Fighting against the harmful effects of climate change can take many different forms. Reducing, reusing, and recycling are helpful and have been staples of eco-friendly campaigns for decades, but with technological advances and an increased urgency we as a species must do more. Recognizing the innovative abilities of UWaterloo students, we partnered with the Interdisciplinary Centre on Climate Change (IC3) to offer the Climate Change Fund for business ideas aimed at solving problems related to climate change.
The interest from environmentally conscious Warriors was inspiring and further displayed the commitment from the UWaterloo community to creating a cleaner future. We received applications from 27 different student led teams working on a wide range of ideas. Applicants were working on developing renewable battery technology, an eco-friendly leather alternative, agricultural software management tools, and a flood risk data analytic tool just to name a few. Of this group of applicants, the top five teams were given the opportunity to meet with some incredible climate change leaders and further discuss their ideas.
Our panel of judges was comprised of highly experienced individuals committed to helping combat the negative effects of global climate change. Judges for the Climate Change Fund included Tom Rand, Ivette Vera-Perez, and Simon Glauser.
Our judges were thoroughly impressed by the student ideas and engaged in deep discussions about the potential and future of their solutions before selecting the two Climate Change Fund Winners. “It often takes a fresh view – sometimes confused with naïveté – and courage to bring critical ideas to the market”, said Tom Rand, “the students who really stood out did all that, but with a good dose of critical thinking. Congratulations to all!”
Managing Director of (IC3), Simon Glauser echoed Tom’s thoughts and celebrated the variety of student solutions he saw:
The Climate Change Fund gave students an opportunity to pursue something that could make a real difference in the climate crisis. The incredible range of ideas in this competition really showcases the determination and skills of UWaterloo students to find solutions to the world’s biggest problems. The top teams – especially our winners – were able to connect their passion and ideas to practical business models. We can’t wait to see these develop further.
Although we could only pick two winners for this competition, based on the participating ideas and dedication to fighting climate change displayed, these solutions will create winners across the globe. With that, we are proud to introduce the winners of the Climate Change Fund!
Climate Change Fund Winners
1st Place: Innowind
Innowind is developing an Airborne Wind Power System to provide electricity to rural homeowners and remote communities around Canada. Their innovative solution aims to decrease reliance on fossil fuel power generation and increase the accessibility of clean power options. Their airborne turbines will be able to capture wind speeds at higher altitudes, generating more power than standard tower turbines, without needing high installation and material costs. To date, they have completed a Mathematical Proof of Concept of Airborne Wind Technology using a mock flight path to predict the power output using aerodynamic relationships and are working on creating a prototype. They plan to use the funding on prototyping and computational simulations to further improve and finalize their design.
Rafat Jami, Ph.D Candidate In Mechanical & Mechatronics Engineering, UWaterloo
Hasan Kazmi, 4B Law and Business at Ted Rogers School of Management, Ryerson
2nd Place: Neutrify
Neutrify aims to empower consumers to shift purchasing behaviours to buy more sustainable food by providing carbon footprint data and recommending alternatives to minimize carbon emission when buying groceries online through our browser extension. Their solution will collect extensive data that allows consumers to see the environmental impact of food products throughout the entire production process. To date, they have built their MVP and plan to use the funding on software development and building databases with the aim of enabling them to conduct pilots.
If you are interested in helping Neutrify further develop their climate change solution, complete this survey and share your opinions.
Iris Guo, 4A Accounting and Financial Management
Sarah Berdowski, 4A Environment and Business
Kent Chin, 4A Global Business and Digital Arts
Shenali Madhanaroopan, Master of Environmental Studies in Sustainability Management
Fighting against the harmful effects of climate change will take a massive global effort and we are excited to see how UWaterloo is using innovation to join the fight. If you have a solution for a climate change problem, connect with us and we will help guide you to contributing to a cleaner future for all! You can stay up to date with all upcoming climate related opportunities on our social media. As always, keep innovating and help UWaterloo become a leader in battling climate change!
This article originally appeared on Concept's website.