25 teams make it to IIT Madras competition

50 experts shortlisted teams from among 850 applications received from across the country

Published - April 26, 2024 12:55 am IST - CHENNAI 

As many as 25 teams have been selected for the annual Carbon Zero Challenge, a nation-wide competition to encourage startups in the sustainability sector. 

The teams will receive up to Rs. 5 lakh to develop their prototypes for sustainable and circular economy solutions and for six months will receive mentoring, training and support. 

The theme for this year’s contest is ‘Circularity in Resource Conservation’, covering domains such as air, energy, material, soil, and water. 

The selected teams include students, early-stage start ups, faculties and researchers. They showcased solutions in water and wastewater, renewable energy, sustainable packaging and building materials, eco-friendly cold storage and transportation and waste management.  

The CZC 4.0 has provided funding to 100 teams with over Rs. 5 crore in total. It has served as a seedbed for 13 start ups and has transformed 42 students / researchers and eight faculties into entrepreneurs.

A French multinational company Thales and Aquamap Centre for Water Management at IIT Madras are supporting the Challenge. Of the 850 applications with validated proof of concept received from 25 states, 50 experts shortlisted 25 teams after two rounds of evaluations. 

A.R. Rahul Nadh, director, Department of Environment and Climate Change, who announced the teams at an event in the institute on Thursday said cities had to be equipped and empowered to face the challenge of climate change.

Institute director V. Kamakoti said the institute recycled 100% of the water on the campus. It had launched a School of Sustainability with over 80 faculty and students working “on everything from public policy to water, renewable energy, battery systems and electric vehicles,” he said adding: “our goal is to get these research outputs to market with many faculty involved in nurturing start ups.” 

Indumathi Nambi, principal coordinator, CZC, IIT Madras said, 100 teams had come on board the family of eco-start ups since 2017.  Rajnish Kumar, associate faculty, School of Sustainability, said the school aimed to improve sustainability through teaching related courses, strengthening research and helping policies on sustainability through engagement with the government. The institute is ranked third in India in QS sustainability ranking “and we aspire to take it to No.1,” he said.

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