First grants announced by O2’s Think Big green tech grant programme The Environment Now


30 Jan 2017

The first successful green tech projects funded by O2’s Think Big The Environment Now have been announced.

The grants programme, supported by O2’s Think Big in partnership with the National Youth Agency, offers funding, training, work experience and support to get young people’s green ideas off the ground.  It is today announcing 9 projects worth £90,000.

The Environment Now programme is funded by O2 and the National Lottery through the Big Lottery Fund, and is part of the Our Bright Future programme. It is managed by the National Youth Agency.

The projects funded range from a virtual reality sewer experience to a smart plug which allows users to utilise appliances at points of low energy demand.

Bill Eyres, Director of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability at O2 said, “We believe in the potential of young people and their ability to achieve amazing things and these inspiring projects show what can happen when you back their great ideas. We’re proud to be investing in the next generation of green tech leaders.”

Paul Miller, CEO of the National Youth Agency said, “These projects demonstrate the brilliant ideas of young people. With some funding and a little support these talented young people will kickstart the next generation of green technology. We’re delighted to be supporting them on their journey.”

Cath Hare, Programme Manager for Our Bright Future said, “We were bowled over by the passion and creativity shown during the pitches. I’m so excited to watch the projects develop and see these young people reach their potential within the green technology sector.”

The nine projects are receiving £10,000 funding each plus a range of support including mentoring, training and sustainability advice. The projects comprise:

  • Pipes Away! Victoria (22) Grimsby.

Pipes Away! is a virtual reality experience developed by Victoria which allows users to fully immerse themselves into the pipes of their sewers and fight their way through numerous blockages with the idea of paradise waiting for them at the end. Throughout the participants’ journey, they will encounter a series of interactive items that will inform them of the dangers posed to the environment through pollution (sewerage), flooding and endangerment to marine life caused by the dreaded unflushables.

  • Utter Rubbish Elliott (aged 20) Stoke-On-Trent

Utter Rubbish is a mobile application developed by Elliott who is a second year Accounting and Finance student at Keele University. Utter Rubbish is designed to monitor, track collection lorries and report recycling matters in the local area. Utter Rubbish will also educate users around bin types and contents and will endorse ethical skip hire practises.

  • DroneBadger Kenneth (23) Edinburgh

DroneBadger is a project using Drone technology fitted with various sensing cameras such as thermal imaging in order to perform energy inspections aerially, making them less costly, more time efficient and safer.

  • Smart Plug Natalie (21) Bristol

Smart plug: has been developed by Natalie, a 4th year mechanical engineering student at the University of Bristol. It enables people to use household appliances during low-demand periods, thereby reducing the peak demand on the national grid and easing the transition to renewable energy sources.

  • Omni-Go Raymond (24) Banbury

Omni-Go is an app based augmented game that combines both the online gaming principles with real life tasks. Essentially it’s a waste version of Pokemon-Go. Individuals will be tasked with completing tasks such as collecting a certain number of waste items to creating equipment.  The cities involved will be allocated barcode stickers that are programmed to different types of recycling bins in the city and when waste is thrown, the players will receive virtual coins of their troubles. Raymond is a recent graduate from Leeds Beckett with a degree in international business.

  • Virtually There  Emily (22) Ipswich

Virtually There is an app which will be available on iOS and Android platforms as well as being accessible online. The app will contain different virtual reality experiences highlighting the impact of global warming, waste and deforestation. Harnessing the power of virtual reality technology and digital textualities within narrative and storytelling, the virtual reality experiences will have a lasting impact over traditional print journalism. Emily is currently a Masters student at Cambridge School of Art.

  • CarbonWatch Hana (25) Leeds.

Carbon Watch is an app developed by Hana, a second year PhD student at Leeds University. The application will advise domestic electricity consumers on the emission intensity of the electricity produced – now as well as within the timescale of the next week. It will forecast these situations and promote usage of electricity in surplus renewable energy times. In other words, it will inform the user when electricity is least emission intensive and advises when to switch on/off their electrical products to help the environment. Such change of the behaviour would be a significant step for overcoming the intermittent nature of the renewables, which is limiting their further expansions and development. This project would also aid domestic energy storage solutions, by making sure people store energy when it is in surplus rather than in shortage.

LettUs Grow is a pre-existing company on a mission to reduce food waste around the world. They have developed a soil-free automated way of gardening which is currently in the testing stages and will use their grant to take it to market with a Beta testing programme. Charlie is an Engineering graduate from the University of Bristol and is part of a team of three.

Filamentive is a pre-existing 3D printing filament business run by Ravi who is a third year Environment and Business student at Leeds University. Ravi is using his grant to fund experimentation, research and development into new recycled/recyclable materials.

The next round of The Environment Now is open to applications from young people aged 17-24 years. Visit GoThinkBig for more.