Earthshot Prize: Lower-impact EV batteries among 2023 winners

Prince William has announced the third cohort of winners of the Earthshot Prize, providing £5m of grant funding to innovators in fields including electric vehicle (EV) batteries and ocean conservation.

Earthshot Prize: Lower-impact EV batteries among 2023 winners

Image: Earthshot Prize

After a nine-month search for environmental solutions, the Prince announced the winning projects at a ceremony in Singapore on Tuesday (7 November), also attended by a host of famous faces including actors Cate Blanchett, Sterling K Brown and Hannah Waddingham.

The Prince’s wife Kate Middleton has attended the two previous winner announcements but was absent this year. She said she was needed in the UK to support her oldest son, George, with his studies.

Officially launched in October 2020, the Earthshot Prize was set up by the royals to funnel £50m into climate and nature solutions through to 2050. The idea is that, each year, five innovators – each working on a different major global environmental issue – will each receive £1m in grant funding.

The issues covered by the Prize are improving air quality; protecting and restoring nature; restoring oceans; addressing climate change and building a waste-free world.

Speaking at the announcement, the Prince said: “The last year has been one of great change and even greater challenge. A year that has left so many feeling defeated, their hope dwindling. However, as we have seen tonight, hope does remain.”

He urged listeners to “refuse to accept the voices of denial and defeatism and instead to become the architects of change towards a healthy and sustainable world”.

The winners in each of the five categories are:

Improving air quality: Green, Renewable, Sustainable Technology (GRST), a Hong-Kong-based project pioneering a low-impact method of producing EV batteries. GRST’s method involves building the battery with a water-soluble binding composite rather than traditional connection options. This makes it easier to recover valuable materials in post-use recycling. It also extends the battery’s working life and reduces emissions associated with manufacturing by up to 40%.

Protecting and restoring nature: Acción Andina, co-founded by non-profit organisations Global Forest Generation and Asociación Ecosistemas Andinos. This community-led project, in the Andes mountains, has the support of Salesforce. Its aim is to protect and restore ecosystems in the mountains by providing communities with critical resources including training and salary support.

Reviving oceans: WildAid, a global conservation non-profit, has secured Earthshot Prize funding for its work to enhance protections within Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). It is working to build law enforcement capacity and to ensure that those reliant on illegal fishing for their livelihoods have access to alternatives.

Fixing the climate: Boomitra, a soil carbon marketplace that rewards more than 150,000 farmers financially for adopting more sustainable land management practices. Funding is provided when companies and governments buy carbon credits. Boomitra founder Aadith Moorthy has set a target to enable the additional storage of one gigaton of CO2e in agricultural soils this decade.

Working towards a world without waste: India-based S4S technologies has launched technologies which can help to combat food waste on farms. It has developed solar-powered food drying and processing equipment that will help keep crops that usually go to waste fit for use. As well as reducing waste, this should boost incomes for smallholder farmers, who typically cannot afford to use cold storage or send their crops off-site for processing.

The full Earthshot Prize ceremony will be televised on Sunday (12 November).

The Prize is already accepting applications for its 2024 winners. Applications will close on 15 December.

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie