In June 2017, Professor Ernesto Julio Calvo won the DSM Bright Minds Challenge for Inquimae. Traditionally, lithium - the lifeblood of battery technology - is available through one source and one source only: extraction from giant salt lakes or ‘flats. It’s a very slow process that wastes millions of gallons of water while releasing sodium chloride and magnesium sulfate waste into the air and soil. Or at least, it was. Ernesto’s revolutionary electrochemical method uses solar power to extract the lithium…but with zero environmental impact.
Our Top 10 finalists will personally present their solutions to the Bright Minds Challenge expert jury at Greentown Labs in Massachusetts on April 12. The big day is almost here!
And while our contestants are very busy putting that final touch to their pitches, we’ve explored what the jury members hope for and expect to see from them on the day.
Pieter Wolters, DSM
A balance of entrepreneurial confidence, “can do” energy and the ability to adapt to unexpected challenges.
Jessica Long, Accenture
My expectation is to get a better understanding of the ideas of the finalists and my hope is that with all the expertise brought together we can already help the finalists to accelerate the development of their innovations.
Roebyem Anders, Sungevity
I hope to hear about new technologies that make solar more attractive to the masses. Either by making it super cheap and efficient, improving aesthetics, or by making the solar storage combination affordable.
Sarah Kurtz, NREL
I look forward to seeing the finalists’ enthusiasm and hard work toward projects that can be successful.
Dan Davies, Solarcentury
That the finalists are well prepared and able (in the time available) to get their idea across – focussing on what is innovative, or different from other similar products and why this will move things forward for the industry. Are they filling a gap that well and truly needs filling?
Madelon Janssen, DSM
The finalist should truly believe in their proposals. I hope that the finalists have a good overview of what still needs to be done and where they can use help from partners. Last but not least, I will be reviewing the entrepreneurship, even if small. Have they been able to do inventions? Have they been able to overcome hurdles and persist?