Six start-ups compete for grand prize of 500,000 euros

The finalists of the Postcode Lotteries Green Challenge 2020 have been announced: six start-ups from Germany, The Netherlands, Great Britain, Norway and Sweden.

Made of Air from Germany, Orbisk from the Netherlands, SoluBlue and Jiva Materials from Great Britain, N2 Applied from Norway and Enjay from Sweden have been announced as the finalists of the Postcode Lotteries Green Challenge 2020. This international competition in the field of sustainability innovation has been organised annually since 2007 to help contribute to a greener world, in line with the mission of the Postcode Lottery.

The competition encourages and supports green start-ups in taking their business to the next level. With their place in the final, the six finalists are guaranteed to win at least 100,000 euros each. In the final round in January, an international expert jury will select the start-up to win the first prize of €500,000 and a runner-up, winning €200,000. In addition to the prize money, all finalists will also receive six months of expert coaching to optimise their business opportunities.

The finalists of the Postcode Lotteries Green Challenge 2020 are:

Carbon negative, thermoplastic materials replace fossil plastics
Made of Air (Germany) is a carbon-negative, climate-positive materials company. The mission of CEO Allison Dring and her team is to transform waste biomass into high-value, carbon negative, thermoplastic materials for industrial use. Made of Air’s carbon negative thermoplastic materials replace fossil plastics in manufactured products. The start-up pushes the boundaries of materials and production, helping to build economies that actively reverse climate change.

A food waste monitor to reduce waste
Orbisk (Netherlands) developed the world’s first automated food waste monitor. Olaf van der Veen, co-founder and managing director of the Dutch start-up, has set himself the goal, together with his team, to provide the solution to one of the world’s biggest problems: the annual waste of 1.3 billion tons of food. The Orbisk food waste monitor, powered by AI image recognition technology, automatically registers and weighs food waste. The product can fit in any restaurant kitchen and can be used by everyone. A clear and detailed report of the collected data enables restaurants to change processes and reduce waste significantly. Using Orbisk’s solution they can reach food waste reduction levels of up to 70%.

A fully recyclable Printed Circuit Board substrate
Jiva is a UK-based start-up that has developed a patented, competitively priced and fully recyclable Printed Circuit Board substrate called Soluboard®. Director Jack Herring and his team found out that 18 billion square metres of PCBs are manufactured every year and the rising value of precious metals means that efficient recycling of PCBs is a necessity. The organic structure of Soluboard® means the natural fibres can be separated in hot water. This allows the electronic components to be removed efficiently for recycling.

A sustainable alternative to plastic and bioplastic food packaging
Ayca Dundar, CEO and Co-Founder of SoluBlue (UK) together with her team has developed a sustainable alternative to plastic and bioplastic food packaging, which extends shelf-life and reduces food waste. SoluBlue packaging looks and feels like plastic, but is breathable and hydrophilic, absorbing excess moisture from food and preventing mould growth. Not only does the packaging extend shelf life – in SoluBlue packaging, food gradually dries over months, providing a second life for fresh food in cooking, or as animal feed. Being made from seaweed, the material is bio digestible, making it safe for marine life. The packaging is also home compostable, biodegrading as quickly as the food it contains."

Production of fertilizer from renewable energy, air and manure
Henk Aarts, Business Development Director of N2 Applied (Norway) and his team has developed a technology that enables local production of fertiliser from liquid organic substrates such as slurry or digestate with air and electricity. The technology adds nitrogen from the air into the liquid substrate and increases the nitrogen content. The reaction stops the loss of ammonia and reduces GHG-emissions, making it an efficient and sustainable fertiliser, and creating a more circular farm system. N2’s scalable process enables fertiliser production to be re-distributed to the end-user, the farmer – cutting long and expensive value chains, and reducing the need for chemical fertiliser production based on fossil gas or coal. The solution also provides on-farm emission reductions of methane and ammonia, as well as odour.

A profitable solution for energy recycling from restaurant ventilation
Jesper Wirén is founder and Business Development Director of Enjay, a Swedish cleantech company, specialized in energy efficiency. The company´s first solution, Lepido, is the first in the world to offer profitable energy recovery from restaurant ventilation. The innovation enables to reduce the annual emissions of CO2 by 500 million metric tons, one full percent of the projected world-wide CO2 emissions by 2050. Lepido is maintenance-free, so every kilowatt-hour of recycled energy represents a financial saving as well.

Winner 2019
Last year, the Swedish start-up Swedish Algae Factory won the first prize. It grows a special type of algae that is used to make solar panels more efficient and can also be used as a natural ingredient for personal care products. Sofie Allert, Co-Founder and CEO of Swedish Algae Factory: “The award opened several doors around Europe and was a huge boost for me and everyone working at the company. This is proof that people believe in what we do. And the award was a valuable contribution to our first larger facility that we have now started to build.