Swedish start-up wins half a million euros for innovative algae-based material

Green start-ups from the Netherlands, Germany, Great Britain, Norway and Sweden, the countries with a Postcode Lottery, can once again secure a place in the final of the Postcode Lotteries Green Challenge.

Swedish Algae Factory (Sweden) has been announced as the winner of the Postcode Lotteries Green Challenge 2019. During the final in Amsterdam, Sofie Allert, CEO and founder of Swedish Algae Factory, convinced the international jury and received the grand prize of 500,000 euros for her green start-up. The runner-up prize of 200,000 euros went to nuventura from Germany. The other three finalists were awarded 100,000 euros each to grow their businesses. In addition to the prize money, the five finalists receive six months of support and coaching in furthering their business during the Green Challenge DeepDive. The Postcode Lotteries Green Challenge is an annual international competition in the field of sustainability innovation which encourages and supports start-ups in taking their business to the next level.

Grand prize of half a million euros for more efficient solar panels with innovative algae material
In dark and cold seas diatoms - algae that develop a shell with unique properties to survive in this dark environment - grow. The material naturally absorbs 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 be used as a natural ingredient for personal 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.

Sofie Allert: "We are so happy and honoured to win this prize. This win helps us reach more personal care and solar clients and increase our production capacity faster. Algica reduces CO2 with 200 tons/kg per year when applied on solar panels and replaces harmful and less efficient ingredients in personal care. Algica is contributing towards a more circular and bio-based industry!"

Runner-up prize for nuventura
Fabian Lemke, co-founder and managing director of the German start-up nuventura, was rewarded by the jury with the runner-up prize of 200,000 euros. Together with his team, Fabian has set himself the goal of replacing switching installations that use the powerful, highly harmful greenhouse gas SF6. They developed a new switch that works on air. nuventura is committed to an efficient and sustainable global energy sector.

100,000 euros for Desolenator, Field Factors and TEXEL Energy Storage
The 100,000 euro prizes went to: Desolenator from Great Britain, which developed a technology that uses the residual heat from a solar panel (around 85% is not converted into energy) to purify polluted or salt water, Field Factors from the Netherlands, which developed a circular system called Bluebloqs for (rain)water management in cities and TEXEL Energy Storage from Sweden, which developed a cost-effective battery for storing wind and solar energy.

Winner 2018
Last year, the Dutch start-up The Great Bubble Barrier won The Postcode Lotteries Green Challenge. It has developed an air bubble screen that collects and removes plastic in rivers and canals in the fight against plastic pollution in the ocean. Thanks to 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.