Mayor’s Low Carbon Prize

"The London Universities Environment Group (LUEG) is delighted to support the Mayor's Low Carbon Entrepreneur Scheme. Students across London's Higher and Further Education Institutions are crucial to ensuring London's low carbon economy and this prize is a great incentive for them to showcase their innovation and talent and potentially win support to take these bright ideas to market."

London is already at the centre of innovation for green technologies and the capital's low carbon and environmental goods and services sector is worth an estimated £25 billion. The Mayor’s Low Carbon Prize, set up in 2011, challenges the capital's students to join this burgeoning market and come up with their own new and innovative ideas to cut carbon emissions, boost London's green credentials and help deliver jobs and growth.

The Mayor's Low Carbon Prize, which is open to students at Further and Higher Education Institutes across the capital awards cash prizes to help develop the best ideas for reducing carbon emissions from London's buildings, transport and energy infrastructure and forms part of the Mayor's commitment to achieve a 60 per cent reduction in carbon emissions from 1990 levels by 2025. Students who apply to the competition can also choose to be considered for one of up to 6 paid internships with the Prize sponsors, Siemens.

The Mayor’s Low Carbon Prize 2014

Now open for applications! More information and the application form can be found on their website

The Mayor’s Low Carbon Prize 2013

A huge variety of ideas from recyclable bike helmets made from waste-paper, to motion sensors to help save energy in the home, were entered into this year's Prize. From the initial entries 10 finalists were chosen to present their ideas 'Dragon's Den' style to the judging panel which included Deborah Meaden, international fashion designer Vivienne Westwood, and Zac Goldsmith MP.

The winning entry, ‘Reseed’, is an idea to remove the need for paper receipts and allow users to access their receipts online using their smartphones. Receipts are costly to produce, easy to lose, and add to consumer waste, so the new system would save money for retailers who would be encouraged to donate a percentage of their savings towards planting more trees. The students receive not only the title of winners of the Mayor's Low Carbon Prize but the opportunity to turn their idea into a commercial reality with cash and practical support.

The 9 finalists were:
• Alex Bak, Laurence Drummond and Frank Murphy (Imperial College)
• Shruti Barton and Celia Small (Kingston University)
• Katie Critchlow (LSE)
• Tom Gottelier, Robert Petersen and Edward Thomas (RCA)
• Minka Lusse (Kingston University)
• Dermot Naughten (LSBU)
• Miguel Ricciolini and Moni Razzaque (LSBU)
• Pablo Romero Molina (Kingston University)
• Peter Spence (RCA)

In a first for the Prize, 30 of the best runners-up have also been shortlisted for a chance to win a paid internship with Siemens helping to boost their skills and employment opportunities.

Attending the awards ceremony at the Siemens Crystal, the Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: "The wonderful wealth of ideas from the many students who entered this year’s prize is a true testament to the bright minds of London’s future. I have no doubt that every student involved will go from strength to strength as they move into the world of work, via the exciting apprenticeships opportunities at Siemens, or as young entrepreneurs forging their own way from the outset, to ensure London’s economic future.”

Winner of the prize, William Hines from UCL, said: “Few can pitch their idea to a Dragon, a Dame and an MP – thanks Mayor’s Low Carbon Prize for this opportunity.”

The Chief Executive of Siemens, Roland Aurich, said: "Siemens is proud to host the Mayor of London's Low Carbon Awards at the Crystal. I congratulate the winning entry 'Reseed' and I hope the innovative ideas will inspire more people to think about how we address the challenges our great cities face for the future."

To help promote the Prize within London’s colleges and universities a group of volunteer Student Ambassadors were recruited. An award for the best Student Ambassador, also handed out at the ceremony, went to Elliot Walton from University of Westminster.

Mayor's Low Carbon Prize 2012

The inaugural Mayor’s Low Carbon Prize was launched in 2012 to inspire London’s students to come up with innovative ideas for cutting carbon emissions in the city. Over 100 entries were received and judged by a panel including architect Sir Terry Farrell and Zac Goldsmith MP. Thirty entries were commended by the judges and from these two highly commended and four winning ideas were selected. The four winners received a total of £20,000 prize money to help them develop their ideas.

Prize winners 2012

First Place: Jonathan Pye-Finch, Ann Kathrin Schoettle, Andre Vigil, Martin Cobley and David Singer, Kingston University

The 'green key' is to help the 250,000 household moves that occur in London each year by supplying new residents an electronic key which has up to date information on local services and ideas to help them live more sustainably. Information would include details such as where, how and when local recycling services operate along with tips on energy efficiency.

The students received £10k and mentoring support from Berkeley Group to develop the idea.

Second Place: Bruce Pawsey, Kingston University

Second place went to Bruce Pawsey for his idea to develop a working portable cyclonic pyrolysis unit installed on a river barge. The barge would collect waste materials and harness the syngas produced to drive a gas turbine effectively producing CO2 free energy from waste and reducing landfill.

Joint third place: Salahud Din, Dr Arnaldo Galbiati, Jamal Zia and Niall Haughian, Imperial College London.

Their idea is to develop Alkaline Solar Cells – a thin film solar photovoltaic cell that would reduce the carbon footprint of manufacturing of solar PV cells.

