Category: Awards & contests

The Reusies

UPSTREAM and Closed Loop Partners are launching the first ever virtual awards show for the Reuse Movement in the U.S. in 2021.

This inaugural event celebrates the pioneers, the trailblazers, the innovators and game-changing heroes who are developing a better way than throw-away, advancing systemic change and co-creating a world where we can get what we need and want without all the waste.

The Call for Nominations is open until July 11.

Water Toxicity Sensor Challenge

To help meet the need for better ways to monitor toxicity in water, EPA and partners are launching the Water Toxicity Sensor Challenge.  

The challenge calls on innovators to develop a sensor that can identify whether there are chemical pollutants and natural toxins in various types of water much faster and less expensively than current lab methods for detecting individual, specific chemicals. Certain chemicals can activate various toxicity pathways inside living cells. This causes a disruption to normal biological processes, like breathing or digestion, which can lead to harmful health effects such as diseases like cancer.

This Challenge calls for a water sensor that can detect the activation of those toxic pathways in the presence of various harmful chemicals and natural toxins.

The Challenge ends July 26, 2021.

Green Chemistry Challenge Awards honor innovators

Scientific innovations that decrease or eliminate the use of hazardous chemicals, reduce greenhouse gases and result in a safer and more sustainable product are being honored with Green Chemistry Challenge Awards from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Michal Freedhoff, Ph.D., principal deputy assistant administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention at the EPA, will announce the award winners at the 25th Annual Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference, which is being held virtually June 14-18.

“The Green Chemistry Challenge Award winners exemplify how chemistry can be part of the solution to our global environmental challenges. We applaud the chemists and chemical engineers being honored this year for their innovative technology platforms, chemicals and processes that reduce the use of hazardous materials, improve efficiency and increase the recyclability of products.”

Thomas Connelly Jr., Ph.D., American Chemical Society CEO

The winning technologies are:

Academic: Srikanth Pilla, Ph.D., Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina, is being recognized for synthesizing a biobased polyurethane foam from paper and pulp waste that is designed to be fully recyclable. This innovation provides a nontoxic alternative to make products such as automobile seat cushions, furniture and insulation.

Small Business: XploSafe LLC, Stillwater, Oklahoma, is being recognized for creating PhosRoxTM, a porous ceramic material that can absorb excess nitrogen and phosphorus from wastewater sources such as aquariums, watering ponds, swimming pools and water features. Once saturated, this material can be used as a time-release fertilizer, preventing water pollution, recycling nutrients and reducing the large environmental footprint of phosphate and nitrogen production.

Greener Synthetic Pathways: Merck Research Laboratories, Rahway, New Jersey, is being recognized for redesigning the synthesis and manufacture of gefapixant citrate, a drug to treat chronic cough. Merck reduced the total mass of materials used to create a unit of the active ingredient five-fold and increased the yield 44%, while reducing the cost of materials six-fold compared to the drug’s original manufacturing route. Flow chemistry was employed to improve process safety, and a life cycle assessment showed the new process would decrease the carbon footprint of production by more than 80%.

Greener Reaction Conditions: Bristol Myers Squibb, New York, is being recognized for developing a new class of sustainable reagents that can be applied to a range of applications, including nucleotide chemistry, a growing area of drug development. The new reagent platform bypasses the traditional approach, reducing solvent and reagent use and improving the stability of the reagents and intermediates, making them safer to use. The innovation also eliminates the need for carbon footprint-intensive cold storage, required by the current approach. 

The Design of Greener Chemicals: Colonial Chemical, Inc., South Pittsburg, Tennessee, is being recognized for developing Suga®Boost biobased, nontoxic, biodegradable surfactants from functionalized alkyl polyglucosides that perform on par with or better than the commonly used alkyl phenol ethoxylate (APE) surfactants. APEs are targeted for replacement because they have poor biodegradability in the environment, have adverse effects on aquatic and terrestrial organisms and humans, and are often contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, a carcinogen.

The Green Chemistry Challenge Awards are a collaboration between the EPA and the ACS Green Chemistry Institute®.

The ACS Green Chemistry Institute® (GCI) is an institute of the American Chemical Society dedicated to catalyzing the implementation of green and sustainable chemistry and engineering throughout the global chemistry enterprise and the Society. ACS GCI convenes industrial roundtables, holds an annual Green Chemistry & Engineering conference (gcande.org), and offers educational resources including grants, awards, webinars and workshops — encouraging scientific innovations to solve environmental and human health issues facing our world today.

The American Chemical Society (ACS) is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. ACS’ mission is to advance the broader chemistry enterprise and its practitioners for the benefit of Earth and all its people.

These are the winners of 2021’s ‘Green Nobels’

Read the full story at Fast Company.

