Finalists Announced for 2022 Environmental Innovation Challenge

21 finalist teams will compete March 31 in the 2022 Alaska Airlines Environmental Innovation Challenge hosted by the University of Washington.For the first time in its history, the 2022 Alaska Airlines Environmental Innovation Challenge (EIC) final round will feature student teams from each state in the Pacific Northwest, as well as Alaska. The 21 finalist teams (detailed below) will compete on March 31 in the competition hosted by the Foster School’s Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Washington.

The event will include teams from UW, Washington State University, the University of Oregon, the University of Idaho, and the University of Alaska-Anchorage, as well as the Global Innovation Exchange (GIX) in Bellevue, WA. They will showcase their solutions to environmental problems facing the world today in front of cleantech entrepreneurs, innovators, and investors serving as judges. Student teams represent more than two dozen academic departments, programs, and majors and their innovations are focused on solutions to problems in the following sectors: water, energy, recycling and waste, agriculture and food waste, infrastructure and transportation, and carbon technology.

More than $40,000 in prizes will be awarded at this year’s event, 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 2022 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 2021 award presentation on the Buerk Center’s YouTube page.

Good luck to the 2022 Alaska Airlines Environmental Innovation Challenge finalists!

AquaSmart
Team AquaSmart is developing a low-power, affordable, monitoring solution to water scarcity by focusing on tributary surface water in remote areas.

  • Washington State University (Computer Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering)

Arctic Biotech Oath
Team Arctic Biotech Oath is developing a process involving microorganisms to sustainably extract rare earth elements.

  • University of Alaska-Anchorage (Chemistry, Nursing, Microbiology)

Catalytic Carbon
Team Catalytic Carbon is developing a process to turn plastic waste into carbon nanotubes and green hydrogen.

  • University of Washington-Seattle (Aeronautics and Astronomy, Master of Science in Entrepreneurship, Informatics)

Earthereal
Team Earthereal is developing a curated cosmetics subscription service that uses products made only of earth friendly chemicals in sustainable packaging in hopes of transforming the existing industry.

  • University of Washington-Seattle (Evening MBA, Executive MBA, MBA, Chemistry)

GardenPro
Team GardenPro is developing a community and educational platform centered around advancing gardening at home.

  • University of Washington-Seattle (Social Sciences, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Business)

Hytch Logistics
Team Hytch Logistics is developing an efficient shipping alternative in a twist on the rideshare and food delivery courier services that have gained popularity in recent years.

  • University of Washington-Seattle (Accounting)

Just Right Bite
Team Just Right Bite is developing an end-to-end pet food system that uses insects as a more sustainable and tolerable protein base.

  • University of Washington-Seattle (Master of Science in Entrepreneurship)

Kandi Sustainably
Team Kandi Sustainably is developing a more sustainable alternative to the popular and commonly traded bead bracelets, known as Kandi to concertgoers who enjoy electronic dance music.

  • University of Washington-Seattle (Business)

Origin Straws
Team Origin Straws is developing an environmentally-friendly drinking straw that utilizes plant byproduct in an aesthetically pleasing and sustainable way.

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

PlantSeal
Team PlantSeal is developing a new compostable material they believe will be more readily acceptable by composting facilities than current industry offerings.

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

PotentiaLi Energy
Team PotentiaLi Energy is developing a solar-powered electric bicycle and scooter charging station that can be placed in common pick-up and drop-off locations for shared micromobility users.

  • University of Washington-Seattle (Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science and Engineering, Physics)

Queasy Peasy
Team Queasy Peasy is developing a sustainable transportation system that assists and allows passengers to perform tasks on their devices without feeling significant motion sickness.

  • Global Innovation Exchange (UW GIX) (Master of Science in Technology Innovation)

RealWave
Team RealWave is developing an oceanographic observation system that records data at higher resolutions and transmit it in real-time while reducing the current dependance on batteries.

  • University of Washington-Seattle (MBA)

Reezzo
Team Reezzo is developing a web-based platform for salvaged material retailers to easily create and operate an online storefront.

  • University of Oregon (MBA)

ReuMo
Team ReuMo is developing a way for businesses and communities to create accessible natural water filtration systems that prevent local stormwater pollution.

  • University of Washington-Seattle (Operations and Supply Chain Management, Environmental Studies)

SaviShower
Team SaviShower is developing a portable recyclable shower that can run on less than two gallons of water for an extended period of time.

  • University of Idaho (English, Business Finance)

SimpleAir
Team SimpleAir is developing a cheap and effective way to filter air and reduce the cost of air purification in households in regions affected by particulate matter pollution.

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

SoftwAIR
Team SoftwAIR is developing a smart Internet of Things (IoT) system to assist building engineers and users to air circulation issues in buildings while also reducing energy costs.

  • University of Washington-Seattle (Human Centered Design and Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Computer Science and Engineering)

Tenacity
Team Tenacity is developing an Artificial Intelligence (AI) solution for early wildfire detection.

  • University of Washington-Seattle (MBA, Environmental Studies)

Ultropia
Team Ultropia is developing an environmentally-friendly solution for users to do their laundry in a compact and affordable way in low-resource settings.

  • University of Washington-Seattle (Electrical and Computer Engineering, Master of Science in Entrepreneurship)

Vita Beads
Team Vita Beads is developing an alternative solution for water purification using cell technology with the hopes of increasing wastewater treatment efficiency and lowering operation costs.

  • University of Washington-Seattle (Entrepreneurship, Environmental Engineering)