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Finalists announced for Earth Awards 2010

19th August 2010 Print

Artificial foam which captures and converts the sun’s energy more effectively than living organisms and earth tiles which empower people to build their own sustainable homes are in the running for a global design award backed by world-leading entrepreneurs.

University of Cincinnati Professor’s David Wendell and Carlo Montemagno designed the Photosynthetic Foam while Cambridge Professor Michael Ramage designed Sustainable Shells. Both innovations have been selected from over 500 entries to be shortlisted in The Earth Awards 2010. They and four other finalists will now pitch to top CEOs at an Innovators Summit in London, to secure funding to bring their designs to market.

Judged by the world’s top creative thinkers, The Earth Awards identifies viable ideas from fashion to architecture and consumer products, and marries them with investors to provide a real solution to improving quality of life. It is the only global innovation awards where the aim is to give the designer the means to enter the worldwide consumer marketplace.

Professor Wendell’s manufactured system of photosynthesis means that all captured energy is converted to sugars, unlike natural photosynthesis in plants where a large amount of energy is used to maintain the life of the organism. In short, the foam is a far more efficient and versatile energy production platform.

Sustainable Shells enables buildings to be created with natural resources by local people, in the world’s poorest and most remote areas. It is the first time that ancient tile-vaulting has been fused with earth to create a building which can be replicated across the developing world, removing the need to import skills or materials.

These ideas highlight the groundbreaking innovation needed to make The Earth Awards shortlist. Having won $10,000 to help take their concepts to market, the following six finalists will now go head to head to compete for a total investment of $50,000 at The Earth Awards ‘Investors to Innovators’ Summit on 16th September.

Sustainable Shells by Michael Ramage, University of Cambridge, England
Polli-Bricks by Arthur Huang, MINIWIZ Sustainable Energy Development Co, Taiwan
Kayu Sunglasses by Jamie Lim, Kayu, USA
AskNature by Sherry Ritter, The Biomimicry Institute, USA
Artificial Photosynthetic Foam by David Wendell, University of Cincinnati, USA
The Butterfly Houses by Andreas Grontvedt Gjertsen, TYIN Tengestue, Norway

Earth Awards judge and design champion Terence Conran comments: “Intelligent design has the power to improve, inspire and shape people’s lives. The Earth Awards’ celebration of sustainable innovation reinforces how cutting-edge ideas can help to build a better world and also be a commercial success on a global scale.”

Fellow Selection Committee member Ira Magaziner, Chairman, William J. Clinton Foundation, adds: “Nothing is impossible. And nothing beats the power of partnership in realising dreams. That is the fundamental principle of The Earth Awards: to unite the world’s greatest innovators with the business people and investors who can make their designs a reality. This is a unique partnership – an opportunity for us to discover some great ideas and see these brought to life for the benefit of all.”

Selected finalists will be showcased at HRH The Prince of Wales’ Start initiative to inspire people to build a better future. They will appear at Start’s ‘A Garden Party to Make a Difference’, in Clarence House, Marlborough House and Lancaster House gardens from 8th-19th September 2010. Finalists will pitch their innovation to an audience of leading CEOs and investors at a Summit held in partnership with the Financial Times at Marlborough House, on 16th September.

Nicole Ting Yap, Founder of The Earth Awards, concludes: “The Earth Awards is about providing an aspirational platform for consumer-driven ideas, which can challenge designers to build a new economy. We are thrilled to have received such innovative ideas which have real potential to drive positive change, and look forward to showcasing them at HRH The Prince of Wales Garden Party on 16th September.”

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