From stopping coal plants in Japan to pushing the Malawi government to ban thin plastics, the six winners of this year’s Goldman Environmental Prize show how much climate progress is made by grassroots activism.

Lubrizol’s AlgaPūr HSHO algae oil wins BSB Innovation Award

Read the full story at Cosmetics & Toiletries.

Lubrizol Life Science–Beauty’s AlgaPūr High Stability High Oleic (HSHO) algae oil (INCI: Triolein) won third prize in the BSB Innovation Awards in the category ‘Natural Products/Raw Materials for hair care.’

The European award recognizes innovation in cosmetics, natural products, chemical raw materials as well as packaging and concepts.

As previously reported, AlgaPūr HSHO algae oil is a bio-based oil derived from microalgae that was originally sourced from chestnut tree sap. It has a high sustaina­bility profile and proven efficacy, delivering multiple benefits for hair and scalp care. It is a natural ingredient produced through fermentation, is readily biodegradable and has a low environmental footprint for water, carbon and land use.

Cheap, green, and beautiful: The future of housing, according to this year’s Solar Decathlon winners

Read the full story at Fast Company.

The winners of the 2021 Solar Decathlon Build Challenge show how to build energy-efficient housing in extreme climates—the kinds of conditions climate change will only make more prevalent.

XPRIZE and Musk Foundation Announce Guidelines and Open Registration for $100M XPRIZE Carbon Removal

Read the press release.

XPRIZE, the global leader in designing and implementing innovative competition models to solve the world’s grand challenges, today announced the official launch of $100 Million XPRIZE Carbon Removal with the opening of team registration and the release of the competition guidelines…

Funded by the Musk Foundation, $100M XPRIZE Carbon Removal is aimed at tackling climate change by asking global innovators to develop solutions that can pull carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere or oceans and lock it away permanently in an environmentally benign method.

The Cleanie Awards® launches fourth awards season highlighting innovations in clean energy and climate tech

The Cleanie Awards® today announced that applications are open for its 2021 awards program. Now in its fourth year, The Cleanie Awards is the leading awards program recognizing the top innovators, thinkers, leaders, and disruptors driving America’s $500 billion clean-energy sector.

The program recognizes leaders dedicating their careers to helping avert the climate crisis — the individuals and organizations building a more just, equitable, reliable, resilient, and affordable clean energy economy. A judging panel comprised of industry leaders — representing sectors as diverse as finance, generation, agriculture, utilities, and mobility — will evaluate the entrants. New in 2021, The Cleanie Awards is adding two People’s Choice categories.

Companies and individuals can vie for recognition as:

  • Company of the Year
  • Best Corporate Sustainability Strategy
  • Best Journalist
  • Best Media Outlet (People’s Choice)
  • Champion in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
  • Investment Leader of the Year
  • Keep the Power On
  • Pioneer in New Technology
  • Project of the Year (People’s Choice)
  • Rising Star
  • Trailblazer
  • Woman of the Year

Also new this year, The Cleanie Awards will recognize college-level leaders in College Excellence. This award, sponsored by REpowering Schools, will honor collegiate individuals and/or groups — who are making an impact in cleantech through coursework, capstone research projects, and competitions.

REpowering Schools is a 501c3 nonprofit that unites educators, renewable energy firms, and government initiatives to help buttress STEM education and build a diverse, sustainable renewable energy workforce of tomorrow. In support of this work, The Cleanie Awards is donating a share of this year’s proceeds to REpowering Schools.

“The clean-energy and climate-tech sectors are among the fastest growing areas of the U.S. economy — generating jobs, helping build a more resilient nation, and making crucial steps toward averting our climate crisis,” said Randee Gilmore, Executive Director, The Cleanie Awards.

“These awards shine a spotlight on the best ideas and most impactful leaders of the year — the people and organizations not only making a difference today, but helping build a healthier, more just, and more prosperous tomorrow. In addition to recognizing the achievements of our partners, we are excited to celebrate the next generation of our homegrown American workforce through College Excellence. This new category recognizes the next Rising Stars in cleantech.”

Previous years’ winners include Fortune 100 enterprises, fast-growing startups, pioneering individuals, and high-impact advocates — from ENGIE North America and Nextracker, to Enel, GE Power, Clearway Energy, and Point Load Power.

Early bird applications are open from April 22 to May 1, and regular submissions will be accepted until June 20.

Visit www.thecleanieawards.com to apply to this year’s program and for additional information, such as fees, deadlines, and sponsorship opportunities.

About The Cleanie Awards®

The Cleanie Awards is the only cleantech awards program focused exclusively on honoring innovators and disruptors who are creating market-moving solutions. The program’s mission is to influence public opinion about technologies working toward a clean energy future. For more information, visit the website at www.thecleanieawards.com. Follow The Cleanie Awards on Twitter or Facebook at @CleanieAwards and LinkedIn.

