Global Ideas

Eligibility and Funding Limits

All entries must be a startup with less than $1,000,000 from private third party funding (from equity investors such as angel investors and venture capital firms) at the time of entry.

All entries must be a startup with less than $5,000,000 from all other sources of funding (grants, family and friends, and your own pocket) at the time of paying the application fee; this limit is separate from the limit on private third party funding.

You will need to select one of the cleantech categories below:

Agriculture, Water & Waste

Applications in the Agriculture, Water & Waste category focus on improving food security, resource availability, conservation and pollution control.

Agriculture encompasses innovative farming technologies that reduce the need for resources needed to produce food, improves supply chain and ensures sustainable food security. Agriculture examples include technologies and solutions that increase yield size, soil fertility, harvesting efficiency or decrease the need for resources (like water and fertilizers), land use, reduce energy use for machinery, agricultural leftovers, nutrients runoff and degradation of biodiversity and habitats.

Waste focuses on cradle-to-cradle approaches to reduction, reuse and recycling technologies, as well as innovative business models and approaches to materials usage. Waste examples include: waste management equipment; sorting; resource recovery processes; pollution prevention, control, and treatment technology; as well as waste reduction through innovative recycling processes and new recyclable materials, such as bio-based plastics, reduced packaging; and decrease resources used for packaging such as ink, plastic and paper.

Water refers to innovative technological solutions which address drinking water distribution, usage or treatment. Solutions can include purification-, water saving and monitoring systems.

This category also includes companies that are focused on air quality improvement. Air examples include services, instruments and equipment related to emission control, treatment or reduction technologies, creative approaches to greenhouse gas reduction, including carbon conversion and sequestration.

Example technologies include

  • Production of natural pesticides (biological pest control)
  • Production of sustainable fertilizers
  • Development of precision agriculture
  • Production of smart drip and micro-irrigation solutions
  • Sustainable plant and animal nutrient products
  • Indoor cultivation systems
  • Food processing
  • Developer of a plant based protein meat substitute
  • Soil technology
  • Water monitoring-on-site
  • Real-time water monitoring for pathogens
  • Cooling solutions
  • On-site wastewater recycling-industrial and commercial applications
  • Advanced water metering
  • Storm-water and flood control, rainwater harvesting
  • On-site water disinfection
  • Membranes for water treatment
  • Advanced filtration without membranes
  • Produced water (from oil exploration and drilling)
  • Reverse osmosis
  • Advanced filters and filtration (air or water)
  • Recycling Microbial water treatment
  • DI water supply
  • Waste cleanup and remediation
  • Combined heat and power (CHP)
  • Reprocessing technologies
  • Emissions controls
  • Carbon and GHG monitoring and control
  • Carbon sequestration
  • Carbon Capture and storage
  • Technology enablers for Carbon markets
  • Reduction and remediation of VOCs
  • Methane capture and storage
  • Clean coal

Energy Efficiency

The Energy Efficiency category includes technologies that enable to save energy in industrial processes as well as at home. Saving energy reduces greenhouse gas emissions and has also a positive impact on expenditures on energy. Examples include advanced light sources and controls, smart / user-friendly energy management systems, energy-efficient water heaters and other appliances, high-efficiency industrial process systems, energy efficient technologies for construction, motors, pumps, and advanced space heating and cooling systems.

Example technologies include:

  • Energy analytics
  • Home automation and energy management systems
  • Enterprise energy management
  • Efficient devices
  • Smart plugs
  • Lighting (LED lighting)
  • Efficient heating and cooling
  • Efficient heat transfer
  • Waste heat recovery
  • Alternatives to heat intensive processes
  • Efficient pumping solutions
  • Power management
  • Industrial process improvements
  • Energy efficient technologies for producing construction materials
  • Pure manufacture techniques
  • Material efficient solutions

Renewable Energy

The energy generation category includes innovations that use, enable and accelerate the usage of renewable energy resources as well as energy generation from alternative sources like waste heat, sewage and materials. This category comprises of technology that for examples include low-emission power sources, such as solar, geothermal, biofuels, wind, wave and tidal energy and hydropower. Renewables also encompass technologies that use waste streams to directly produce energy, like biogas from manure or landfills.

Example technologies include:

  • Solar for energy production
  • CIGS
  • Thin film solar manufacture
  • Concentrating solar PV
  • Coatings for solar panels
  • Polysilicon supply and manufacture
  • Residential scale solar deployment
  • Ethanol
  • Tidal energy
  • Wave energy capture
  • Landfill gas to energy systems
  • Agricultural waste to energy systems
  • Hydropower
  • Turbine blade design
  • Advanced fluid flow designs
  • Wind power aerodynamics
  • Wind power conversion efficiency
  • Geothermal heating and cooling solutions for business and homes

Green Building

‘Green Building’ focuses on reducing the environmental impact of construction by producing innovative, energy- and material efficient building materials. This category also encompasses improved design or construction practices. Examples include improved site planning, water management systems, reduction of hazardous materials in building construction or operation, use of new environmentally friendly or recycled materials, systems to improve indoor environmental quality and systems for improved waste reduction or disposal.

