The Journey is the world’s largest climate innovation summer school. It brings together students and professionals from all over the world. The program is offering a combination of academic study and real-world business experience with the aim of creating the climate change leaders of tomorrow.
Held in 18 locations across Europe, this year’s programme is Climate-KIC’s largest summer school and is divided into eight separate groups. Students from each group will journey across three different European locations, gaining insight and experience from a selection of Europe’s best universities and most innovative businesses. More than 300 students in 18 locations in Europe have enrolled.
In Zurich, over 700 candidates submitted their applications. After a 2-stage application process 38 applicants from 24 nationalities were selected. Among them are 16 candidates from ETH Zurich, University St. Gallen, University Bern, Graduate Institute Geneva. The candidates were selected based on the criteria of: entrepreneurial interest, motivation, climate change background and extra-curricular activities.
Capturing CO2 from air with the world’s first commercial carbon removal technology
Besides the constant multi-national exchange and the site tours, participants will visit the first commercial plant on Thursday. The plant was installed by the former Climate-KIC startup Climeworks. The plant the world's first commercial plant that filters CO2 from the ambient air: 18 modular collectors suck in large quantities of air. A special filter saturates itself with the gas. Pure CO2 is generated during the heating of this filter at 100 degrees, the heat being obtained from a waste incinerator on the roof of which the collectors stand. The CO2 is then sold 400 meters further to a commercial greenhouse, which uses this as a highly efficient fertilizer. 900 tonnes of "Climate poison" are converted into a raw material every year.
By 2025, Climeworks plans to filter and convert one percent of global CO2 emissions using this scalable technology. An example of an outstanding climate innovation in Switzerland, which is intended to inspire the participants of the Journey.
The Journey will culminate in a pitch challenge where students pitch their ideas for solutions to real-world climate related issues. Based on their own creativity and climate change knowledge, students must present a detailed business plan to a judging panel consisting of venture capitalists, start-up entrepreneurs and scientists.
Zurich sets an example in climate change
Zurich is home to one of Climate-KIC’s core partner focused on education and research: ETH Zurich. Additionally Zurich wants to develop into a 2000-Watt society: a city with a high quality of life, which simultaneously uses energy and resources in a sustainable manner.
In 2008, Zurich committed on this society and on sustainability in a referendum. The goal is to reduce energy consumption by 2050 to 2500 watts per person and CO2 emissions to one tonne per person per year. These ambitious climate protection plans and the presence of world leading research institutes, such as the ETH Zurich, make the city an attractive location for cleantech companies and therefore a great location for cleantech ideas.
Picture: The journey Zurich team