Ideas chosen that could help save the planet

The Earth Awards have now chosen their six category winners, including an artificial foam that captures and converts the sun's energy more effectively than living organisms.

The Photosynthetic foam is the brainchild of University of Cincinnati Professor's David Wendell and Carlo Montemagno while Cambridge Professor Michael Ramage has come up with a concept called Sustainable Shells. Both innovations have been selected from over 500 entries to be shortlisted in The Earth Awards 2010. They and four other finalists will now pitch to top CEOs at an Innovators Summit in London, to secure funding to bring their designs to market.

Professor Wendell's system means that all captured energy is converted to sugars, unlike natural photosynthesis in plants where a large amount of energy is used to maintain the life of the organism. In short, the foam is a far more efficient and versatile energy production platform.

Sustainable Shells enables buildings to be created with natural resources by local people, in the world's poorest and most remote areas. It is the first time that ancient tile-vaulting has been fused with earth to create a building which can be replicated across the developing world, removing the need to import skills or materials.

The other six finalists are: Polli-Bricks by Arthur Huang, Miniwiz Sustainable Energy Development Co, Taiwan; Kayu Sunglasses by Jamie Lim, Kayu, USA; AskNature by The Biomimicry Institute, represented by Megan Schuknecht, USA and The Butterfly Houses by Andreas Gjertsen and Yashar Hanstad, TYIN Tegnestue, Norway.

Earth Awards judge and design champion Terence Conran comments: "Intelligent design has the power to improve, inspire and shape people's lives. The Earth Awards' celebration of sustainable innovation reinforces how cutting-edge ideas can help to build a better world and also be a commercial success on a global scale."

Fellow Selection Committee member Ira Magaziner, Chairman, William J. Clinton Foundation, adds: "Nothing is impossible. And nothing beats the power of partnership in realising dreams. That is the fundamental principle of The Earth Awards: to unite the world's greatest innovators with the business people and investors who can make their designs a reality. This is a unique partnership – an opportunity for us to discover some great ideas and see these brought to life for the benefit of all."

In a new initiative by HRH the Prince of Wales, The Earth Awards have been invited to showcase a selection of their exceptional entries in the gardens of Marlborough House, Lancaster House and Clarence House from September 8th to 19th.

Each category winner will receive $10,000 and the grand prize winner will receive at total of $50,000 and be unveiled at a Gala Dinner at Bridgewater House in London on September 16th, 2010.

Tom Shelley

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