Student and start-up ideas were on display as Imperial's tech pioneers exhibited their green ideas to the innovation community.
The Meet the Cleantech Pioneers event took place at the Translation and Innovation Hub (I-Hub) at Imperial’s White City Campus, a dedicated space for turning world-leading research into new products and services.
Investors and business leaders came to meet PhD student innovators and start-up companies supported by Imperial's Climate-KIC Accelerator, who are developing low-energy and sustainable 'clean' technology (cleantech) in London.
Since 2012, the accelerator has created 34 new businesses. Some at Imperial hope to capitalise on this success by establishing a new home for cleantech innovation around White City.
Innovating for Sustainable Development
Six PhD student projects on display were part of the Innovating for Sustainable Development programme.
The programme is part of the Natural Environment Research Council funded Science and Solutions for a Changing Planet (SSCP) and Science of the Environment: Natural and Anthropogenic Processes, Impacts and Opportunities (SCENARIO) Doctoral training partnerships.
Over ten weeks, the programme supported start-ups, corporates, NGOs and policymakers to make contributions to sustainable development by partnering with research students from top institutions including Imperial, the Universities of Reading and Surrey and University College London.
Using the framework of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, the programme covered challenges such as eradicating poverty, being responsible consumers, improving access to clean water and sanitation, and clean and affordable energy.
Professor Joanna Haigh, Director of SSCP, Co-Director of the Grantham Institute, said: “These projects demonstrate the kind of innovation that is so vital if we are to meet the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
"The Innovating for Sustainable Development programme, which brings together our PhD students with experts from policy, business and NGOs, is a brilliant example of the kind of collaboration we need to not only help us understand the issues we face but also begin to find solutions to these environmental challenges."
The projects on display were:
Dedicated to enhancing the water quality of communities in Mumbai, India Acquality uses citizen science to empower citizens to take actions on water quality. The team aims to achieve this by developing a mobile application that lets citizens input data on water quality collected using a kit they provide.
CORE - Centre for Optimising Renewable Energy
By providing training courses on understanding the different potential energy sources, and how they can be combined to provide a reliable energy supply, CORE aims to educate individuals and communities about optimising their available renewable energy options.
Energy Cow will use open-source design to create small-scale plastic pyrolysis machines, and deploy these machines in India, in places severely polluted with plastics. The team will create community interest companies through which local villages can earn income from the plastic they collect.
Cityzen Zero Game
Cityzen Zero is a video game to teach and encourage people to save energy. The game allows players to create a virtual eco-neighbourhood, which calculates how much energy, water, food and other resources are used. The game calculates how much money would be saved as well as how much carbon emissions are reduced.
The SaniGas Hybrid Waste Digester manages sewage and municipal solid waste in small rural communities. Replacing the currently used septic tanks with Anaerobic Digesters would mean waste can be converted into valuable bio-fertiliser that can then be used on cocoa farms to improve crop yields. One small scale digester can handle several tonnes of waste per week.
The event also provided a chance for the investors, funders and business leaders in attendance to network with twenty two of the Climate-KIC Accelerator supported start-up companies all specialising in new green technologies and energy saving ideas.
Start-ups on display included last year’s Althea-Imperial Winner CustoMem, Mayor of London Low Carbon Entrepreneurial Challenge 2016 winner Aeropowder and Cambond, a company turning biomass into adhesives that are free from the carcinogenic compounds called formaldehydes.
Professor Richard Templer, Director of Innovation at the Grantham Institute - Climate Change and the Environment, which now leads the Climate-KIC Accelerator programme at Imperial, said: "For the past five years, Imperial has led an acceleration programme for the start-ups in its role as a founding partner of the Climate-KIC. This has been very successful, with $115 million (USD) raised and over 350 jobs created.
"Looking to the future, we are keen to see the White City Campus as a place where Imperial provides further support for start-up activities and stimulates growth in low-carbon, ‘clean’ technologies. Bringing our start-up community to the I-HUB was I hope the first step on this journey to create a base for the UK’s burgeoning green economy."
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