Photo via foxypar4 via Flickr CC
Last night the Tech Awards kicked off in San Jose, California, honoring some incredible innovation happening across several categories, including the environment, education, health, biosciences and more. The competition in the environment section was tough, with GRUPEDSAC, a project providing customizable eco-techniques toolkits for self-sufficiency, the Electronic Field Guide, which encourages citizen science and uses photos to identify leaves with mobile, hand-held and augmented reality visualization of information, and Cows to Kilowatts, which turns slaughterhouse waste into fuel. The latter scooped up the award for the environment, but there were other green-thinking winners as well. Cows for Kilowatts solves one of the most significant sources of water pollution and greenhouse gases emissions in most developing economies - slaughterhouse waste. The anaerobic fixed film reactor featured in the Cows to Kilowatts project cleans up the waste stream and converts the collected organic waste into methane. The methane can then be used to generate electricity, or function as cheap cooking gas.
But the green thinking extended beyond just the environment category. The Tech Awards 2009 BD Biosciences Economic Development Award went to Alternative Energy Development Corporation, which creates
Inexpensive, zinc-air fuel cells that can be used in poor communities lacking access to grid power. Fuel cell anodes can be removed manually in about 15 minutes and zinc oxide waste recycled as fertilizer.
Also, the Tech Awards 2009 Katherine M. Swanson Equality Award went to World of Good Development Organization, which created a Fair Trade Calculator software that provides localized pricing evaluation of handmade goods to improve wages of informal workers. The free web-based platform determines localized price analysis of wages paid to artisans in comparison to international living wage standards.
These world-benefiting innovations deserve all the recognition they earned and then some, and the Tech Awards is one of the premier annual humanitarian awards programs in the world, showing that these projects are worthy of not only recognition, but also funding. The Tech Awards distributes $250,000 in cash awards each year, with one winning Laureate per category receiving a $50,000 cash prize.
We're excited for each of the winners - and each of the nominees! - and congratulate them on their success!
More on Innovation Awards in 2009
IREO Renewable Energy Awards Honors Industry's Best, Brightest (and Youngest)
The Incheon International Design Award 2009
The Brower Youth Awards 2009: The Cure for Cynicism (Video)
Invention Overload! A Slideshow of the 2009 James Dyson Award
Cleantech Open Announces Winners for Hottest Green Tech Start-Ups