desolenator from Great Britain, Field Factors from the Netherlands, nuventura from Germany and Swedish Algae Factory and TEXEL Energy Storage from Sweden have been announced as the finalists of the Postcode Lotteries Green Challenge 2019.
The annual international competition in the field of sustainability innovation encourages and supports start-ups in taking their business to the next level. The five finalists pitch their start-up to an international jury on 3 October during the final in Amsterdam.
With their place in the final, the five finalists are guaranteed to win at least 100,000 euros each. The runner-up will win 200,000 euros and the winner will go home with the grand prize of 500,000 euros. In addition to the prize money, all of the finalists will have access to the Green Challenge DeepDive: a 6-month program in which the start-ups receive support and coaching in furthering their business.
The finalists of the Postcode Lotteries Green Challenge 2019 are:
A circular system for (rain)water management in the city
Most rainwater is wasted, while fresh water is one of the most important raw materials on earth. To combat this, Karina Peña, CEO of the Dutch company Field Factors, together with her team, developed the circular system Bluebloqs for sustainable rainwater management in the city. Rainwater is collected and purified in the Bluebloqs so that it can be used later for irrigation, for example. Field Factors’ mission is to use rainwater in a useful way, with nature as the starting point.
Strongly polluted water purified with solar energy
A solar panel normally only has about 15% efficiency in converting solar radiation into electricity; the rest of the energy input is released as heat and is wasted. Louise Bleach, Business Development Manager, and her team from Great Britain have developed Desolenator, a technology that uses the residual heat from the solar panel to heat polluted or salt water. The condensation from the distilled water vapor is then collected, creating drinking water.
A sustainable switching installation free from greenhouse gases
A gas-insulated switch installation (GIS) is an essential part of every electricity grid. These existing switching installations use SF6, a greenhouse gas 23,500 times stronger and therefore more harmful than CO2. Fabian Lemke, co-founder and managing director of the German start-up nuventura, has set himself the goal, together with his team, of replacing these switching installations and eliminating the powerful greenhouse gas SF6. They developed a new switch that simply works on air and is free from SF6. With nuventura, they are committed to an efficient and sustainable global energy sector.
More efficient solar panels with innovative material made from algae
In dark and cold seas diatoms - algae that develop a shell with unique properties to survive in this dark environment - grow. The material is naturally designed to absorb light efficiently and can be used to make solar panels more efficient. The material also has a moisturising and cleansing effect, so that it can also be used as a natural ingredient for care products. Sofie Allert is the CEO and founder of Swedish Algae Factory: the only company in the world that grows these algae on a large scale.
A cost-effective battery for storing wind and solar energy
To be able to further expand the market for wind and solar energy and thus further reduce the use of fossil fuels and CO2 emissions within the energy market, a cost-effective battery is required. Lars Jacobsson is CEO and founder of the Swedish TEXEL Energy Storage. The TEXEL battery developed by TEXEL Energy Storage contains no rare or heavy metals, is 100% recyclable and is up to 90% cheaper than other technologies for storing wind and solar energy.
Last year, the Dutch start-up The Great Bubble Barrier won The Postcode Lotteries Green Challenge. It developed an air bubble screen that collects and removes plastic in rivers and canals in the fight against plastic pollution in the ocean. By winning the Postcode Lotteries Green Challenge, The Great Bubble Barrier got the chance to grow from a small team to a company with international ambitions. Read an interview with Saskia Studer, one of the founders, here.