The Dutch green start-up PHYSEE is the winner of the tenth edition of the Postcode Lottery Green Challenge. Co-founder Willem Kesteloo impressed the international jury during the finals in Amsterdam with his PowerWindow. In the presence of Her Royal Highness Queen Máxima he was handed a cheque for €500,000 to further develop and market his product.
The runner-up prize of €200,000 went to green entrepreneur Zhengliang Wu of Green City Solutions from Germany. The other three finalists were given a pleasant surprise as well as they all received €100,000. This is a once-only occasion to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the sustainability competition.
There were 292 entries this year from all over the world. Five of these achieved a place in the finals and were given the opportunity to pitch their plan today to the jury, the public and the press. Willem Kesteloo (28) took on: Ioniqa Technologies from the Netherlands. Green City Solutions from Germany, HomeBiogas from Israel and Steama.co from the United Kingdom/Kenya.
PHYSEE had reached the finals with the PowerWindow. The PowerWindow is a fully transparent energy-generating glass. A coating collects light that would normally be reflected, and solar cells in the frame convert it to electricity. In dense cities, commercial buildings can account for most carbon emissions.
PowerWindows can supply half the energy for a renovated commercial building and up to 100% for a new building. Optional tinted panes for hot climates produce more electricity while cutting cooling costs. The winner was praised by the jury because his technology adds value to a component every building needs. The prize money could help the company take the next step and gain validation in a conservative market.
Willem Kesteloo: “This is great! We couldn’t have imagined this in our wildest dreams to be proclaimed winner of this competition. The €500,000 prize money will give our start-up a tremendous boost. The road leading from the lab to the market is a long one. Now we can expand our production capacity and acquire more knowledge for the purpose of making this a greener world.”
Their story in a video.
Powerwindow: a fully transparent energy-generating glass
Runner-up prize for Green City Solutions
Zhengliang Wu of Green City Solutions from Germany was awarded the runner-up prize of €200,000 by the jury. Green City Solutions invented the CityTree. The moss cultures in each 4 x 3 metre CityTree installation “eat” as much fine-dust air pollution as 275 trees. Each unit takes 1% of the space and 5% of the costs of a real tree. Smart sensors facilitate monitoring and control, and solar panels and rainwater retention minimise maintenance. The “tree” could help cities meet pollution-reduction targets where other technologies have failed, and even reduce temperatures.
The €100,000 prizes went to green start-ups: Ioniqa Technologies from the Netherlands, HomeBiogas from Israel and Steama.co from the United Kingdom. Read more about their inventions here.
International jury of experts
This year, the international jury was led by José María Figueres, chairman of the Board of Directors of Rocky Mountain Institute-Carbon War Room and former president of Costa Rica: “Worldwide, increasing attention is given to climate change and although governments work on laws and regulations, it is the green entrepreneurs that can really make a difference by actually offering sustainable alternatives. Today’s finalists offer unique solutions. The jury is very impressed with their enthusiasm and creativity to reduce CO2 emissions. We expect to hear more from them in the future!”
Launch of the Postcode Lottery Green Challenge Fund
The event also included the launch of the Postcode Lottery Green Challenge Fund. By investing in potential winners and (former) competition finalists, the Postcode Lottery Green Challenge Fund can help them to grow into successful enterprises that can really make a difference in the world. After an introduction to the market, additional capital is often required for upscaling. The risk capital currently available on the market is primarily geared towards companies that have already passed their start-up phase. This is an indication that the initial phase is simply too risky for many investors. The fund is managed by the DOEN Foundation, which also provides guidance for the winners.