Innovation Challenge - Go Green

The Innovation Challenge: Go Green was a competition organised by Aġenzija Żgħażagħ and The Edward de Bono Institute for the Design and Development of Thinking at the University of Malta for young people aged between 17 and 30. Participants were required to identify an environmental problem, come up with a green innovation solution, assess its feasibility, and submit a proposal for evaluation.

The competition was launched in November 2014 during Global Entrepreneurship Week and included a workshop in April 2015 in which ten young people received training on green innovation, idea generation, feasibility studies and intellectual property rights. The aim of this workshop was to help participants identify relevant environmental problems, generate innovative solutions, and prepare their submissions for the competition. 

The final judging event and award ceremony was held on Wednesday 3 June 2015 at TAKEOFF Incubator, University of Malta. During this event, three finalists delivered a 10-minute presentation about their proposals, followed by 10 minutes of questioning from the judges and the audience.

The competition was won by University of Malta student Antoine Galea, who developed an eco-friendly water purification system. During his presentation, Mr Galea noted that since fresh water reserves around the world are rapidly depleting, finding innovative means of purifying contaminated water is an increasingly important challenge. He described a water purification system that mimics natural systems by using micro and macro organisms to purify water, and explained that he has built two prototypes of this ‘eco-purifier’ and tested them with positive results.

In second place was Carlos Cañas with his ‘BUTTerfly Project’. He highlighted the environmental and health hazards posed by the littering of cigarette butts and suggested setting up a local network which would collect cigarette butts and recycle them into toxic-free plastic souvenirs. In third place was David Sciberras for his ‘Energy from Sewage’ proposal, which would entail installing turbines in sewage and wastewater outflow pipes to generate electricity.

The results were announced by Jochen Lenders, who had come up with the idea for this competition while reading for his Master in Creativity and Innovation at The Edward de Bono Institute. The awards were presented by the Hon. Chris Agius, Parliamentary Secretary for Research, Innovation Youth and Sport, who delivered a closing address. The top prize awarded to Mr Galea was a trip to the European Conference on Sustainability, Energy and the Environment which was held in Brighton (UK) in July 2015. All three proposals have been featured in a publication sponsored by APS Bank.