Three start-ups awarded at the Zurich Climate Prize 2016

Zum guten Heinrich, Solaxess and SwissShrimp are among the winners of the Zurich Climate Prize. They were awarded CHF25.000 each. Three additional start-up made it to the shortlist. For the next edition a new category prize for climate innovations in the financial industry has been announced.

The interest in the 3rd national call for projects to the Zurich Climate Prize Switzerland & Liechtenstein was huge as known from previous years. A total of 97 projects was entered, 40 of which by start-ups. The independent jury has chosen the winners of three category prizes, a special start-up prize and the main prize.  

Special start-up prize: The uglier, the betterThe start-up “Zum guten Heinrich” utilizes products that the supermarkets would normally throw away: misshapen fruit and vegetables. The young entrepreneurs use these to provide vegetarian and vegan catering menus for companies and private events in the region of Zurich. “In this way, we are making a contribution towards reducing the waste of resources and showing people that imperfect-looking fruit and vegetables are perfectly us-able and also tasty”, said Lukas Bühler, co-founder of the start-up. With its “No Waste” idea, the jury awarded “Zum guten Heinrich” the special prize for start-ups with award money totaling CHF 25,000.

Category prize Buildings & Housing: White photovoltaic modulesSolaxess, a start-up from Neuchatel uses patents of the Centre Suisse d’Electronique et de Microtechnique (CSEM) for a nanotechnology coating which allows producing PV modules in any colors. The cells and connections, today typical for PV modules, become invisible, the surfaces homogeneous. In particular white PV modules constitute a major breakthrough, because they tap huge potential as regards additional surface areas for solar power. Entire facades can in the future be fitted with photovoltaics with the benefit of substituting huge quantities of CO2 with renewable energies.

Category prize Production & Consumption: Fresh shrimps from SwitzerlandSwissShrimp is planning to produce shrimps in Switzerland in collaboration with Schweizer Salinen AG. Schweizer Salinen provides the start-up with salt and waste heat to ensure the wellbeing water temperature of 28 degrees for the farmed shrimps. Local production cuts CO2 emissions by 50 percent. Swiss shrimps are not deep-frozen, a process which would use a lot of energy, and transportation over long distances is no longer needed. The animals are reared without antibiotics or other additives. Construction of the farming facility is to start this year. The first harvest will arrive on our plates in 2018.

At the award ceremony 21 projects on the shortlist were also announced. The shortlist included more startups such as Fluidsolids, dhp technology and Urban Connect. The main prize went to the Energietal Toggenburg support association and the school community Wattwil Krinau for the project “Sustainable Energy Education”.

4th category prize Joachim Masur, CEO of Zurich Switzerland, says: “The wide variety of different projects sent to us this year is truly fascinating. This confirms yet again that we at Zurich Switzerland, are on the right path with the Climate Prize.” At the ceremony Masur also decided spontaneously to add a new, fourth category prize for the next edition of the award. It will be a prize for climate innovations in the financial industry.

Since the first invitation to enter in 2009, around 300 projects have been submitted. The prize, which includes prize money totaling CHF 150,000, awards projects that make a con-tribution towards climate protection. The jury headed by em. ETH professor René Schwarzenbach makes independent decisions about the prize winners. One main prize and three category prizes are awarded, as well as a special prize for start-ups. The winners were announced on November 8, 2016, at the Umwelt Arena in Spreitenbach.

Picture: The "Zum guten Heinrich" team receives the start-up award. (Zurich)