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.
The Bright Minds Challenge was created to help Unsung Heros put their solutions into practice. We’re convinced that the technologies we need to get to 100% renewable energy already exist. The Challenge is designed to provide support to accelerate the scaling up of solutions.
There are many reasons to take part in the Challenge – below we have boiled it down to our Top 5!
1) Your idea remains your idea – we just help to make it bigger
You retain your IP and full control of your solution. The Bright Minds Challenge has been developed to help people with a patent-ready renewable energy solution (solar and/or energy storage) to connect to the skills, expertise and tools they need to scale their business. This is your idea – we want to help you and your solution succeed.
2) You get $100,000 worth of expertise to enable your solution to take off
The Bright Minds Challenge winner will gain access to and benefit from an unprecedented 500 hours of tailored support worth upwards of $100,000, from industry-leading experts in their field. The grand prize will provide the boost to get your solution into the marketplace, where it can make a real difference. Hear from product innovators and pioneers at Sungevity talking about how support like this could help.
3) The prize is tailored for you
The Bright Minds Challenge is about supporting YOU. Your idea, your technology and your IP. The winner will receive a tailored package of support based on their unique business needs. Whether you need help understanding the complex regulatory environment, honing your business model, creating a marketing strategy or lab time to refine your prototype, we have a multidisciplinary team of experts around the world lined up to help you solve your key challenges.
4) Get in front of top industry leaders – who know what doors will open?
By taking part in the Challenge, you will get access to leading figures in solar and energy storage today. The Bright Minds Challenge has gathered together people and organisations with a deep and broad knowledge of solar and energy storage around the world that are committed to achieving 100% renewable energy this century. This is your opportunity to access the best and brightest in the industry. Get ready to turbo-charge your solution!
Our Partners include DSM, Accenture, Chinese National Centre of Supervision and Inspection on Solar Photovoltaic Products Quality (CPVT), Greentown Labs, The National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Oxford University, Solaraid, Solarcentury and Sungevity.
If selected for the Top 3 you will have the opportunity to present your solution to our influential panel of judges including:
- Rachel Bartels, Managing Director Chemicals and Natural Resource Practice, Accenture
- Danny Kennedy, California Clean Energy Fund
- Rob Van Leen, Chief Innovation Office, DSM
- Dr Jeremy Leggett, Founding Director, Solarcentury
- Emily L. Reichert, Chief Executive Office, Greentown Labs
And don’t worry we will cover any travel costs to the jury meetings.
5) Enable your solution to make a real difference
Finally, and most importantly, it is clear that addressing human-made climate change is critical, because this planet-sized problem potentially impacts every aspect of life for every living creature on earth. We believe that existing technologies – especially when scaled up together – represent one of the best shots at taking carbon out of the power grid and thus tackling climate change.
You’ve already done the hard work. You’ve put in your time in the classroom, in the field, in the labs. You’ve prototyped your idea. The science is sound and the potential is huge.
We’re here to support you get your solution into the marketplace, where it can make a real difference.