Finalists Chosen for 2023 Environmental Innovation Challenge

Judges selected 21 student teams to compete in the Final Round of the 2023 Alaska Airlines Environmental Innovation Challenge hosted by the UW Foster School’s Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship.Some of the most cutting-edge solutions to the environmental problems we’re facing today will be on display at the 2023 Alaska Airlines Environmental Innovation Challenge. Judges selected 21 student teams (detailed below) to compete in the Final Round hosted by the UW Foster School’s Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship.

The finalist teams will showcase their solutions on Thursday, March 30 in front of more than 100 cleantech entrepreneurs, innovators, and investors serving as judges. The finalist teams represent more than two dozen academic departments, programs, and majors. Their areas of focus include innovations in agriculture and food waste, energy, infrastructure, recycling and waste, and more.

More than $40,000 in prizes will be awarded at this year’s Alaska Airlines Environmental Innovation Challenge, including two $5,000 “Big Picture” prizes and a $2,500 “Best Idea” prize created to address critical issues that have grown in the spotlight:

  • $5,000 UW Clean Energy Institute Clean Energy Prize, which rewards software and/or hardware innovations that can reduce carbon emissions through solar energy production, electrical energy storage, conversion and distribution, and energy efficiency.
  • $5,000 UW EarthLab Community Impact Prize, which recognizes innovation in developing a product, solution, or demonstrated business model that mitigates or makes communities more resilient in the face of climate change while prioritizing equity and justice.
  • $2,500 Eric Carlson Best Idea for Climate Impact Prize, which rewards a team that has thoughtfully incorporated and quantified carbon footprint into the development and communication of their innovation.

All teams who participate in the competition, including those screened by dozens of judges in the opening round, receive valuable feedback that could lead to success down the road if they choose to apply for the upcoming 2023 Dempsey Startup Competition or the Jones + Foster Accelerator. You can read the recap of last year’s challenge day on the Foster Blog and watch the 2022 award presentation on the Buerk Center’s YouTube page.

Good luck to the 2023 Alaska Airlines Environmental Innovation Challenge Finalists!

AeroVera is developing an autonomous air quality mapping device that maps the indoor environment and can also purify areas with high contamination.

  • University of Washington-Seattle (Electrical and Computer Engineering)

Bionova is developing a biogas production process to provide a sustainable and cost-effective alternative to wood and charcoal for cooking fuel.

  • Walla Walla University (Accounting and Finance, Business, Psychology, Social Work)

BuySmart is developing an intelligent solution that streamlines household food management by integrating fridge and pantry inventory into a single platform.

  • University of Washington-Seattle (Communication Leadership, Human-Centered Interaction and Design, Materials Science and Engineering)

CNACT – Climate Analysis
CNACT is developing a natural language processing system that simplifies complex information in corporate climate disclosures.

  • University of Washington-Seattle (MS in Business Analytics)

EcoRare Technologies
EcoRare is developing a cost-efficient and eco-friendly method to increase the supply of rare earth elements from coal waste.

  • University of Washington-Seattle (Computer Science and Engineering, MS in Business Analytics)

FREYR is developing agriculture equipment and software to help commercial farmers reduce fertilizer runoff, improve nutrient utilization, and lower operating costs.

  • University of Washington-Seattle (Industrial Systems and Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering, MS in Entrepreneurship, Computer Science, Aeronautics and Astronautics Engineering)

Green Grab
Green Grab is developing a plant-based, biodegradable replacement for plastic and PFAS-containing molded fiber products.

  • University of Washington-Seattle (Technology Management MBA, Bioresource Science and Engineering)

GroundBlu is developing a sustainable, inexpensive water purifier that uses nanotechnology to remove microbial contaminants, heavy metals, fluorides, and other organic/inorganic pollutants.

  • University of Washington-Seattle (Material Science and Engineering, Engineering)

Kelp is developing an all-encompassing platform that educates users on the biodiversity of local ecosystems and ensures the generosity of environmental donors is delivered to credible organizations.

  • University of Washington-Seattle (Computer Science, Engineering)

Net-Master is developing software to dynamically predict the low traffic time and proactive turndown link transmission power in hyper-scale data centers to achieve energy efficiency and savings.

  • University of Washington-Seattle (MS in Entrepreneurship)

Nowhere is developing a plant-based craft beverage that showcases how our food system can work for all of us.

  • University of Washington-Seattle (MS in Entrepreneurship)

Octagram is developing an augmented artificial intelligence product to accelerate the creation of greener and sustainable buildings by giving engineers advanced tools for energy and environmental design certification.

  • University of Washington-Seattle (MS in Entrepreneurship)

Oryzi is creating sustainable paper and packaging products made from fungi that are faster to produce and more environmentally-friendly than traditional plant-based papers.

  • University of Washington-Seattle (Technology Management MBA)

Pact is developing a sustainably-sourced solution for waste management that uses solar power to compact waste in multiple settings.

  • University of Washington-Seattle (Technology Management MBA)

POLY PAKIT is developing a to-go container designed for waste-free convenience that addresses the growing demand for reusable items.

  • University of Washington-Seattle (MBA)

Popular Engineering
Popular Engineering is developing a fully-customizable sensor platform with indoor positioning technology so building managers can achieve better cost savings without sacrificing sustainability.

  • University of Washington-Seattle (MBA, Electrical Engineering)

PurePlast is creating affordable, reusable, and renewable alternatives to single-use plastic professional dental products.

  • University of Washington-Seattle (Dentistry, Mechanical Engineering, Finance)

ReuMo is developing a large-scale water filter for stormwater drains that create accessible and natural filtration systems in urban areas.

  • University of Washington-Seattle (Environment, Business Administration)

SmartBin is developing a consumer product that allows for easier sorting of waste into different categories without any additional burden.

  • University of Washington-Seattle (Technology Management MBA)

The Isotope Initiative
The Isotope Initiative is developing a system that measures organic materials in a way that will help tackle endangered animal poaching and trading.

  • University of Washington-Seattle (Earth and Space Sciences, Business)

Wasteless is developing a smart, interactive garbage bin and app solution that addresses plastic recycling failures.

  • University of Washington-Seattle (Chemistry, Electrical Engineering)

2023 Alaska Airlines Environmental Innovation Challenge Alternate Teams

HarvestAI is developing an artificial intelligence system to help optimize the farming industry.

  • University of Washington-Seattle (Biochemistry, Computer Science and Engineering)

MotherEarth is developing an app to help individuals track and monitor their environmental impact so they can live a more sustainable lifestyle.

  • University of Washington-Seattle (Technology Entrepreneurship Certificate, MBA)