On 13 June 2017 scientist Ernesto Julio Calvo (Argentina), who invented Inquimae - a new way of extracting lithium that is powered by solar energy and is quicker and cleaner than any existing technology - won the first prize in the Bright Minds Challenge. He will be awarded with 500 hours expert support to accelerate the scaling-up of his solution from DSM and its partners. The prize was handed over by DSM CEO Feike Sijbesma at an award ceremony during the Bright Minds Challenge Grand Final in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
The Bright Minds Challenge initiative has a societal objective and was designed to help scientists around the world with bright solutions to overcome barriers they face in scaling up their ideas and solutions. The challenge is spearheaded by Royal DSM and a global coalition of companies and knowledge institutions active in solar energy and renewable energy storage. With the global Bright Minds Challenge the consortium identified and will help accelerate the scaling of solutions for 100% renewable energy – focusing on solar and energy storage. The consortium provides access to skills, resources and knowledge that are not available anywhere else. Ernesto Julio Calvo receives 500 hours of tailored expert support to fast-forward his solution, Richard Awuor from Cellulike receives 250 hours and Howard Weinstein from Solar Ear gets 125 hours support.
Rob van Leen, DSM Chief Innovation Officer and non-voting Chair of the jury commented: “Climate change is a real issue. We need to address it by working together across the world. Governments, companies, scientists, and NGOs, all have a role to play. No one can do this in isolation. We are proud that the Bright Minds Challenge was embraced by our partners and so many applicants around the world. Together we started a genuine movement for progress to make 100% renewable energy a reality. DSM will continue its efforts to address climate change and stay the course, together with other companies as well as with governments. Business can help delivering on the Paris Agreement ambitions with innovations that will generate jobs while ensuring low-carbon prosperity and future-proof our economies and companies. Ernesto Julio’s project Inquimae is just one great example of creating a brighter future through innovation.”
DSM and partners started the challenge in October 2016. Anyone with a solution relevant to renewable energy - focusing on solar and/or renewable energy storage - could submit an entry. In total 55 entries from 22 countries were submitted. DSM and partners involved the public in the selection of the semi-finalists: over 5,000 people voted on their favorite solution. The semi-finalists received concrete feedback and advice from an expert jury. During the Grand Final today, the three finalists pitched their innovative idea to a high-profile jury of renowned global renewable energy and sustainability leaders.