Inspirational ideas in Prince William’s £50m green contest

 In News

Earthshot prize logoA £50m competition launched by Prince William to find solutions to environmental problems has produced some inspirational and novel ideas.

That’s the view of Midlands energy expert Ron Fox after the 15 finalists in the Duke of Cambridge’s Earthshot prize were revealed last week.

“There are a lot of people who think climate change is too big a problem for them and it is up to world government to come up with solutions,” said Ron. “But these individuals and groups prove that everyone’s ideas can have wide-reaching benefits for both humans and nature.”

Prince William’s Earthshot Prize was inspired by the Moonshot project set up by former US President John F Kennedy who challenged the world in 1962 to put a man on the moon within a decade. America achieved that in 1969.

In the inaugural competition this year 750 entries from 86 countries were submitted and this was brought down by a panel of experts to 15 with three in each of the five categories.

The category winners to be announced at a ceremony on Sunday, October 17 will each receive a grant worth £1 million, plus 14 global companies have agreed to support them develop their ideas.

The contest, which included no UK finalists this year, will be run every year until the end of the decade with Prince William and a judging panel selecting the finalists

“My favourite entry,” said Ron, of Noreus Ltd on the University of Keele Science and Innovation Park in North Staffordshire, “is from a 14-year-old Indian girl, Vinisha Umashankar, in Tamil Nadu.

“India has ten million ironing carts whose vendors burn charcoal to heat the irons to press clothes for millions of people every day. Vinisha has designed a solar powered ironing cart which will both cut carbon emissions and improve air pollution.”


The finalists are:

1 Restore and protect our nature:

DRC-based Pole Pole Foundation’s farming projects to alleviate poverty and to prevent poaching.

Costa Rica paying citizens to protect forests, plant trees, and restore ecosystems.

Switzerland-based Restor’s “Google Maps for nature” to connect people with major scientific datasets.

2 Clean our air:

China’s environmental database, Blue Map, to check local air and water quality and report polluters.

India-based Takachar’s portable technology to convert agricultural waste into fuel and fertilizer.

Vinisha Umashankar’s solar-powered ironing cart.

3 Revive our oceans:

Coral Vita from the Bahamas – growing coral on land then replanting it in the oceans.

US-based Pristine Seas has established 24 marine reserves across an area over twice the size of India.

Australia’s Living Seawalls to support marine species.

4 Build a waste-free world:

Milan’s Food Waste Hubs recovering food from supermarkets and canteens for those in need.

Kenya-based Sanergy converting solid waste into fertilizer.

Japanese WOTA helping people reuse wastewater.

5 Fix our climate:

Enapter’s electrolyser to turn renewable electricity into green hydrogen.

Nigerian company Reeddi Capsules offers affordable solar-powered batteries for hire to households.

Bangladesh-based SOLshare’s first peer-to-peer energy exchange network.


For more environmental ideas for the home call Ron on 0845 474 6641.

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