XPRIZE Announces the Two Winners of $20m NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE, With Each Team Creating Valuable Products out of CO2 Emissions

XPRIZE, the global leader in designing and implementing innovative competition models to solve the world’s grandest challenges, today announced that CarbonCure Technologies and CarbonBuilt have won the $20M NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE, a prize that set out to convert CO2 emissions into valuable products.

Selected by a panel of independent judges, both winning teams developed solutions aimed at reducing CO2 emissions associated with traditional concrete, which is currently the world’s most abundant human-made material and accounts for seven percent of all global CO2 emissions. The two team’s award-winning technologies will be, and already are, game-changers for global decarbonization and the fight against climate change.

Launched in 2015, the NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE was a five-year global competition developed to address rising CO2 emissions by challenging innovators around the world to develop breakthrough technologies that convert the most CO2 into products with the highest net value.

“The NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE, its two winners, and the eight other finalists have developed breakthrough technologies that allow humanity to reimagine what is possible for the climate change fight,” said Anousheh Ansari, XPRIZE CEO. “Thanks to the vision laid out and supported by NRG, COSIA and many other partners, flipping CO2 emissions into valuable products is now a proven, successful strategy to build a better world.”

The competition included two tracks: the Wyoming track that focused on the conversion of emissions from a nearby coal-fired power plant, the Wyoming Integrated Test Center in Gillette, WY, and the Alberta track which used emissions from an adjacent natural gas-fired plant, the Alberta Carbon Conversion Technology Centre in Calgary, AB. The winning teams, one from each track, converted the most CO2 into products with the highest value, while minimizing their overall CO2 footprint, land use, water use, and energy use.

CarbonCure Technologies, the Alberta track winner from Canada, demonstrated a technology which enabled the production of concrete with a reduced water and carbon footprint without sacrifice to the material’s reliability. Utilizing CarbonCure Technologies’ system, a precise dosage of CO2 is injected into a concrete plant’s reclaimer system, which contains the water used to wash out concrete trucks and mixers. The CO2 is converted to a permanently embedded mineral with strength-enhancing properties which can then be incorporated into new concrete mixes. By reducing the amount of new freshwater, solid waste disposal and cement required, the team, which is backed by Bill Gates’ fund Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Amazon Climate Pledge Fund, BDC Capital and others, is able to reduce the material costs and increase profitability for concrete producers.

“I’m incredibly proud of Team CarbonCure’s hard work, dedication, and ingenuity that contributed to our win. The prize winnings will accelerate our path to achieve our company mission of reducing 500 megatonnes of CO2 emissions annually by 2030,” said Jennifer Wagner, president of CarbonCure and team lead for the competition. “Technology alone will not get us to our net-zero emissions targets — concrete producers, the wider construction community, and policymakers are important allies on our journey to decarbonize the concrete industry.”

The Los Angeles-based Wyoming track winner, UCLA CarbonBuilt, developed technology that reduces the carbon footprint of concrete by more than 50 percent while reducing raw material costs and increasing profitability. The CarbonBuilt concrete formulation significantly decreases the need for ordinary Portland cement while enabling the increased use of low-cost waste materials. During the curing process, CO2 is directly injected from flue gas streams (like power plants or cement factories) into the concrete mixture where it is chemically transformed and permanently stored. Development began at the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering in 2014 with support from the NRG COSIA CARBON XPRIZE, philanthropic foundations, private and corporate sponsors, as well as government agencies including the U.S. Department of Energy.

“I am absolutely thrilled that UCLA CarbonBuilt has won the NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE,” said Gaurav N. Sant, professor of civil and environmental engineering and of materials science and engineering at UCLA Samueli. “As a third-generation civil engineer, I have been fascinated with the role that construction has played in solving societal challenges. To have spent the last decade finding a solution to mitigate the carbon footprint of concrete construction with a phenomenal team, and to have won the NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE, doing so is an ultimate dream come true,” shared Sant, who is also the director of the UCLA Institute for Carbon Management and founder of CarbonBuilt, Inc., a private company set up to commercialize the pioneering CO2 utilization technology.

“Concrete is one of the world’s most abundant materials, and a crucial frontier in the fight against climate change. The production of Portland cement, the key ingredient that binds concrete and gives it its strength, accounts for approximately seven percent of global CO2 emissions,” says Marcius Extavour, vice president of climate and energy at XPRIZE. “Concrete is also a material that can be readily made using CO2 as an input, which the winning teams have demonstrated really clearly. Now, deploying their technology to avoid and reduce emissions from heavy industry will be a gamechanger for global decarbonization in the fight against climate change.”

