A climate crisis and energy transition. A changing financial landscape with implications for the prosperity of millions and infrastructure and industries getting ready for the future. Talking about massive challenges. To meet them, we need big ideas which is what these innovations offer. That is why they earned a place in the finals of Generation 3 of the Blue Tulip Awards.
For months the judges and experts of Blue Tulip Awards have been scrutinising ideas to see which can have the biggest impact. They are not only looking for which product has the most potential to form a success, but also how it conforms to the UN Sustainable Development Goals like security, sustainability and equality. Innovations in the themes of Climate & Energy, Finance & Prosperity and Industry & Infrastructure put in their best effort to reach the last stage. These made the final cut.
Here are the ten top international startups shortlisted for the 2021 Future Hamburg Award
Top 5 finalists Climate & Energy
- Wasser 3.0 by Wasser 3.0 GmbH
Microplastics have many sneaky ways to end up in the water and can have a long-lasting but devastating effect. Wasser 3.0 has a three-step plan to get rid of it. They use high-tech materials and low-tech processes to detect harmful plastics in water, offer tailored solutions to remove them and offer ways to recycle. The result is clean water, a closed-loop in a circular economy, and zero waste.
- Forest Wool by Forest Wool B.V.
Wool from the forest. So…from bears or something? Deer? Boar? Not exactly. This innovation revolves around creating textile from pine needles. These needles are an oft-forgotten byproduct of the timber industry and generally go to waste. Forest Wool has developed a way to turn leftovers from the 600 million pine trees that are cut yearly in the EU into 80 million square meters of fabric, offering a sustainable alternative to cotton.
- NaturBeads, Plant-Based Biodegradable Microbeads by NaturBeads
When the polluting nature of cosmetics is discussed, it’s mostly about the plastics in packaging. But the inside of the actual cosmetics can contain almost as much plastic, in the form of hard-to-detect microplastics. By sourcing these microbeads from a natural material, NaturBeads solves a tough problem for many companies and prevents a lot of nasty pollution along the way.
- Biodegradable Plastic from Waste Streams by Paques Biomaterials
Paques specialises in biological wastewater and gas treatment and does so in an innovative way that works on three fronts. Their product is a biodegradable plastic that, once discarded in nature, will be fully taken care of by bacteria. This plastic is made from industrial wastewater and organic waste, thus ensuring a revenue stream for waste processors, as well as finding an eco-friendly way to produce an alternative to plastic.
- Paper Biofuel Cells by BeFC
Whether it is health devices, transport monitoring tools or swanky IoT gadgets: they all need electricity. Not much, but even the smallest battery puts a strain on the environment once it is discarded. BeFC has developed fuel cells made from paper and enzymes, offering a fully biological, sustainable and environmentally-friendly method of generating energy as an alternative to the ol’ batteries.
Top 5 finalists Finance & Prosperity
- GTM Box by Global Cloud Payments
Turning the trusty old ATM into a full-service bank where people can take care of all of their financial needs. The GTM Box will convert every ATM to an end-to-end payment terminal. A solution that will decrease costs for banks and ATM networks, make a wide range of financial services available to many communities and offer stores a way to increase foot traffic by offering a bank-in-shop.
- Lumio by Lumio Technologies
This smartphone app gives your finances brains. It makes it easy to connect all financial accounts and offer the user an overview of his or her assets and smart insights in managing finances. With especially young people still left to fend for themselves in the financial jungle, Lumio is created to help them make the most out of their money.
- paywith.glass by Satellite Moving Devices Group B.V.
The technology of the financial industry is running on ancient architecture, built way back in the ’70s. Upgrading that backbone to a more modern standard is a monumental task. Paywith.glass is up to that. The global digital currency infrastructure aims to include all people on earth, even the 1.7 billion without a bank, into the financial system and get it ready for future generations.
- Sentinels by Sentinels
Every second, a tonne of money is being laundered. Literally. Manual checks on money laundering will hardly stop illicit transactions. Sentinels can deep dive into transaction monitoring and generate real-time actionable insights. This will get compliance teams at financial institutions a streamlined workflow allowing them to make efficient and confident decisions and stop the bad guys.
- Speech Analytics AI Software for Quality Assurance Process Automation by Voyc
With the increase of regulatory pressure and consumer distrust, financial service companies have to provide stellar customer service. Voyc offers a way to monitor all of the customer interactions. Voyc employs speech analytics AI to identify interactions of regulatory importance, like complaints and vulnerable customers, allowing the business to do a better job for all customers.
Top 5 finalists Industry & Infrastructure
- Digital Twin by Gradyent
Over half of all energy consumed is heat. The systems providing this heat are generally old and insufficiently controlled, which results in low efficiency. The Digital Twin, developed by Gradyent, ensures complex set-ups with multiple green sources can be optimized. This allows heat loss to be minimised, to lower emissions and business cases for growth become viable.
- Smart Coating to Improve Buildings’ Energy Efficiency by SpectrumLab
Improving the energy efficiency of buildings is a surefire way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. SpectrumLab has developed the first outdoor thermochromic coating for roofs and façades. The material is easy to apply and doesn’t cost too much, while the dynamic optical properties lead to both a reduction in heating and cooling energy consumption over the year.
- Plastic Waste to Affordable Housing by OTHALO
OTHALO upcycles plastic waste wreaking havoc on mother nature, while at the same time providing affordable housing for people needing it most. Their building system uses local plastic waste to build proper housing on an industrial scale. One 60 sqm house uses 8.1 metric tonnes of plastic waste which puts a dent in local waste sites and puts a roof over people’s heads at the same time.
- Safe and Sustainable Batteries for Heavy-Duty Applications by Geyser Batteries
The energy transition is in full swing, but it also comes with its challenges. A lot of green energy is not available 24/7, while energy storage is either still ineffective, unsustainable or expensive. Geyser has developed an ideal energy storage mechanism with a long lifespan and stable high-power characteristics. Their inspiration? The name gives it away: they employ the power of water.
- Vehicle-Based and Drone-Based Inventory Management by XOsight B.V.
Anyone who has ever seen a warehouse of a big company knows: there is a lot of stuff there. Now imagine having to go around all that and manually count every box. Thanks, but no thanks. According to XOSight, 5500 man-hours are spent per year on cycle counting and 5-6 days per year are spent on the wall to wall counting with disrupted operations. That’s why they’ve developed a drone to autonomously zip around the warehouse to scan every label and count every box.
Winners are announced on June 17th
The finalists have one major step to go. On June 17th, the innovators will introduce their innovation during a talk show where they also have to answer challenging questions from the jury. Winners in the three themes are announced during the same event. Register online for the grand finale of Blue Tulip Awards Generation 3 to book yourself a virtual front-row seat and follow the event live.
Here’s how to build one that doesn’t, according to this expert…