Start-up Swedish Algae Factory has been announced as the winner of the Postcode Lotteries Green Challenge 2019.

During the final in Amsterdam yesterday, Sofie Allert, CEO and founder of Swedish Algae Factory, pitched the business to the international jury of experts and was awarded the top prize of €500,000.

In dark and cold seas, diatoms - algae that develop a shell with unique properties to survive in this dark environment - grow. The material naturally absorbs light and can be used to make solar panels more efficient.

Efficient Solar Panels

Sofie said, "We are so happy and honoured to win this prize. This win helps us reach more personal care and solar clients and increase our production capacity faster. Algica reduces CO2 with 200 tons/kg per year when applied on solar panels and replaces harmful and less efficient ingredients in personal care. Algica is contributing towards a more circular and bio-based industry!"

Postcode Lotteries Green Challenge is one of the biggest competitions of sustainable entrepreneurship in the world.

The runner-up prize of €200,000 euros went to nuventura, which has developed an alternative to switching installations that use the extremely harmful greenhouse gas SF6.

The other three finalists included Field Factors, TEXEL Energy Storage and British-based start-up Desolenator, which were awarded €100,000 each to grow their businesses.

Desolenator, based in London, is working to tackle the water scarcity crisis around the world, focusing on providing a solution for developing countries. It has developed a technology that uses the residual heat from the solar panel to heat polluted or salt water. The condensation from the distilled water vapor is then collected, creating drinking water.

In addition to the prize money, the five finalists receive six months of support and coaching during the Green Challenge DeepDive, which will help them to accelerate the growth of their businesses.

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The five Green Challenge 2019 finalists hold their cheques, alongside Boudewijn Poelmann