Monday, July 07, 2008

Masdar offers $1.5m for someone to come up a sustainable energy solution

Abu Dhabi invites submissions for Zayed Future Energy Prize. $1.5m to the winner, $350,000 for the two runners up - and Masdar will then commercialise the idea.

Superman did it for the love of Lois Lane, James Bond did it for the British Secret Service, now we know what Masdar will pay for someone to save the planet. Its Zayed Future Energy Prize will cough up $1.5m to whoever comes up with best idea for a sustainable energy solution. Two runners up will receive $350,000 each.

Entries must not only be clever, but quick. The deadline for nominations is July 31, with submissions accepted until September 31, 2008. The winners will be announced at the World Future Energy Summit on January, 19th 2009.

Besides the prize money Masdar will look to commercialise the best entries.

"There is often an inability to apply technology on a large scale," said Sultan Al Jaber, CEO of Masdar and Director General of ZFEP. "Masdar can bring both scale and capital. We will help them prove their viability."

Which means $1.5m is a small price to pay for having access to great energy solutions. It is to be assumed if someone ever does crack the problem of clean, renewable energy, they would be a billionaire within a couple of years.

Al Jaber said he would expect between 120 and 150 entries in this first year, but the emphasis will be on quality not quantity. Masdar is mailing a database of over 2000 leading institutions, academics, business leaders and international authorities to chase up nominations. Armchair enthusiasts can also have a go. Regional marketing and PR campaigns are planned, and an English/Arabic website launched this week to explain the prize.

Nominations will be whittled down to a final shortlist of 20 before being passed to the jury. The jury will be headed by the Nobel Laureate Dr. Rajendra Kumar Pachauri, and will include HE Olafur Grimsson, President of Iceland; HE Khaled Irani, Environment Minister of Jordan; HE Ahmed Ali Al Sayegh, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (Masdar); Lord John Browne, Managing Director, Riverstone Holdings; Lord Norman Foster, Founder and Chairman, Foster + Partners and Jeremy Rifkin, President of the Foundation on Economic Trends.

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