Greenpeace announces the winners of the global innovation challenge

By : |December 13, 2013 0

NEW DELHI, INDIA: Greenpeace announces the winners of its international innovation challenge “A Watershed Moment in India”. The challenge, which was open from September 3rd, 2013, saw participation from over 1500 people across 58 countries, who created 256 innovative designs for renewable energy powered, portable, affordable irrigation systems for small farmers in Bihar.

Eric Jensen was announced the winner of this challenge and was awarded 5000 Euro. Vivek Mundkar was announced the first runner up and won 3000 Euro and Balaz Gabar Nagy was the second runner up winning 1000 Euro.

What made this challenge different was that it was not a secretive RFP process, but instead open, collaborative and transparent. Participants uploaded their designs to a web platform, where they were viewable by the public who commented on all designs and suggested improvements, which the designers took into consideration to iterate and adapt their designs. Everybody benefitted from the community approach, and better solutions evolved from the collaboration.

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Manish Ram, energy campaigner, Greenpeace India said: “We are overwhelmed by the participation that we saw in this challenge. It is encouraging to see so many passionate innovators coming forward to design a solution which is not only environment friendly but also makes economic sense. We need to shift away from dirty fossil fuel and embrace clean energy at a faster pace to ensure a sustainable future and we will need more such solutions.”

Solutions covered a wide spectrum of technologies, from solar PV and solar thermal to waste biogas powered designs and more exotic choices such as hydrogen/fuel cell designs.

The winning designs are all renewable energy powered pumps that fit into the lifestyle and budget of India’s small-scale farmers. In the next project phase, the prototypes will be given to Bihar farmers, who will use them and then share the feedback. This feedback will then be incorporated in the design to further improve it. The optimized designs will then be showcased in a Clean Pumping Fair to manufacturers and distributors.

Ingo Boltz, manager, Greenpeace Innovation Lab said: “Greenpeace is playing the role of the catalyst; we bring together designers, investors, manufacturers and distributors and create the environment were agreements for mass production of the pumps can be made. These pumps will create a new market segment, the clean-powered, portable, cheap pump for small farmers as a viable alternative to expensive, dirty diesel pumps.”

The challenge ran for 10 weeks and the participants got an international platform to discuss, seek guidance and innovate. The submissions were reviewed by a high calibre jury that comprises of experts from the development, agriculture and renewable energy sector.

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