6 August 2013

Help select the Top 10 LAUNCH Systems Challenge Innovators

NASA, USAID, Department of State, and NIKE Joint Venture to establish sustainable solutions to the society

Vote August 6-20 at vote.launch.org. Descriptions of the Top 20 are enclosed below.

The public vote is one of several criteria that will inform the selection of the LAUNCH Systems Challenge finalists.

Algaeverde waste to fabrics
GrafikAlgaeverde takes industrial, farm and municipal waste streams and converts them into Ethylene Glycol, the raw material used in the production of synthetic fabrics. This technology has multiple environmental benefits, beyond the redirection of toxic waste, such as bio-fuel as an output of the conversion application.

Algaeverde is still at prototype stage. They are looking for help taking their exciting innovation out of the lab and into the world.

Stage of Innovation: Prototype

View additional information and vote for Algaeverde waste to fabrics

Ambercycle plastic bottles to polyester
ambercycle Ambercycle is a remarkable new technology that harnesses engineered enzymes to degrade plastic bottles, such as PET soda bottles, and transform them into PTA (purified terephthalic acid). PTA is the raw material in polyester, which is used in multiple products, from cars to clothing.

Ambercycle is an innovation looking to become a business. They are at the stage of building a go-to-market team.

Stage of Innovation: Prototype

View additional information and vote for Ambercycle plastic bottles to polyester

CSIRO’s artificial silk
csiroThis innovation, bio-synthetic silk, is produced by fermentation of honeybee cocoon silk within genetically engineered bacteria. The process allows industrial volumes of silk to be produced at room temperature without any negative environmental effects. The silk produced is highly flexible and suitable for knitting and weaving and can be formed into sponges and transparent films.

Developed by researchers at Australia’s national science agency, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), this breakthrough technology has been published in peer-reviewed literature. They are now seeking to identify market opportunities.

Stage of Innovation: Prototype

View additional information and vote for CSIRO’s artificial silk

BARKTEX bark cloth
barktexBARKTEX is a contemporary take on traditional bark cloth, which is produced in a sustainable way from the Ugandan Figus tree. Once the bark is stripped form the tree, new bark grows in its place – a truly sustainable product. BARKTEX can be treated with bright colors to create a unique material reminiscent of leather.

The team is employing an innovative micro-enterprise model in Uganda that empowers women and provides food security for local farmers. They are looking to develop their business to reach new customers.

Stage of Innovation: Growth and scale

View additional information and vote for BARKTEX bark cloth

Benign by Design
BenignBenign by Design helps individuals and organizations better evaluate the impact of materials they use. The team has developed data collection and analysis protocols to understand the impact of textiles through their entire lifecycle – potentially an invaluable resource for all product manufacturers.

The Benign by Design team are looking to shape their solution into a marketable offer.

Stage of Innovation: Concept

View additional information and vote for Benign by Design

Biocouture microbial fashion
biocoutureBiocouture creates sustainable material from microbes and transforms it into beautiful haute couture. Their unique low-impact fermentation process creates a biodegradable material that can be used to create a wide variety of home-ware and fashion accessories.

The Biocouture team have already received recognition for their innovation, including TED, and are now ready to take their concept to the next stage.

Stage of Innovation: Prototype

View additional information and vote for Biocouture microbial fashion

The Blue Flower Initiative
The core purpose of the Blue Flower Initiative is to reframe the existing textile value chain as an eco-industrial co-operative, while supporting and empowering women at risk.The initiative – backed by Eileen Fisher, the American clothing designer and retailer – is an innovative game changing business model. In addition, the initiative aims to identify new low-impact bio-fibers and manufacturing approaches.

The Blue Flower Initiative are looking to prototype their ‘value chain of the future’ in the Bronx in New York and are looking for partners.

Stage of Innovation: Concept

View additional information and vote for the Blue Flower Initiative

CRAiLAR Flax Fibers
crailarFlax is a natural fiber that has long shown promise as a base material for sustainable textiles. CRAiLAR has made advances in chemistry and manufacturing that now make flax competitive on cost and comfort with cotton. What’s more, flax can be grown with far less water and pesticides.

CRAiLAR is a mature business that is looking to make the leap to compete with the cotton industry and accelerate adoption globally.

Stage of Innovation: Commercial market/Deployment

View additional information and vote for CRAiLAR

Eco-leather Alternative
ecoleatherEco-leather is a sustainable alternative to leather that avoids the large volumes of water and toxic chromium required to produce animal based leather. Unlike PVC (‘fake leather’), this breakthrough material, manufactured from plant oils and natural fibers, is breathable and friendly to the environment, as well as being waterproof and durable.

The team behind Eco-leather have strong academic credentials and are looking to take their sustainable leather out of the lab and into the marketplace.

Stage of Innovation: Prototype

View additional information and vote for Eco-leather alternative

Ecovative Mushroom Materials
ecovativeEcovative is a completely biodegradable replacement for polystyrene, packing material or insulation. Remarkably, it can withstand heat, stress and exposure to water, yet be composted in your back garden. This is a fascinating biotechnology derived from mushrooms that can potentially replace numerous products that produce CO2.

The team behind Ecovative are well on their way, but require access to private sector customers and help scaling their manufacturing process.

Stage of Innovation: Commercial market/Deployment

View additional information and vote for Ecovative

fabdesignsFabdesigns spacesuit
Fabdesigns have developed breakthrough protective space-wear that provides radiation protection for astronauts with a high-degree of flexibility and additional fire-resistance. The dangerous levels of radiation that astronauts are exposed to beyond Earth orbit remains a significant health challenge for deeper exploration of the Solar System.