Joint third place: Arthur Kay, University College London, Bartlett School of Architecture

Arthur proposed designing a device to turn used coffee grounds into biofuel. London’s coffee waste alone could produce over 5 million gallons of biofuel annually and lead to a significant reduction in London’s carbon footprint.

Highly Commended: Michaela Rose, University of the Arts London

Michaela's Second Skin is a project to design clothing using nanotechnology that can work to warm or cool a person and make central heating obsolete.

Highly Commended: Barry Wark and Richard Beckett, University College London, Bartlett School of Architecture

The New London Tube is a project to incorporate biological systems into the urban fabric to mitigate CO2 and waste water from our buildings and infrastructural networks through cultivating algae on a large scale.

Follow the link to see pictures of the Awards Ceremony held in March 2012: Awards Slideshow


Click here to see Kulveer Ranger talk about the prize
Click here to get inspired by Zac Goldsmith and here to listen to two Kingston student's applying for the prize in conversation with Zac 
Click here to view a short film about the prize

A Message from the Mayor

"London has always been a hub of innovation and entrepreneurship. Now is an optimal time for our bright young minds to tap into the huge potential of the low carbon economy and come up with the next generation's equivalent of double glazing, smart meters or roof insulation.

"The best submissions could have the potential to save thousands of pounds by cutting energy waste and saving money for Londoners and businesses, as well as slashing carbon emissions from our buildings and helping keep the capital at the forefront of green economic growth." Boris Johnson, The Mayor of London
About our Sponsors

Berkeley Group were the proud sponsors of the Mayor’s Low Carbon Prize 2012.

Reducing carbon emissions from new homes and buildings is an important challenge for the home building industry. The Government has committed to progressively tightening Building Regulations so that from 2016 all new homes will need to be zero carbon. At the same time, the Mayor has set ambitious targets for reducing carbon emissions in London and this is reflected in The London Plan's stretching low carbon planning policies for new development.  In order for us to deliver against these targets and policies, we need to be encouraging new low carbon technologies that we can integrate into our new homes and buildings. 

The Berkeley Group is passionate about delivering a quality product and an exceptional experience for our customers. We believe that there is a real opportunity out there to bring forward innovative products that not only reduce carbon emissions, but do so in a way that is easy for our customers to understand and use, as well as leading to savings on their fuel bills. 

The Berkeley Group, through its 'Vision2020' strategy, aims to become one of the UK's most successful and sustainable businesses in Britain. We hope that our sponsorship of the Mayor's Low Carbon Prize will help us find new ideas, inventions and people that can help us achieve this goal.

"Reducing carbon emissions from new homes and buildings is an important challenge for the home building industry and I hope that Berkeley's support of the Mayor's Low Carbon Prize will inspire London's students to come up with new low carbon ideas and technologies that we can include in our homes in years to come."
Tony Pidgley, Chairman, The Berkeley Group
2012 supporters    

The Mayor's Low Carbon Prize 2012 benefited from the support of the following organisations to spread the word to students and encourage applications. Here's what they had to say:

"I think it's great that the Mayor has chosen our capital city's low carbon future as the theme for this prize. Go for it students! Make your name. Save the world. Scoop the prize?"
Dave Hampton, the carbon coach

"London's students can benefit from financial support and invaluable business mentoring for their entrepreneurial ideas through the Mayor's Low Carbon Prize. The NUS welcomes such support of student innovation."
Danielle Grufferty, Vice President Society and Citizenship, NUS
The London Universities Environment Group (LUEG) is delighted to support the Mayor's Low Carbon Prize

Why is the Mayor's Low Carbon Prize a great idea?

LUEG membership is open to environmental managers in London's Higher and Further Education Institutions, we meet monthly and host dynamic, practical workshops which support progress to minimising environmental impact from campus, community and curriculum. We are the regional network of the Environmental Association of Universities and Colleges (

The majority of our members are based in Estates divisions and focus on campus activities to reduce environmental impact. We set up Environmental Management Systems which committ senior management to investing in staffing, training, and institutional objectives which demonstrate continuous environmental improvement.

We prioritise our work according to an Environmental Aspects and Impacts Register which reviews the activities, products and services of our institutions for their environmental impact. Therefore much of our work is around carbon reduction, waste reduction, elimination of toxic materials and enhancing and protecting biodiversity on our campuses. We ensure our institutions comply with environmental legislation. With the UK being the only country to have a Climate Change Act committing us to reductions in carbon emissions, this is a key focus along with a range of waste and biodiversity legislation. The UK's carbon reduction targets are challenging - 34% by 2020 and 80% by 2050 on 1995 levels. At the London level, the Mayor has set a target of 60% by 2025.  By 2020, we shall be living in a low carbon economy, but how are we going to create it?

Our graduates are the leaders of tomorrow and currently have an environmental impact, both in their travel and their other daily life choices as students. Arguably, the greatest positive environmental impact that our graduates can have is being educated about the impact of their daily choices and being equipped with skills for the emerging low carbon economy. Campus environmental activities, such as providing recycling bins and sensor lights can support the student learning environment but it's education, teaching, learning and research on sustainable development and the restorative  economy which will enable them to create the low carbon economy and thrive in it.

Student talent and innovation for the low carbon economy needs to be supported, encouraged and developed now. The Mayor's Low Carbon Prize does this by engaging with a corporate sponsor able to support an innovative idea to market. Please encourage your students to take part and put forward their idea for a low carbon economy.