Royal DSM, Sungevity, SolarAid and partners are challenging people to create solutions that will accelerate the adoption of renewable energy through the Bright Minds Challenge. The winners will gain valuable exposure for their projects with the winner receiving 500 hours (equivalent to more than $100,000) of commercial, technical and mentoring support to fast-track the development of their prototypes into applicable commercial and residential solar markets.
"The Bright Minds Challenge aims to accelerate the transition to renewable energy and fits perfectly with DSM's strategic drive to develop sustainable solutions that help combat climate change. We are proud that the member companies are jointly embracing the challenge to capture the power of renewable energy. This collaboration drives radical innovation and attempts to unlock the potential of bright minds around the world. Together we will offer these scientists the opportunity to take their solutions to the next step for the benefit of society as a whole,” said DSM Chief Innovation Officer Rob van Leen.
The challenge is open to anyone who has a relevant green solution that is prototyped, patent-ready and ready scale up. Royal DSM and partners will hold a public vote to determine the top 10 submissions. Then a panel of experts will narrow the field to the top three. The winner will be announced in June of 2017.
"The Bright Minds Challenge is an excellent idea which aims to scale up solar power and energy storage across the world. We have seen some great innovations in the last 10 years of SolarAid and helped drive down the cost of solar light in Africa from $25 to $5, but there are still more gains to be made. To overcome the combined threats of climate change and energy security and make clean, affordable, renewable energy available to everyone we need to innovate like never before. If you've got an idea please join the challenge and help make solar energy ubiquitous,” said Jeremy Leggett, Chairman of SolarAid.
Collaboration between large tech firms, solar developers and researchers in similar competitions is an emerging trend. For example, in 2014 Google and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) held the Little Box Challenge and plans to award $1 million to the contestant who designs the most efficient power-dense inverter that had the ability to convert 50 watts of DC power into AC power within a square inch.
Likewise, in 2015 a similar competition from the Clean Energy Trust called the Clean Energy Challenge offered a total of $1 million to more than 60 startups that focused on renewable energy technology development. In all, the Clean Energy Trust has issued $2.2 million which helped to create more than 300 jobs since the challenge was launched in 2011.Tweet