The Earthshot Prize: Six Eco-Tech Concepts to Know
A new global prize is helping to scale up concepts that hold major promise in the fight against climate change. The Earthshot Prize will give £1m ($1.38m) to the winners of five goal-orientated categories, including ‘Revive our Oceans’ and ‘Build a Waste-Free World’. Here are some of the inspiring finalists from its inaugural ceremony (October 17).
- Reeddi: This Nigerian clean-teach start-up offers an affordable, shareable, solar-powered energy capsule, on a continent where 250 million people still live without reliable electricity access. Reeddi Capsules, which contain a lithium battery, can be rented out for $0.50 a day and reportedly cut household energy costs by 30%. The company is already powering more than 600 Nigerian households and businesses monthly, but now intends to use its prize money to go global, reaching 12,000 households per month in 2022.
- Blue Map: Bringing more accountability and transparency to air quality – a subject we discuss in Innovating Cleaner Air – China’s first public environmental database allows citizens to view and share real-time data on local air and water quality. The “micro-reporting” filed by Blue Map users (who number some 10 million) also monitors the pollution being emitted by thousands of factories; it’s already forced some of the country’s worst offenders to address their air quality violations.
- Coral Vita: Coral reefs sustain up to 25% of marine life and are crucial to coastal communities around the world. Yet, alarmingly, more than half of them are already dead, and over 90% are on track to die by 2050 (Forbes, 2020).
Enter Coral Vita, a Bahamas-based collective that grows coral on land to replant in oceans. Its micro-fragmenting technique regenerates reefs 50 times faster than traditional (aquatic) methods, while the team has cultivated types of coral better suited to warmer temperatures and rising acidity in the ocean. The company envisions a network of such farms in every nation that has reefs.
- Living Seawalls: Half the world’s coastal cities have erected concrete defences against rising sea levels, often to the detriment of marine species. However, Sydney-based project Living Seawalls makes such defences significantly more hospitable, creating ‘habitat panels’ that can be fitted to existing flood barriers.
By mimicking natural formations like rock pools and mangrove roots, these structures have become home to 36% more marine species than flat concrete seawalls within two years. Cities in the UK, Gibraltar and Singapore have recently installed Living Seawalls, too.
- Wota: The portable water reuse plant by Japanese start-up Wota is a fraction of the size of a typical water treatment plant, and over 50 times more efficient. Capable of turning more than 98% of water waste into clean, fresh water, the plug-in Wota Box is equipped with six activated carbon and reverse-osmosis membrane filters, combined with UV disinfection.
The addition of an autonomous control system and sensors means the water quality is constantly monitored, alerting the user to any maintenance or purification issues. Previously featured in our Water Warriors report, the Wota Box has now been used by more than 20,000 people in Japan after floods, typhoons and earthquakes cut off their usual water supplies.
- SolShare: Based in Bangladesh, the world’s first peer-to-peer energy exchange network not only reduces household emissions by 30%, but also gives poor communities a new source of income. In homes equipped with rooftop solar panels, prosumers can sell on excess electricity stored in their microgrid on the IoT-driven trading platform SolBazaar – boosting some household incomes by 25%.
With 72 grids already in operation nationwide, SolShare also has its sights set on micro-mobility, building solar-charging pit stops to fuel e-rickshaws. For more on prosumer energy initiatives, see The Self-Sufficiency Surge and Surveying the Sustainable Smart City.