The 2017 Challenge

The 2017 Challenge

The challenge for the 2017 GBC was to identify novel solutions that lowers the cost and/or reduces the risks associated with the transition from fossil-fuel based energy to achieving sustainability and reliability from renewable energy sources.

The challenge statement is NOT meant to be prescriptive in nature. As such,  teams may be quite broad in their interpretation of the problem statement their solution specifically addresses. For instance ‘risk’ may relate to all types of ‘risk’ such as technical, cost/pricing, commercial, adoption risk as examples.

Proposed solutions may cover any domain within the renewable energy theme and one or more points within the value chain (generation, distribution and storage). Proposed solutions should include demonstrable new technologies as well as novel business models that support widespread adoption and successful commercialisation.

How to identify a technology collaborator

Teams are encouraged to identify potential technology collaborators from a variety of sources. These may include their own institution, other research organisations, industry including start-ups.

For the first time, the GBC is proud to have the World Intellectual Property Organisation as a key partner (WIPO Green). The WIPO Green initiative comprises a database of over 2800 commercial ready technologies that are available for commercialisation from WIPO’s partner network of research organisaitons and governments around the world.

This will provide a rich environment for teams to identify technology collaborators with facilitation being provided by WIPO personnel. Students will also be afforded opportunities to attend WIPO network functions at locations close proximity to their host institutions around the world.

About WIPO Green

WIPO GREEN, an interactive marketplace that connects technology and service providers with those seeking innovative solutions, was established by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in 2013.

WIPO GREEN consists of an online database and network that brings together a wide range of players in the green technology innovation value chain, and connects owners of new technologies with individuals or companies who might be looking to commercialize, license or otherwise distribute a green technology.

In this way, we help not only to accelerate innovation and diffusion of green technologies, but also contribute to the efforts of developing countries in addressing climate change.

Key Dates

The key dates for the 2017 GBC are provided below. It is important to note that while the closing date of registrations is Wednesday 5 July 2017 [GMT + 10:00], teams will not be provided with briefing material on the challenge until they have registered.

It is strongly recommended that teams register and start as early as possible in formatting their proposed concept solution for Round 1.

While the submission itself is not onerous (a virtual presentation and Executive Summary), teams will need to identify appropriate collaborators and design their proposed solution which takes time… so start early to be as competitive as possible!

Registrations Open Registrations Now Open
Registrations Close Wednesday 5 July 2017 [GMT + 10:00 Brisbane]
Round 1 Virtual Submission – Monday 10 July 2017
6PM [GMT + 10:00 Brisbane]
Finalists announced at 12th World Congress – Thursday 3 August 2017
Finals Week Monday 6 November – Thursday 9 November



Finalists Guidance

TBC – Video/document material uploaded on the website closer to the finals.

Finalists Presentations

Smart Blox

Katherine Monberg and Mary Dusek (University of Arizona) and Tim Larsen (QUT)
Coach: Dr John Bensley

Solar Blox combines all of the necessary elements of a complete solar system into a single product that is similar in accessibility and mobility to a portable petrol generator, which can be bought from any local hardware store. With its built-in battery and inverter system, Solar Blox can output a continuous level of standard residential power to run appliances through a standard power outlet. It includes fold-out mounting, can be safely stacked and pre-charged, can be setup in minutes and is built ruggedized for safe transport. For additional storage and power, the Blox simply click together.


Les Adams, Erik Malan and Wendy Zernike (Griffith University)
Coach: Professor Evan Douglas

Remote off-grid and isolated communities have limited access to reliable, affordable and sustainable electricity and rely on costly diesel generation.  Although renewables are being increasingly adopted, intermittency of supply remains an issue.  The LRES solution can capture excess renewable energy and provide long-term storage for days, weeks, months or season to season.  This is achieved by splitting water in an electrolyser to produce hydrogen which is stored safely, at ambient temperature, at a low pressure in the form of a metal-hydride then retrieved using a fuel cell to meet demand.  Long-term storage is the critical enabler for the diesel transition.


Kevin Kung (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and Adesh Mehta (Northeastern University)
Coach: Professor William Aulet

We produce low-cost, small-scale, and portable reactor units that enable the densification and upgrading of biomass in remote areas into valuable commodities. These units can be latched onto tractors or shipping containers and be deployed in a decentralized manner. Most biomass residues currently are too loose, bulky, and wet to be transported over long distances. Our solution reduces such logistical cost by up to 30%, thereby altering the unit economics of the biomass logistics chain. The densified, carbon-rich output from our reactors can then be processed into various energy products (e.g. solid fuel, electricity, heat) or even carbon-negative fertilizers.

DC Energy Systems

Terry Namkung, Zarcar Buckner, Jonathan Markert and Alex Soriano (Auburn University)
Coach: Lucian Bifano

Each year globally, 158,000 terawatt-hours (TWh) of energy is consumed at a value of $20 Trillion.  Of this, 1 trillion kw hour of energy is wasted each year due to inefficient inverters and AC/DC adaptors.  That equates to the capacity of 245,000 Nuclear Power Plants.

DC Energy Systems integrates with current wiring standards and expands direct current markets; helps make direct current usage commercially and socially acceptable.  The system enables competitiveness within the market alongside AC companies; solves the need to have a low voltage DC power source for controlling and switching.  With the elimination of inefficient AC/DC inverters & adaptors, DC Energy System’s patented panel is key to the utilization of DC power.


Antoine Audet, Kevin Belanger, Cimon Boily and Felix Lavoie-Perusse (University Laval)
Coach: Professor Yan Cimon

Power2Users brings a reliable electricity supply to remote businesses and communities.
We combine different energy sources and storage systems suited for small microgrids. A combination of adapted wind and solar technologies is leveraged, together with cutting-edge battery and flywheel technologies.
Remote businesses can monetize these infinite sources of energy, and utilities can play a key role in providing a more reliable source of power for remote communities


Jared Bagley, Yuexin Du, Thanh Dao and Khanh Nguyen (Aalto University)
Coach: Professor Mikko Jalas

PowerCraft is a mobile strategy game inspired by real world energy challenges which intends to educate players through entertainment. Using a fictional setting of an alien invasion, players are challenged to craft energy solutions in various scenarios.

Our goal is to deliver a game that is both accurate and fun. Thus, we calculate insolation, wind speeds, and model enemy waves on actual household data. Players can play the campaign or input their own energy usage, latitude and longitude; then see if they can construct a solution that’s right for their home, and crush a few aliens while they do.


Sameer Dixit, Vishal Gupta, Kashish Prajapati and Deepak Mallyk (Indian Institute of Management Lucknow)
Coach: Professor Sushil Kumar

It is estimated that the sun delivers more energy to the earth’s in an hour than consumed in a year. Furthermore, solar energy can be harnessed on an individual scale. Despite the clear financial benefits of solar, adoption rate has been slow worldwide primarily due to lack of awareness and hesitation.

Jarvis Solar believes customized solutions are important to persuade institutions to convert to solar. Jarvis provides end to end turnkey solar solutions along with additional features such as network benefits, customized financing packages and solar education to educational institutions due to their high capacity and potential externality benefits.