Additionally, the USD $20M NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE awarded X-Factor awards to Carbon Upcycling-NLT and Carbon Corp, two finalists that created excellent products and compelling demonstrations that deserved recognition. Carbon Upcycling-NLT, based in Calgary, produces nanoparticles with applications in various industries, particularly concrete, construction and plastics. Carbon Corp, who relocated from the USA to Calgary, transforms CO2 into carbon nanotubes, with applications such as lightweight, ultra-strong and cost-effective replacements for metals; stronger cement-composite building materials; and expanding applications in industrial catalysis, batteries, and nanoelectronics.

“Combating climate change is one of the most important challenges we face–requiring us to rethink, reimagine, and embrace new ideas,” said Jeanne-Mey Sun, NRG vice president, sustainability. “Competitions, such as the NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE, are opportunities to bring innovators together to develop solutions for the monumental task of decarbonizing our economy. As we recognize today’s winners, we celebrate all of the teams’ hard work and perseverance in this new era in carbon technology.”

“Through COSIA, Canada’s oil sands industry has been proud to support this initiative which has proven that capturing CO2 emissions from natural gas and coal combustion and converting such into usable products can be a game-changer in broader emissions reduction efforts. With breakthrough technologies like these, we can tackle the major causes of climate change while also responsibly meeting global energy demand,” says Wes Jickling, chief executive of COSIA. “As one of many projects underway within COSIA, the competition is a shining example of how innovative cleantech can transform our world. Our hats are off to all the competitors, and we congratulate the winners.”

“Congratulations to XPRIZE winner, CarbonBuilt. The research they’re doing at the Integrated Test Center proves Wyoming is leading the way on carbon capture and utilization,” said U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY). “Last summer, I saw their groundbreaking work firsthand, as they transformed captured carbon dioxide into concrete. CarbonBuilt’s technology will help create new markets and jobs in Wyoming and across the country, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”

“Congratulations to CarbonCure who’s already transforming the concrete industry, and to the rest of the contestants in advancing a carbon-tech sector full of opportunity. It has been a privilege for the Alberta Carbon Conversion Technology Centre to host the NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE”, says Laura Kilcrease, CEO of Alberta Innovates. “The ACCTC is open for business and we welcome new technology developers to experience the ACCTC as they blaze paths to a net zero future.”

Each grand prize winner will be awarded a USD $7.5 million prize purse and will receive their winnings within 60 days. Those interested in learning more can do so at carbon.xprize.org

About XPRIZE

XPRIZE, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, is the global leader in designing and implementing innovative competition models to solve the world’s grandest challenges. Active competitions include the $20 Million NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE, the $10 Million Rainforest XPRIZE, the $10 Million ANA Avatar XPRIZE, the $5 Million IBM Watson AI XPRIZE, $5 Million XPRIZE Rapid Reskilling, $5 Million XPRIZE Rapid COVID Testing, and $500K Pandemic Response Challenge. For more information, visit xprize.org.

About NRG

NRG is the leading integrated power company in the U.S., built on the strength of our diverse competitive electric generation portfolio and leading retail electricity platform. A Fortune 500 company, NRG creates value through best in class operations, reliable and efficient electric generation, and a retail platform serving residential and commercial businesses. Working with electricity customers, large and small, we implement sustainable solutions for producing and managing energy, developing smarter energy choices and delivering exceptional service as our retail electricity providers serve almost three million residential and commercial customers throughout the country. More information is available at www.nrg.com. Connect with NRG Energy on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @nrgenergy.

About COSIA

Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA) is a unique alliance of oil sands producers focused on accelerating environmental performance in Canada’s oil sands. COSIA enables collaboration and innovation between big thinkers from industry, government, academia and the wider public to improve measurement, accountability and performance in the oil sands across our environmental priority areas of greenhouse gases, land, water and tailings. COSIA members search the world for solutions to our toughest problems. And we have some of the best minds on the planet working on technologies to enable responsible and sustainable development. To date, COSIA has shared over 1,025 distinct environmental technologies and innovations that cost over $1.6 billion to develop. Visit COSIA at www.cosia.ca. Follow us on LinkedInFacebook and Twitter.

About Alberta Innovates

Alberta Innovates is the province’s largest and Canada’s first public research and innovation organization. For a century we have worked closely with the researchers, companies and entrepreneurs who built Alberta’s industries and strengthened communities. Today we are pivoting to the next frontier of opportunity in Alberta and worldwide, driven by emerging technologies across sectors. We provide seed funding, business advice, applied research and technical services, along with avenues for partnership and collaboration. Learn how Alberta Innovates.

Contacts

Caden Kinard, XPRIZE
caden.kinard@xprize.org

Two French architects who ‘never demolish’ buildings just won the Pritzker Prize

Read the full story in Fast Company.

Anne Lacaton and Jean-Philippe Vassal focus on adaptive reuse, finding creative ways to reconfigure materials and avoid waste.

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