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First Winners of Energy Innovation Prize announced

Two clean energy projects from St Lucia are the first of an expected 25 awards which will be made in the 2009 IDEAS Energy Innovation Contest for Latin America and the Caribbean.

The entrepreneurs have won a total of $280,000 USD to develop innovative technologies to meet the challenges of energy access and climate change.

The winners were announced at a press conference on Monday 12th October in St Lucia, where the contracts were signed with Sarah Adams, CEO of GVEP International, and Pablo Rosenthal, Senior Advisor in GTZ.

Bob Hathaway, a marine engineer, will receive $83,000 USD over two years to build an indirectly charged solar ferry. The technology could significantly reduce the environmental damage to the eco system of the island produced by traditional stroke engines. Read more about this project >

Ken Aldonza, Director of Applied Renewables Caribbean, and two colleagues will receive $198,000 USD over two years to develop a plant using excess and waste bananas to produce ethanol for use in transport fuel on the island. The plant will be totally self-sufficient in energy. Read more about this project

Among the other innovative project ideas to be awarded over the coming months will be: the production of bio-ethanol from cheese waste for the small dairy industry in Chile; the development of turbines for slow moving rivers serving remote communities in the Amazon; and setting up pico-hydro franchises for rural areas of Honduras.

The IDEAS contest which is jointly sponsored by GVEP International, GTZ, the Inter-American Development Bank and the Korean Government was launched in March. It generated more than 1000 proposals for improving energy efficiency and expanding access to renewable energy with entries from nearly every country in Latin America and the Caribbean. A jury made up of representatives from each of the sponsoring entities reviewed the proposals and selected the best based on criteria that included innovation, financial sustainability and replicability.

Over the next two years, the IDEAS contest sponsors will work closely with the winners, providing technical advice and access to other experts, institutions and possible financial partners. The goal is to enable the winners to turn their idea into commercially viable solutions to the energy problems facing the region.

Category/ies:Regional News.
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