Europe 2019 Finalists

Felipe Villela

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Making agroforestry the future of agriculture

My idea is to make regenerative agroforestry practices mainstream into businesses & industries agricultural production. Conventional monoculture farming practises have been deforesting billions of hectares of land worldwide, and many next-generation farmers are disillusioned. I believe that sustainable farming practises can change this, and my goal is to co-design an agroforestry model farm where, for example, we plant cocoa trees demanded by the company Mars, shaded by palm oil required by Unilever. Shaded cocoa boosts high-quality production, and since palm oil likes a companion plant, a multi-cropping system can benefit two different businesses at the same time. I also aim at creating a portfolio of sustainable commodity packages that companies and businesses can incorporate within their responsible sourcing goals. My focus is on maximising impact within ecosystem services so that we can collectively reserve climate change within industries.

Laila Berning

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A novel way to sterilize medical instruments

Noor Medical’s fundamental vision is to ensure that a reduction in post-surgical infections becomes a reality for the hundreds of millions of patients affected by health-care associated infections and surgical site infections. In African countries, infection is the most frequent complication in surgery and up to 20 percent of women who have a caesarean section develop a postoperative infection. Our pioneering product, the Hybriclave, is a hybrid solar thermal-electric autoclave which can utilize a multitude of energy inputs to achieve medical instrument sterilization conditions - independent of the electricity grid or polluting costly backup generators. Our current product development cycle is focused on integrating second life e-bike batteries with low-cost solar PV panels to provide even more flexibility for medical staff to operate our efficient unit at night in full independence of other thermal energy inputs traditionally used with off-grid autoclave devices, including those that use charcoal or cooking gas.

Eleftherios-Lampros Arapakis

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Fishing for plastic to clean the sea

Enaleia is a social enterprise with a vision to revolutionize the fishing sector by tackling the twin problems of overfishing and plastic pollution in the sea. In the last decades, Europe’s fish stocks have declined by 30 percent, while 8 million metric tons of plastic are thrown into the ocean annually. During our first project, we established Greece’s first professional fishing school, creating 30 jobs and motivating 10 new fishing boats to work with us. Our e-learning training program aims to attract and train more people in professional fishing, and Enaleia has also educated more than 130 fishermen in sustainable fishing. More than 60 participants have so far collected 2.5 tons of marine plastic monthly, which has been upcycled to create new products. We aim to incentivise fishermen to catch less fish and collect more plastic, and our goal is to collect 100 tons of plastic from the sea per year.

Marianna Muntianu

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Making virtual trees real

We have launched the “Plant the Forest” website to reach more people in our reforestation efforts. In future, we are also planning to launch a “Plant the forest” educational gaming project, where your actions in virtual reality lead to tree restoration in real life. You can grow your own virtual forest and, in parallel, new forests planted by our volunteers will emerge. Like in the game, insects, animals and birds will inhabit them. Step-by-step, players will learn about environmental restoration and what they need to do to make animals appear in their forests. Three years ago, we created the ‘’ service so that everyone could plant one’s forest without leaving home. The service sends a certificate and GPS coordinates of the planted trees to the person who has “planted” them. Today, more than 4,000 people and 10 companies have planted over 400,000 trees in 17 regions of Russia Trees are planted to reforest and restore areas that have suffered from wildfires, snow and forest pests.

Patricia Aymà

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Using bacteria for a plastic-free world

We face a severe plastic problem today - thousands of marine animals are dying and if we continue in this way, by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the sea. Our solution is a complete biodegradable bioplastic made by a very special bacterium. We work based on three principles: First, we produce bioplastics using bacteria. Bacteria use bioplastic is an energy reserve – so, we make them produce it constantly. Then, we extract the bioplastic from the bacteria and transform it into biodegradable bioplastic resin, with a multitude of applications. Third, we feed the bacteria with organic waste such as food waste, animal waste or sewage sludge. In this way, at VEnvirotech we move from waste to value for a cleaner world.