Environment / Energy

(C)Urban Ecology
2009 Semi-Finalist

(C)urban Ecology is a simple, rugged, modular, micro-remediation system that can be surgically inserted into our streets and can operate with minimal maintenance. It is conceived as a network of channels and voids, and employs Buckminster Fuller’s central notion of “doing more with less".


Aclima implements a bottom-up approach to monitoring and managing air pollution and GHG emissions. Our distributed system relies upon and empowers individuals to measure air, as opposed to the current institutional approach. Leveraging affordable sensors, cloud-computing, crowdsourcing, and social networks, our system enables transformation at personal, community and global scales.

African Christians Organization Network
2016 Catalyst Program

This project supplies alternatives to the open fire 3-stone cooking method common in Africa. Their community-driven efforts address multiple environmental threats on local scale and provide new modes for income generation.

Algal Turf Scrubbing
2014 Semi-Finalist

Algal Turf Scrubbing generates a fast growing, easily harvested, filamentous polyculture of hundreds of natural, locally adapted algae species over a new, highly efficient 3D screen surface beneath a shallow flow of water to oxygenate and purify water, produce biomass for biofuel and organic fertilizer, mitigate pollution from agricultural run-off, improve freshwater and coastal habitats, and sequester carbon and reduce fossil fuel dependency.

2014 Semi-Finalist

AskNature is an immense, web-based interactive database and learning tool which seeks to catalog and present solutions to the most pressing human challenges by enabling its audiences to draw from time-tested strategies evolved by nature. AskNature aspires to make bio-inspired design widely accessible for educational and industrial applications.

2017 Winner

The Sustainable Green Initiative Forum has designed Bhungroo (in Gujarati, “straw” or “hollow pipe”), an innovative technology that can filter, inject, and store storm water up to a depth of 300 meters in the subsoil.

Bioenergy Value Chain
2013 Semi-Finalist

Bioenergy Value Chain, or Abellon Clean Energy, is a comprehensive clean-energy system: they buy excess agricultural waste from local farmers (typically either burned, causing air pollution and respiratory illness, or ineffectively composted, releasing methane), and turn that plant material into efficient and clean-burning ‘pellets’ that can then power industrial plants, businesses and small homes.

2008 Semi-Finalist

BioMosaics interactive planning is a mid level (i.e., building to human settlement) scale tool whereby participants plan land uses with the goal of balancing natural resource supply and sink functions (i.e., natural capital throughput) with basic human life support needs.

2017 Catalyst Program

BoxPower seeks to facilitate off-grid electrification in low-income rural populations by providing consumers with hybrid renewable microgrids. Our hope is that our energy systems plug-and-play units built around standard 20 ft. shipping containers will help lay the foundations for a sustainable future, starting with the most economically vulnerable populations.

Breathe Installations
2016 Catalyst Program

breathe.airship aims to create breathing spaces in cities that are affected by air pollution all over the world. The project is a prototype to link technology with natural environments and create awareness on the importance of clean air and healthy environments.

Bronzeville Line Urban Energy (B.L.U.E.)
2015 Catalyst Program

Our solution is creating community based renewable energy and urban agriculture on a vacated rail and electric substation. The structures are brownfield and create areas of refuse collection, vagrancy and danger to local children. The project provides an opportunity for our local community to contribute to renewable energy.

Buoyant Ecologies Float Lab
2017 Catalyst Program

Buoyant Ecologies is a collaborative research platform that synthesizes architectural design, marine ecology, and digital fabrication to explore new approaches to constructing resilient waterfront structures. The project's ambition is to develop compelling strategies for designing and fabricating scalable resilient coastal structures that enhance the biodiversity of the surrounding ecology.

Carnot-Equivalent Stirling Engine and Heat Pump
2009 Semi-Finalist

Our purpose is to bring about a revolution in the efficiency of energy production and consumption by addressing the fundamental problems of engine and heat pump inefficiency.

Clean Energy Moonshot
2015 Catalyst Program

Clean Energy Moonshot is a new system for renewable energy production, management, and distribution that disrupts centralized monopolies by empowering communities to create their own energy. It addresses the need for a rapidly scalable implementation of renewable energy - a critical but currently unavailable component of the fight against climate catastrophe.

Co-Op Power
2012 Semi-Finalist

SUMMARY: Co-op Power’s innovative cooperative business structure builds sustainable energy solutions for its members and communities.

2016 Finalist

CommuniTree is a simple but practical, well-executed approach to tackling three interlinked problems: deforestation, climate change, and poverty. The project ingenuously connects the dots around CO2 reduction and the generation of sustainable, local economies.

Coral Vita
2017 Catalyst Program

Coral Vita farms corals to restore dying reefs. We grow corals up to 50x faster while strengthening their resilience against climate change. By revitalizing biodiversity, boosting fisheries, sheltering shorelines, and strengthening local economies, we can help preserve coral reefs and the valuable benefits the provide for over 1B people globally.

Eco-Fuel Africa
2012 Honorable Mention

Imagine a world where Africans no longer have to cut down trees for fuel, where farmers have access to free organic fertilizers and where young girls no longer have to drop out of school! We’re making that world possible by making clean cooking energy and organic fertilizers from agricultural waste.

2015 Catalyst Program

As the German word for tax is "Steuer," meaning "to steer," we develop a tax system for any land area, organized in watersheds, that "steers" the taxed away from depletion of resources, including soil and water, towards revitalization. Today's huge amounts of civil-satellite data, with many spectral readings, are mobilized.

Economics for the Anthropocene
2016 Catalyst Program

SUMMARY: The Economics for the Anthropocene (E4A) project seeks to displace the growth-insistent macro-economic framework which is destabilizing the Earth's life support system(s).