Low carbon concrete & smart air quality app up for £20k green prize

15 March 2016

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson MP will today (Tuesday 15 March) welcome the capital’s brightest young minds to City Hall to pitch their green business ideas ‘Dragon’s Den’ style for a chance to win a £20,000 prize and be crowned the Mayor’s Low Carbon Entrepreneur 2016.


From a pollution-avoiding transport app that suggests a greener route to work to creating low-carbon concrete through recycling clay waste from London’s tunnel digging, the student teams will present their green business ideas to a panel of expert judges.


This year’s judges include Deputy Mayor for Environment and Energy, Matthew Pencharz; previous winner Arthur Kay, whose successful business BioBean uses coffee bean waste to heat homes and Niels Kirk chairman of Citi, which is sponsoring the awards.


The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson MP said: “London is leading the way in green technology and this competition can help kick start students’ sustainable ideas into business ventures.  It’s vital that we support young enterprising  people in setting up innovative businesses to make positive change and boost the capital’s thriving green economy.”


Now in its fifth year, the competition attracted more than 250 applications from 27 London institutions and a team of industry experts had the difficult of task of choosing the best 10 ideas to be put through to the grand finale.


Each student team will have five minutes to pitch their green business idea and be grilled by the judges in front of a live audience of fellow students, academics and leading experts from the energy and climate change sector.


The overall winner will be supported by a team from City Hall to help deliver their business idea into the global low carbon economy.


The shortlisted entries will hope to follow in the footsteps of previous winner Arthur Kay, who now employs a team of 25 at his 20,000 sq ft ‘Biobean’ coffee recycling London factory. He said: "Early support from City Hall was vital in making bio-bean a reality - it is a great privilege to come back this year as a judge and see some of the fantastic low-carbon ideas London's students have come up with this year."


Niels Kirk, Citi’s Chairman of Energy Banking and Head of Climate & Sustainability Council in EMEA said: “We’re thrilled to be sponsoring this important initiative in London. At Citi, we are committed to developing innovative ways of financing projects that lead to sustainable growth.  We recently announced that Citi will lend, invest and facilitate a total of $100 billion within the next 10 years to finance activities that reduce the impacts of climate change and create environmental solutions that benefit people and communities.”

Notes to editors


Aceleron, Brunel University - A technology to transform electric vehicle lithium batteries into battery packs for renewable energy storage. (By Carlton Cummins and Amrit Chandan)


CleanCO2MMUTE , University of Westminster  - A transport app that helps people reduce their exposure to air pollution. (By Matthew Wise and Bonnie Bley)


Engineered calcined clay, Imperial College London - A new process to use clay waste from digging tunnels to produce better and lower carbon concrete. (By Ding Zhou, Nicolas Schaeffer, Wei Qiu, and Marcus Heo Nong Yio)


Featherfill,  Imperial College London - FeatherFill™ is an insulating material made from feather waste. (By Elena Dieckmann and Ryan Robinson)


Federation of Rescued Kitchenware, Middlesex University - F.O.R.K. provides starter kits of second-hand kitchenware to students moving to London. (By Chloe Grahame, Francesca Micallef, Ines Stelk, and Laura Kent)


Greenseed, University College London - Greenseed is an app connecting local food growers to ask questions, get inspiration, and swap and trade gardening products and services. (By Arindra Kumar Das and Naomi Poyser)


Moya Power, Imperial College London and Royal College of Art - Moya Power is a flexible sheeting material composed of thousands of small filaments that can harvest low grade wind energy. It is adaptable to all types of previously wasted surfaces transforming them into valuable local sustainable energy generators. (By Charlotte Slingsby and Alberto Ortega)


Mush,  University of Westminster - Mush uses coffee waste grow bio products such as edible and medicinal mushrooms. (By Dennis Georgian Lucan, Andrei Razvan Laslo, Radu Alexandru Ionescu, and Khaled Mansour)


Sense, haptic navigator, Central Saint Martins, UAL - 'Sense' is a wearable wrist haptic navigator. The navigating device connects to a smartphone by Bluetooth. 'Sense' then gives directions by touching the wrist with a rotating bead. (By Milyausha Basharova)


Wise Plug, Royal College of Art - Wise Plug provides a visual way to understand and manage energy use in the home. Through colour, the plug shows daily energy use, storage and release. (By Robert Hunt)



Low Carbon Entrepreneur Judging Panel 2016

Matthew Pencharz, Deputy Mayor for Environment and Energy


Arthur Kay, winner of the inaugural Low Carbon Entrepreneur competition and Bio Bean CEO


Niels Kirk, Citi’s Chairman of Energy Banking and Head of Climate & Sustainability Council in EMEA

Johnny Luk, CEO National Association of University and College Entrepreneurs (NACUE)



The winning entry for the Low Carbon Entrepreneur 2016 will be rewarded with cash and support to help develop the practical application of their idea.


The ten finalists will be pitching their ideas to a judging panel at City Hall on Tuesday 15 March 2016. 


Bio-bean was founded by Arthur Kay www.bio-bean.com now running as a fully operational corporation turning London waste coffee grounds into biofuels


  1. The Low Carbon Entrepreneur 2016 has been made possible thanks to sponsorship from Citi. For more information visit: http://www.citigroup.com/citi/  and http://www.citigroup.com/citi/foundation/