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$100,000 grants up for grabs for carbon-cutting innovation

Monday, 27 August 2012 | By Michelle Hammond

Carbon-conscious start-ups have been targeted by GE’s new Ecomagination Challenge, which will see five winners awarded $100,000 cash, and a potential capital pledge of up to $10 million.


The challenge was launched by multinational firm GE in collaboration with Cleantech Ventures, CVC Limited, Greenhouse Cleantech, MH Carnegie & Co and Southern Cross Venture Partners.


It is part of GE’s ‘ecomagination’ initiative, which has promised to build innovative clean energy technologies, and will help fund the most promising ideas.


The Ecomagination Challenge is a call to action for Australian and New Zealand businesses, entrepreneurs, innovators and students with breakthrough ideas for reducing carbon emissions.


The challenge will provide each of the five winning entrants with $100,000 in cash. Entrants may also be offered the opportunity to develop a commercial relationship with GE.


This could include a GE capital pledge of up to $10 million, leveraged by complementary investment from GE’s partners, to be invested into promising start-ups and technology entrants.


Other commercial relationships with GE could come in the form of validation, distribution, development and growth.


“The theme for the GE Ecomagination Challenge in Australia and New Zealand is low carbon solutions,” spokesperson Ziqi Jin says.


“We are looking to discover globally applicable, breakthrough technologies, products and services across five broad categories.”


Those categories are as follows:


1. Clean energy generation

    Renewable and low carbon generation technologies including solar, wind, hydro, wave, tidal, geothermal, biomass, cogeneration, clean coal, and carbon capture and storage.  


    2. Network efficiency

      Technologies which improve energy grid or network efficiency including energy storage, smart meters, smart grid, network enhancements, and demand-side management for energy, water and other resources.


      3. Low carbon transport fuels

        Alternative fuels technologies for transportation including electrification, natural gas and biofuels.  


        4. Low carbon products

          Novel products, whose use results in a demonstrable reduction in carbon emissions, including vehicles, appliances, motors, lighting products and enabling technologies.  


          5. Low carbon services

            Novel services, business models or ICT solutions that generate a demonstrable reduction in carbon emissions.

            GE representatives, along with GE’s partners and other individuals with specialist experience, will form an evaluation committee to determine which applicants will receive grants.


            It will evaluate each entry based on merit, reliance on science and engineering fundamentals, innovative character, and potential to create significant carbon emissions reduction.


            The committee will also consider commercial feasibility in light of “applicable market dynamics”.


            Separately, GE and its partners will consider whether to pursue commercial relationships with any of the challenge entrants.


            Submissions are due by November 30. Entries should include a clear, detailed proposal describing an innovative, original home energy technology or process. A video is optional.