Fabdesigns is looking for help to perfect their designs for use in space, as well as Earthly applications.

Stage of Innovation: Concept

View additional information and vote for Fabdesigns spacesuit

Geckskin adhesives
Geckskin is a revolutionary take on adhesives, inspired by the footpads of the Gecko lizard. Unlike glue-based adhesives, Geckskin creates dry and easily reversible adhesion without leaving any residue – while maintaining an impressive stickability. Geckskin can be used to mount a 42-inch Television on a wall without any loss in adhesion.

Geckskin is a product of Felsuma LLC. The team are in start-up mode with a solid plan.

Stage of Innovation: Prototype

View additional information and vote for Geckskin adhesives

greatrecoveryThe Great Recovery
The Great Recovery is a manifesto for ‘closed-loop’ design. In other words, products that have negligible impact on the environment or are even beneficial. The Great Recovery team has developed a comprehensive re-thinking of every stage of the product development cycle: initial design, recovery, disassembly, recyclability and re-use.

The goal of the Great Recovery is to pilot hands-on education to take these innovative approaches mainstream.

Stage of Innovation: Prototype

View additional information and vote for The Great Recovery

Hologenix
Hologenix is a unique functional fabric that has the ability to absorb and modify far-infrared light and change it into a form that can be more easily absorbed by human skin. Clinical evidence is beginning to show that far-infrared light has multiple heath benefits, such as improving blood flow – which can help accelerate healing.

The team is looking to make this novel technology more widespread.

Stage of Innovation: Growth and scale

View additional information and vote for Hologenix

Materials Sustainability Index (MSI) Online Sustainability Guide
msiwebThe Materials Sustainability Index, originally developed by Nike, enables manufacturers to make better choices when designing products. This innovation, developed independently from Nike, builds on the data and capabilities of the MSI by creating a web portal designed to help shoppers meet their personal goals for sustainably manufactured apparel.

Though this innovation is currently in the pilot stage, the web portal creative team is looking for partners to mature this capability.

Stage of Innovation: Pilot

View additional information and vote for MSI Online Sustainability Guide

QMilk milk fiber
qmilkQMilk takes surplus milk that is unfit for human consumption and produces a bio-textile replacement for cotton. The product is non-allergenic with potential applications in healthcare. QMilk takes a highly innovative approach to repurposing a waste stream that is seen in every country in the world.

The QMilk team is now looking to find partners to help take their innovation to the next stage.

Stage of Innovation: Prototype

View additional information and vote for QMilk milk fiber

revolveREvolve: new textiles from old
REvolve tackles the growing problem of textile waste and proposes a way of collecting, sorting, and reprocessing it into new textile materials.

The REvolve team is an ambitious start-up looking to pilot their ideas and create a truly ‘closed-loop’ system for the textile industry. This vision will require innovations and partnerships all along the supply-chain.

Stage of Innovation: Pilot

View additional information and vote for REvolve: new textiles from old

slipsSLIPS stain resistant fabric
SLIPS is a breakthrough coating technology which makes natural fabrics stain resistant. It works by infusing a fluorinated oil lubricant into the structure of the fabric to make it water and oil repellant, or ‘omniphobic’. The resulting textiles that are more wear resistant, demonstrate better pressure performance and highly resilient to dirt.

This technology has been scientifically validated and has won an R&D award. The team is now looking to commercialize their technology.

Stage of Innovation: Commercial market/Deployment

View additional information and vote for SLIPS stain resistant fabric

Solar Fiber
solarfiberSolar Fiber is a functional fabric technology that weaves photovoltaic yarn into products that can generate their own power from sunlight. This innovative technology has many potential uses from outdoor equipment on Earth and in space, all the way to fashion and furnishings.

The Solar Fibre team is looking for partners to help them scale their technology to industrial volumes.

Stage of Innovation: Prototype

View additional information and vote for Solar Fiber

Waterbourne solvent free leather
Waterbourne is an artificial leather that is almost impossible to distinguish from real leather and is manufactured in a way that doesn’t require toxic solvents. Prior to the Waterbourne process, artificial leathers required foul smelling dimethylformamide (DMF), which is both energy intensive and highly polluting. Moreover residual amounts of solvent often remain on the material.

Waterbourne has been developed by Bayer Material Sciences and is currently moving into pilot stage.

Stage of Innovation: Pilot

View additional information and vote for Waterbourne solvent free leather

Vote August 6-20 at vote.launch.org.

About LAUNCH
LAUNCH is a global initiative to identify and support the innovative work poised to contribute to a sustainable future and accelerate solutions to meet urgent challenges facing our society. NASA, USAID, Department of State, and NIKE joined together to form LAUNCH in early 2010 in an effort to identify, showcase and support innovative approaches to global challenges through a series of forums. LAUNCH searches for visionaries, whose world-class ideas, technologies or programs show great promise for making tangible impacts on society.

LAUNCH’s mission is to maximize human potential by transforming our existing human systems into new ones that are more sustainable, accessible, and empowering. The quest to maximize human potential will require the collaboration and commitments of government, corporations, investment, sustainability and global development organizations to accelerate innovation and convert ideas into action around the world. We call this “collective genius” which we harness “for a better world.

Founding Partners
NASA, USAID, Department of State, and NIKE joined together to form LAUNCH in an effort to identify, showcase and support innovative approaches to sustainability challenges.

Source: LAUNCH, press release, 2013-08-06.

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