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 jury members are all experts in the renewable energy field and together they represent a broad spectrum of Bright Minds Challenge Partners ready to put their expertise behind the three winning solutions.
But we were curious to explore what they are particularly looking forward to take away from the Bright Minds Challenge and what it means to them personally. Here’s what they had to say!
Pieter Wolters, DSM
Solving the worlds’ energy challenge is existential for life on earth, and too complex to tackle by any single individual, start-up, established company or government. For me, Bright Minds creates a path to join forces and together bring real solutions to the real world.
Jessica Long, Accenture
For me it is a great source of inspiration and I’m looking forward to meeting the finalist. It would be great if I can connect a couple of the finalist to my clients to create impact.
Roebyem Anders, Sungevity
I am looking forward to hearing about creative applications of solar power. I have a dress made out of solar panels, not very efficient but a nice statement that in the future our lives will be powered by sunshine.
Sarah Kurtz, NREL
To me, Bright Minds Challenge is quite special because it provides an opportunity for anyone to participate in the Clean Energy Transition. I hear many people talking at a grass roots level about how they’d like to see the world adopt renewable energy, but, often, they are challenged to figure out how to be part of this exciting transition. The Bright Minds Challenge provides an opportunity for us to capture this enthusiasm.
Dan Davies, Solarcentury
In the decades that I’ve focused on solar, I’ve seen a huge effort in innovation. But a lot of it is derivative on others and often very much focused solely on the technology rather than the complete business models and differentiation. I am interested in hearing how a new solution uses tech (or other breakthroughs) to break an obstacle to deployment and has sticking power - solutions with longevity in business market.
Madelon Janssen, DSM
The Challenge has given me a great feeling of collaboration as partners, together we can make more things happen. Next to that, it is exciting to see how many good ideas are existing around the world. It is personally very rewarding to participate in a challenge, in which we are aiming at societal success rather than business success. It made me feel proud of DSM and our partners.