Example products and technologies include

  • Insulation materials
  • Cement alternatives
  • Cement production techniques
  • Building integrated PV (BIPV)
  • Indoor air filtration systems
  • Modular housing
  • Architectural Designs for thermal management
  • Office environment
  • Low VOC carpeting and flooring
  • HVAC
  • Water saving toilets, showers, plumbing
  • Residential heat pumps
  • Recycled materials for use in building material
  • Design improvements to commercial environment
  • Carbon neutral housing
  • Wood modification technologies
  • Bio-based materials (like corn and soybean laminates)
  • Production of lightweight and curved concrete structures
  • Novel construction materials with controllable optical characteristics

Energy Distribution and Storage

Energy Distribution & Storage includes technologies, which enable electricity delivery and give industrial, commercial and residential consumers greater control over when and how their energy is delivered and used. It includes improvements in all forms of energy storage, from battery technology for consumer-scale products to large chemical, metal, biological or other approaches to storage of utility-scale energy, as well as methods for controlling or increasing the efficiency of energy storage or energy transmission.

Examples include intelligent sensors, batteries, fuel cells, fly-wheels, and advanced materials or systems for energy transmission, such as hardware and software controls. Energy storage also includes cell applications capable of converting various stored gases to electricity.

Example technologies include:

  • Advanced metering and home automation network
  • Network architecture for power management
  • Batteries
  • Novel battery chemistry
  • Nickel-metal hydride improvements
  • Hydrogen storage
  • Li-Ion cells
  • Form factor improvements
  • Improved cycle life for batteries
  • Depth of discharge for batteries
  • Solid oxide fuel cells
  • Advanced fuel cell membranes
  • Methanol fuel cells
  • PEM fuel cells
  • Flywheels
  • Grid scale hardware and infrastructure (grid optimization)
  • Power storage for intermittent, renewable resources
  • Monitoring and deploying power generated from renewables
  • Transmission efficiency
  • Electrical engineering and controls for power distribution
  • Novel metals and alloys for power transmission
  • Superconducting power transmission
  • Real-time power monitoring
  • Compressed air energy storage technology

Chemicals and Advanced Materials

Chemicals and Advanced Materials is a new technology category in 2013. It comprises technology that reduces or eliminates the use or generation of hazardous substances in materials or chemical products. These chemicals and advanced materials include novel detergents, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, household products, lubricants, surface and finishing materials, packaging materials and fabric.

Example technologies include:

  • Production of plant-, forestry feedstocks and algae based chemical products (which can be used for consumer products like carpets, furniture, apparel, luggage etc)
  • Production of renewable chemicals such as bio-based detergent builders and corrosion inhibitors
  • Production of novel biodegradable material
  • Production of polymers from recycled pollutants
  • Technologies transforming carbon dioxide into novel materials
  • Novel flame retardant polymers
  • Technology for creating fuels and chemicals from natural gas
  • Production of plastic performance materials including coatings and fluids for the solar industry
  • Production of natural rubber latex for medical products

Information & Communication Technologies (ICT)

The Information & Communications Technologies category includes companies whose primary business is built around computing hardware or software design improvements or the application of information technology, web, mobile or social applications (including emerging “clean web” applications) to reduce resource consumption and environmental impacts.

There are many potential overlaps with other categories. The distinction we make on classification is that if the primary business value is built upon the data or application, they belong in Web & IT. If the business value includes specific hardware, controls or other technology specifically targeted at the market that is complemented by data or applications, they go in the vertical (Green Building, Transporation, etc).

Example technologies include:

  • Carpooling solutions
  • Route management via GPS networks
  • Exploiting GPS and location information
  • Cloud based services and applications
  • Next-generation modular data center technology and services designs
  • Web and mobile applications to raise environmental awareness
  • Energy reduction software
  • E-tools
  • Mashups
  • Software solutions for electric grid, eg SCADA, ADMS
  • Data subscription services
  • Modeling software
  • Cloud-based solution to measure, monitor and optimize enterprise resources and waste outputs
  • Cloud-based solution for commercial buildings to manage energy use


The transportation category covers innovative technology that not only improve our means and ways of mobility, but also reduces environmental impact of mobility markets. Start-ups that are focused on electric vehicles, motorbikes, aviation, trains and fleet logistics should choose this category.

Transportation encompasses transportation and mobile technology applications that improve fuel efficiency, produce biofuels for transportation, reduce air pollution, reduce oil consumption or reduce vehicle travel (not limited to automobiles). Technologies are applied directly to transportation systems or vehicles. Examples include new vehicles and new types of transport services and infrastructure, efficient and portable batteries, fuel cells and bio-based transportation fuels and use of information technologies.

Example technologies include:

  • Fleet management hardware and software systems
  • Routing and data solutions for public transportation operators
  • Logistics management
  • Hybrid motor systems
  • Storage of energy specifically applied to vehicles
  • Plug in hybrid vehicles
  • All electric vehicles
  • Fuel cell vehicles
  • Biodiesel applications
  • NOX/SOX reductions for ocean going vessels
  • Cold-ironing systems
  • Diesel particulate matter filters for Locomotives
  • Combustion designs
  • Fuel blends
  • Flex fuel engines and applications
  • Drivetrain conversion kits
  • Monitoring and control of driver behavior

Enter the competition HERE.