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Three finalists Marc Cornelissen Brightlands Award 2021 announced

Dysmus Kisilu, Panos Kouris and Daan Welling have made it to the finals of the Marc Cornelissen Brightlands Award with their sustainability projects Solar Freeze, Goldilocks® and Youth Climate Movement. With each edition of the award, it gains in popularity and therefore in significance. The winner of the third edition will be announced during the official awards ceremony on January 20, 2021, a contest in which no fewer than 25 national and international sustainability pioneers competed for the honor.

On December 8, the semi-finals were held at Brightlands Campus Greenport Venlo for the remaining six candidates and (co)founders of their sustainability projects.

The candidates presented their sustainability project to the independent jury primarily via an audio and video link; measures put in place because of corona meant that the semi-final event had to be held without a live audience. An audience would have been applauding non-stop as, without exception, the candidates’ presentations were given in the same inspiring, passionate way adventurer and polar explorer Marc Cornelissen approached his work. The award is named after Marc Cornelissen, who, until his death in 2015, fought to create a sustainable planet with guts and perseverance, but also by showing leadership and trying to create connections. The candidates followed his example in this regard, too.

Below follows a chronological list of brief descriptions of the candidates' sustainability projects.

Excess Materials Exchange Maayke-Aimée Damen spoke from her temporary home in Stockholm about Excess Materials Exchange, a digital platform companies can use to exchange their residual materials. She refers to it as “a dating site for materials”. The platform is designed to accelerate the creation of a global circular economy and a reduction in CO₂ emissions. Two examples: a soft drink that can be made from orange peels and railroad tracks that can be reused in new construction projects or to build embankments.

The New Cool The New Cool from THT New Cool in Venlo is a refrigerated trailer for the trucking industry with an electrically driven cooling engine. This engine makes diesel fuel unnecessary, which means the trailer does not produce any emissions. “The cooling engine gets its energy from stored braking energy and solar panels on the roof of the trailer,” Twan Heetkamp explained via the audio and video connection. He started the project in 2007, and the refrigerated trailer prototype was built in 2012. This year he switched to serial production to facilitate the further roll-out for the project.

Soneva Namoona Noonu Indonesian Nila Patty surprised the audience during a live connection all the way from the Noonu atoll in the Maldives with an impressive video on waste management. She works with the NGO Soneva Namoona there as a climate activist on waste reduction. Their main concern is the presence of large quantities of plastic waste on the small islands and in the surrounding Indian Ocean. She gives lectures and workshops on zero-waste in the efforts to tackle this problem. According to Nila, “The sustainability crisis is my life and zero waste is what I am.”

FINALIST: Solar Freeze From his base in Kenya, Dysmus Kisilu presented his Solar Freeze project which offers mobile cooling units powered by solar energy. The goal is to avoid unnecessary food waste of products with a limited shelf life. The units are equipped with sensors, which ensure a constant internal temperature of -20°C. Local farmers can borrow or lease the units, increasing their income by up to 150%. At the same time, the units contribute to preventing malnutrition. FINALIST: Goldilocks® Replacing petroleum with organic oil will bring about a global green revolution. This is, at any rate, the plan the TU/e spin-off Vertoro has for its Goldilocks® platform. Originally from Greece, Panos Kouris is physically present at Brightlands Campus Greenport Venlo. He explains that lignin - a substance found in all plants and trees - can bring about this turnaround. Among other things, organic oil can be used in the production of sustainable plastic window frames, as a raw material for the chemical industry and as a substitute for high-pollution ship’s fuel.

FINALIST: Jonge Klimaatbeweging (Youth Climate Movement) Originating in the Netherlands, this movement brings together the voices of several youth organizations and more than 100,000 young people. Daan Welling is also based at the Brightlands campus in Venlo and refers to the Youth Climate Agenda, among other topics. Taking this agenda as its starting point, the Youth Climate Movement invests in campaigns and holds discussions with politicians, policymakers and the business community. The overarching goal is to allow these young people’s voices to influence the approach to the climate issue, thus contributing to a CO₂-free world.

Attend the exciting virtual finals Would you like to attend (virtually, due to corona restrictions) the final event of the Marc Cornelissen Brightlands Award? You are more than welcome to attend. Just click this link and follow the instructions: https://vimeo.com/event/518804. The event will be held on January 20, 2021, starting at 15:30 hrs and will last until around 17:00 hrs.

Chairpersons and judges

Maria van der Hoeven is the chairperson of the Marc Cornelissen Brightlands Award Foundation. The permanent jury members are Emmo Meijer (chair), Ellen Cornelissen, Bert Kip, Mariëlle Heijltjes, Freek van Eijk and Marcel Wubbolts.