Mayor launches £20,000 competition

21 February 2013

The Mayor Boris Johnson is challenging the capital's students to come up with new and innovative ideas to cut carbon emissions and boost London's green credentials.

The 2013 Low Carbon Prize offers the capital's students the opportunity to win a share of £20,000 to turn their ideas into reality. This year, for the first time, 20 of the best runners up will be shortlisted for a chance to win a paid internship with leading industrial engineering firm Siemens, sponsors of the award.‬ London is already at the centre of innovation for green technologies with the capital's low carbon and environmental goods and services sector is worth an estimated £27 billion.

The Mayor's Low Carbon Prize, which is open to students at Further and Higher Education Institutes across the capital, will award cash prizes to help develop the best ideas for reducing carbon emissions from London's buildings, transport and energy infrastructure and forms part of the Mayor's commitment to achieve a 60 per cent reduction in carbon emissions by 2025.

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: "London’s green economy is booming and I want to make sure that our brightest young minds are firmly engaged with its huge potential. I am convinced that somewhere out there is the next big idea that will not only help us reduce our carbon emissions but also encourage huge investment and growth in the capital."‬

The Chief Executive of Siemens, Roland Aurich, said: "Siemens is delighted to support the Mayor of London's Low Carbon Prize 2013. Innovation is the key to achieving a better, sustainable environment in our cities. I look forward to seeing the ideas that are submitted by the students and to hosting the winners at The Crystal, which, as well as being a global centre of excellence on urban sustainability, is also one of the most sustainable buildings in the world."‬

2012 Low Carbon Prize winner Arthur Kay’s idea to turn used coffee grounds into bio fuel - a clean, cheap alternative to petrol and fossil fuels - is set to hit production this summer from a site in north east London. Thanks to the winning cash and support he received he has patented his idea, set up his own company, Bio-Bean Ltd, secured investors and a Europe wide distribution contract. By the end of the year Arthur hopes to be employing more than 20 people. Arthur Kay, Low Carbon Prize winner in 2012 and founder of Bio-Bean LTD, said: "Thanks to the Mayor's Low Carbon Prize I've been able to make my dream a reality and take my idea to turn coffee grounds into bio fuel, saving carbon emissions and tax-payer money, into the market place. I want to encourage as many students as possible to get involved, put their thinking caps on and enter this year's competition for their chance to take up this fantastic opportunity."‬

Applications will be judged by a panel of experts, including representatives from the Mayor's Office, experts in climate change mitigation and successful business leaders.‬ The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony at the Siemens Crystal on Thursday 13th June.‬


Notes to editors

  • The winning entries for this year's Low Carbon Prize will be rewarded with cash and support to help develop the practical application of their ideas. The twenty shortlisted candidates will also have the chance to win a paid internship with Siemens. Lasting 3 to 12 months the internships will offer students a fantastic career boosting opportunity with direct industry experience tailored to their interests and development needs.
  • The Low Carbon Prize has been made possible thanks to sponsorship from Siemens and the support of the London Environmental University Group (LEUG) who are helping to deliver the scheme by processing applications and promoting the award to London's students. ‬ ‪
  • All ideas submitted to the competition must contribute towards reducing London CO2 emissions and will be judged against the following criteria: Originality, practical application - it must work, clarity, broader sustainability benefits, proposals can be for anything as long as it meets the relevant criteria. To take part, students will be expected to complete an online application form, setting out their idea. ‬ ‪
  • The £20,000 prize will be split between the two best entries to further develop their idea.‬ ‪
  • To enter the competition visit: ‬ ‪
  • Siemens is a global engineering company with a focus on the key sectors of Energy, Industry, Healthcare and Infrastructure & Cities. The Crystal, a Siemens initiative based in London, is an innovative visitor attraction and home to the global centre of competence for cities. For more information visit: and
  • The short-listed winners from the Mayor of London's Low Carbon Prize competition will qualify for automatic entry into a select candidate pool for an internship opportunity at The Crystal or another Siemens location in the UK. They will be invited to go through an interview and assessment selection centre and if they are successful they will secure a paid internship at the company. Current interns at The Crystal have had marketing, sustainability, events and engineering experience. All candidates must meet Siemens business criteria, successfully pass DAMEX security checking and show eligibility to work in the UK documentation. ‬ ‪
  • Arthur Kay from UCL Bartlett School of Architecture impressed the 2012 panel of judges with his Bio-Bean idea which came second in the Low Carbon Prize 2012. His idea to turn used coffee grinds into bio fuel is on track to begin production this summer.
  • The Mayor’s carbon cutting programmes include: ‬ ‪ ‪
  • RENEW: To date over 84,000 homes have benefitted from our RE:NEW programme. In total over the last CERT period (2008-12) approximately 360,000 homes have been retrofitted in London. ‬ ‪
  • RE:FIT: 111 public building retrofits have been completed or are near completion, saving £2.1 million a year on energy bills. A further 500+ are in the project pipeline. ‪
  • London Green Fund – will be investing up to £185 million in energy efficiency, waste and decentralised energy projects by 2015.‪
  • Decentralised Energy – The total market value of projects we will bring to market by 2014 is over £300m, with electric capacity of 74MWe and a thermal capacity of 363MWth - enough to heat and power over 136,000 homes. ‬ ‪
  • Through the planning system we have secured CO2 savings which are a third greater than those required by national building regulations. In 2010 and 2011 we secured through planning commitments to construct 45MWe of installed CHP capacity – enough to power 99,000 homes (London’s total existing capacity is 126MWe). ‬ ‪
  • The Mayor has also asked Transport for London to prepare plans to introduce the world’s first Ultra Low Emission Zone to improve air quality in central London and encourage the mass take-up of zero and low emission vehicles.

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