Win $50,000 by designing smart grid technology

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The Independent Online

An American electronics firm is offering budding inventors from around the world the chance to win $50,000 (€39,000) and see their idea for the smart grid turned into a reality.



An August report by PR company Gibbs & Soell found that most Americans are cynical about the integrity of companies that claim environmentally friendly practices; the study, which sampled a cross-section of American society, found that only 16 percent of consumers believed that the majority of businesses are committed to ‘going green.'

So in the face of such attitudes, companies such as American electronics giant General Electric (GE), which is already a major player in smart grid and green technology, are eager to prove their environmental credentials and convince consumers of the benefits of their smart grid products.

Throughout August, GE is upping the stakes and calling for innovators from all backgrounds to submit ideas on how to build the next generation of smart grids. The winning entrant in the GE ecomagination competition will receive equity investment from GE, a chance to develop their idea and a marketing agreement; plus the entry that gathers the most user-submitted votes will also receive a cash award of $50,000 (€39,000).

The competition is open to people of all nationalities, the only stipulation is that the idea must be submitted in English, and the entrant must be over 18 years old. Companies, entrepreneurs and students alike are all encouraged to reply. The voting period, which opened on July 14, closes on September 30.

The website features a map showing the location of each entrant from around the globe, a large number of ideas have been submitted from within America and Europe, but the competition is also attracting ideas from the Philippines, Australia, Japan, India and Kenya amongst other places.

So far 1,022 ideas have attracted 13,244 votes; ideas can be viewed and voted for either by computer or by downloading the free GE challenge iPhone app.

As of August 12 the five most popular ideas in the GE ecomagination competition were:

SR Guy - Solar Roadways - refitting roads with solar panels so vehicles can recharge anywhere

Sedu Labs - THEODORE Project - using artificial intelligence systems to improve grid efficiency

Highsmith Energy - Offshore wind not offshore oil - a comprehensive plan for offshore wind farms

SR Guy - Solar Roadways -the ultimate grid - replacing roads with 'self healing grids'

SR Guy - Solar Roadways -  placing solar panels in parking lots, playgrounds, driveways, bike paths, sidewalks...

More ideas and details on how to vote on the GE competition can be found at:

The iPhone app can be downloaded at

Another competition run by international environmental agency Greenpeace to design a logo for renewable energy offers a prize of €1000 and closes on August 15 for details visit: